The Perfect Shoe for Back Country Wanderlust

Editor’s Note: We hear this week from guest columnist Aidan Gaughran. The ColoradoOutsider played four seasons of NCAA soccer at Dickinson College before joining the Peace Corps and heading to Panama. Now back in the States, he’s busy catching up on hikes and treks in southwestern Colorado.

Gaughran writes:

Most of the time I go outside, I do not travel on predetermined routes. One moment I can be on a well-traveled trail; the next I can be bushwhacking through the woods; the next I

Salomon Odyssey Pro

could be climbing over rock debris.

I never know precisely where the adventure calls, nor the precise terrain my feet will pass over. I value spontaneity and the ability to change course on a whim. In this regard, the Salomon Odyssey Pro makes an ideal partner-in-crime.

The first thing you will notice is that these shoes are ready to go right out of the box. They seemed already broken-in to my feet, an impressive feat considering a) my wide feet and b) that the shoes are advertised as Hiking Shoes.

Most hiking shoes require a get-to-know-you period. Not these ones. They weigh a slim 11.6 ounces, and with the Ortholite impressions (soles) and mesh/nylon upper layer, it feels as if you are wearing a light, athletic sneaker.

Out on the trail (wherever that may be), you start to notice the shoes’ hiking attributes. The Odyssey has a thick midsole – but not thick so as to be chunky or unsavory on the eyes – that keeps the feet cushioned and supported for those longer, higher-mileage days.

It has an outsole that whisks away small debris and that seems to grip whatever terrain the trail throws at it. The marriage between the support and the light, athletic upper is the shoes’ defining quality, and is the main reason why I love it.

I’m not sure how the shoe would handle extended, multi-day trips, but if I was leaving tomorrow, I would probably take the Odyssey Pro over other options.

I recently ran a half-marathon, in which half the terrain was pavement and the other a mix of dirt and gravel on uneven, up-and-down terrain. I wore the Odysseys. The next morning, most everything in my body ached – except for my feet.

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