After I had a pair of shoes split apart and I tracked through snow for a weekend in Switzerland, a good pair of shoes has become an absolute essential travel tool for me. I want a rally comfortable shoe that is solidly built with good weather protection. I also want a shoe that is going to be comfortable walking around a city, but also perform well on a treacherous hike. Because of this, I always have a good trail runner or active hiking shoe. Garmont has been my go-to shoe for several years now due to its ability to check off all the boxes above.
The shoe I am using right now is the absolute best hiking shoe I have ever used. It is the 9.81 Trail Pro from Garmont. I have the version II shoe, but they currently are on version III, which is available on Amazon in the link above.
This shoe from Garmont is very comfortable. I have used these as my only shoes on multiple family vacations, international trips and intense hiking trips. They work great whether I am hiking through the mountains or walking through the city. Unlike a hiking boot, they can double as just a regular shoe as well, which is why I always go with this style instead of a traditional hiking boot, which is much more limited (and bulky).
Other than the overall comfort and durability, my favorite thing about these shoes is their insane grip. We go to Oregon a lot and I am often jumping from rock to rock or log and trekking over wet, slick rocks and logs. I have never felt a more sure grip than with these shoes. The only time I have had more grip climbing slick rocks is when I am wearing actual rock climbing shoes.
The next best thing about these shoes is the great weather protection. The Gore-Tex at the base of the shoes is awesome as I have trekked through mud and water and my feet did not get wet until the water was deep enough to get over the Gore-Tex, which was at least a couple inches. These shoes are going to provide a lot more water protection than you get with a normal shoe, but still breathe enough to be comfortable in the heat.
Another final thing I really like about the Garmont shoes is their design. Something unique about these shoes are the laces that lace all the way down almost to the toes. I really appreciate this feature as it helps keep the front of your feet from sliding around and is especially nice when hiking downhill as it keeps your feet from sliding to the front of the shoes. This can be super comfortable when hiking down steep hills with loose dirt. I have been on trails going down where others in regular hiking shoes are sliding all over and their feet are slipping all over inside their shoes, with their toes crammed into the front of their shoes.
Version 3 of this shoe is currently available on Amazon. I would be buying my own pair except my pair of the Version 2 shoes are still in excellent condition after years of fairly heavy use. They have for sure made me a loyal customer and I will be getting a version 4 or 5 when the need to finally replace my pair comes.