In the end I bought two; both a boot and shoe. The boot I already covered a couple posts ago (Timberland Women's Chocorua Trail Boot) which I love (love love love) but we will be hiking where I might not want a boot; and would appreciate a low hiking shoe to handle the dry, rocky trails in expected 80 degree weather.
The shoe I decided on was a very affordable yet well reviewed Salomon Women's Ellipse GTX W Hiking Shoe in Thyme/Asphalt/Dark Green.
- Rubber sole
- GORE-TEX® Extended Comfort Footwear - Waterproof membrane provides protection when walking on wet and muddy terrain.
- Waterproof Bootie Construction - Allows a longer wear and excellent durability.
- Low Height - Allows a good range of movement .
- Asymmetrical Sensiflex™ - Enables shoe to accommodate a greater range of foot shapes with a precise, comfortable fit.
- Abrasive Resistance Lining - Allows excellent breathability and is quick drying.
The reason you see TWO pairs of Salomon's in the top photo is because I ordered my pair and wore them a couple times - enough to know I was happy with them and think they will do fine on the two week road trip - and my daughter couldn't decide on a pair but really loved mine so she decided she wanted a pair as well.
Yes - we now own two pairs of these! Just .5 size difference between them.
From Amazon (which is where I ordered both of my pairs)
Athletically inspired details and specific fit make this lightweight waterproof hiking shoe ideal for women who like to move quickly in the mountains.
Women's fit - Weather protection - Grip.
The Eclipse GTX provide great heel stability, cushioning and support making this boot ideal for continuous days of hiking. An ideal shoe for fast hikers for 1-3 day hikes. The Eclipse GTX Walking Boot is built for women from the ground up. The fit comes from an asymmetrical support structure to combat pronation, whilst a sensiflex insert accommodates the natural expansion in the forefoot that is common in women, and a wrapping tongue that stays in place.
With a GORE-TEX construction, feet stay dry from the outside as well as from the inside. Without compromising great breathability, an abrasion-resistant lining allows excellent air flow and quick drying properties. Not only that, these walking boots are highly supportive and have great stability through the heel foam. A material bridge connects the tongue to the upper eliminating debris into the shoe for added comfort and protection whilst protective material around the outside of the shoe acts as a mud guard. A protective heel cap and toe cap provide stability and additional protection. The Eclipse features a non-marking contragrip which delivers optimal traction on a variety of surfaces. A grippy new lug pattern gives security in all conditions and surfaces. And with GORE-TEX® weather protection, it is ready for year round action.
The shoe seems a little stiff and 'hard' rubber at first but I found after wearing them for just a few minutes, my feet acclimated to them and they seemed fine. Assuming we have dry weather on the hiking/camping excursion these are going to be perfect for those conditions. I'm a little apprehensive about how they might do in heavy rainstorms (not expecting any - as we will be in very dry areas of Arizona - but it's the weather; it could change at any time!). I can tell from wearing them in wet conditions around my own home state that they gripped very well on slippery rock and concrete, but I'm not sure how they would do on the slippery 'slimy' goo that results from rainfall in that area of the US. I guess I'll find out and have to do an update later this summer!
Lastly - the fit. I chose these in part because I know from experience I do not want a 'narrow' or 'small' shoe or boot. I want to be able to wear a nice hiking sock or a light sock with both fitting well, and I also do not want my toe area squashed either from the sides nor the front when I'm going down hill! That is a sure way to bruise and damage your toenail bed and even lose a couple toenails. (I hiked the last quarter mile barefoot once after having to remove a pair of badly fitting but expensive Timberlands that had me limping and wincing with every step after about the 3 mile mark of a 4 mile hike.)
These were reviewed to fit 'big' and you did not need to go up a size. This made me VERY nervous because going up about half size is what I've found to be the best idea for hiking boots and shoes. After a lot of hesitation I went with the majority of the reviews and ordered my normal size (I wear mostly size 9's and some 8.5 in all shoes.) I ordered a 9.
While I don't think they run 'big' - I personally feel they run pretty true to size but are made a little wider or roomier. Perhaps to accommodate padded hiking socks (?). I thought at first my heel was going to slip and out of them but again, as I mentioned above, after wearing them for a bit, it seemed they and my foot acclimated to each other and I didn't notice it anymore.
Salomon Women's Ellipse GTX Hiking Shoe