Photo by Cornel Cristian Petrus/REX/Shutterstock

6 Stylish Hiking Boots You’ll Want to Wear Off Trail

A return to nature, one runway at a time.

On my sixth birthday, I was gifted a pair of hiking boots. A video shows me opening the gift and asking, “Why would you give me these?”; My rudeness (and resistance to nature) became a part of family lore. But now that hiking boots are the height of cool, I regret my early dismissal of the trend. All I want is an adult size pair of the hiking boots that I made my father return, even though I’m still someone who doesn’t hike. 

Brands like Stella McCartney to Gucci have recently come out with heavy-soled boots that hit the ankle just so (a protective measure in hiking boots, for both support and armour against low hanging branches). The boots are colour blocked in shades of neutrality that wouldn’t look out of place on a hiking trail. Bright laces criss-cross over the tongue, contrasting against the earth-tones of the boot. The result is a mountaineering shoe for the streets.

The influx of hiking boots in high-end fashion is a byproduct of the recent gorpcore trend (a term first coined by Strategist editor Jason Chen in 2017). Celebs and runway models alike have been spotted donning North Face fleeces, fishermen-esque bucket hats, and entire outfits that look like they were bought at MEC.

High-end copycats take the aesthetics of hiking apparel and strip it of its practicality, leaving only the façade intact. Wearing a hiking-inspired-look on the runway is a form of code switching that revels in the nonconformity of being out of place. It rejects fitting in and delights in breaking rules.

As we spend most of our life online and connected to machines, hiking-inspired fashion reflects a desire to return to simpler times. A hiking aesthetic is the antithesis of the cyborg trend sprouted by McQueen and Balenciaga, and instead encompasses a granola, pro-earth, anti-fur, stance. A return to nature, one runway at a time.