Before any major trip, I fret quite a lot about my shoes. Anyone traveling carry-on only understands why: shoes and boots take up the most room in my bag, so each selection had better pull its weight! For my most recent winter trip to Europe, I packed one pair of low-cut boots for slush and snow, and one pair of comfortable walking shoes, which could also stand wet weather. My pick: LOWA Innox Evo GTX Lo. Long name, yes, but worth becoming familiar with.
What I love about these shoes: The LOWA Innox Evo is technically a trail shoe, which gives it points for versatility, but is also light and sleek enough to function as a city walking shoe. It’s made with a light synthetic upper that’s very flexible, with a LOWA NXT sole. The result: a shoe that kicked butt on the cobblestones of medieval streets and performed beautifully on light hikes through Italy, but also looked good on museum tours and in casual restaurants. The Innox is only 11 ounces, and very soft on the upper, which meant I could easily fit them into my luggage. The traction on the soles was sound even on patches of ice, and they’re water resistant. I never succumbed to the plight of wet feet, thanks to the Gore-Tex lining.
I wore my Innox Evo GTX shoes everywhere from the airpot security line and on cross-Atlantic flights to the streets of Paris and Rome. The fit is wide enough that I could add different insoles should I need them, and I appreciated the lace-up design so I could loosen the shoes while flying. Best of all for the value component: I’ll be able to use the Innox Evo GTX for my spring trail runs and as light hiking shoes throughout the year.
Pick up a pair at LOWA for $185, or look for them on Amazon or Zappos for a few bucks less. The Innox Evo GTX comes in two colors: Anthracite/Turquoise, which is a dark gray/blue mix or black/berry, which is black and almost hot pink (not quite a purpose berry color, in my opinion). Sizing ranges from women’s 5.5 to 11, and there is a men’s version. Don’t need the added protection of Gore-Tex? There’s an Innox Evo sans the GTX (Gore-Tex) for $145. I highly recommend splurging on the extra protection, however.