There are lots of advantages to living in the mountains. One is this: you can get aerobic and strong by simply heading up one ridge or another. Road running is arguably more impactful on the body. And if you have a history of knee injuries or back injuries (Yes. Yes.), hiking is an excellent alternative.
Most weeks, once or three times a week, I head up the ridges near my home for the workout, for the birdwatching, and for the immediate get-away that climbing 800-1,000 vertical feet affords.
Lately, I’ve been wearing Vasque’s Talus UltraDry hiking boot for all my treks. These excellent, waterproof day hiking boots are like that quiet, immensely talented and productive colleague you might be lucky to work with. Humble and high quality.
Aesthetically, the Talus is everything I like in a boot, which is to say, not a lot. Minimal stitching. Minimal flash. Minimal bells and whistles. I like a boot that can easily segue from trails to town without a friend saying, “Whoa, I see you’re back from your backpacking trip!”
Some hiking boots are so heavy, intense, and clunky that, while great on the trail, they beg to be kicked off as soon as the trek is done. Not the Talus, which rated 4.9 of 5 stars among its buyers. Most of my wearings have lasted from dawn til dusk, from hike to errands to enjoying a beer on the front porch.
I like boots to have a tiny bit of femininity. Vasque gives the Talus purple laces. Perfect! (They also come with grey/brown laces for the more conservative among us.)
Around my area, there is a lot of lateral ridge crossing. The angle and terrain can put pressure and torque on any shoe, especially its stitching. Over about 100 miles thus far, the Talus held tough and my feet stayed comfortably secure.
Full disclosure: this is my second pair of Talus boots. I estimate that the first pair lasted five arduous years (snowy winters included) and about three thousand miles of mud, snow, rocks, bushwhacking, and good times. I hit the leather uppers with seasonal leather care treatment (mostly beeswax products) which gave the boots a darker tone and helped them last and stay waterproof even longer.