014 - hiking, but make it fashion
Updated: Dec 4, 2020
Get down while you're going up.
Looking back on my childhood, I realized that society feeds us a variety bag of mistruths - for instance, that memorizing the Pythagorean theorem is more important than learning how to pay your taxes, or that the Electoral College makes sense.
Another false absolute is that that form always has to counterbalance function - whether it's a car or a pair of shoes, we're taught to believe that the better something looks, the more impractical, uncomfortable, and expensive it must be.
As I searched for a new pair of hiking boots for my recent trip to Bryce Canyon & Zion, Utah (gorgeous views and great for avoiding people) this contradiction was extremely apparent - it seemed like these companies were actively trying to make each model uglier than the next. Can't a guy find something functional that doesn't look like a pile of nuclear sludge?
Well, it turns out he can. Enter La Sportiva, a fourth-generation Italian brand that's been producing the world's finest technical hiking gear for nearly a century. Three hundred employees design, test, and craft each piece in the Trentino mountains to the most exacting standards - if it's good enough for the guys in Free Solo, it's definitely good enough for a washed-up high school varsity athlete.
Not only does their gear perform, it also looks badass. La Sportiva has coined its trademark bright yellow the way Ferrari has its red - look closely and you'll see it featured somewhere in every single model. With sharp yet refined lines and elegant silhouettes they really do look as good as they perform, and I'm actually looking forward to breaking them out again once the slush hits NYC in the coming months. Hiking boots I actually want to wear? Leave it to the Italians.
Nepal Cube GTX - $599
Kaptiva - $170
Baruntuse - $312.50 (50% off)
Stream GTX: $199
Ultra Raptor: $130