When shopping for casual hiking footwear, you’re often stuck with two choices: mid- to high-top boots that look ready to handle a gnarly summit ascent or low-cut shoes that feel too flimsy to take off-trail. The latter commonly falls into a group of “crossover” shoes that handle urban strolling as well as they do easy hikes. It’s a funny category that isn’t always so accurate — sometimes they under-perform as hiking shoes or occasionally out-perform as casual kicks. The women’s Hi-Tec Harmony Lace shoe, however, fits comfortably (literally and figuratively) in the middle of this category.
Out-of-the-box comfort was much appreciated within the first few miles of its inaugural hike, and its unassuming casual design was made for finishing the multi-hour trek at the nearest watering hole. Slight hits of color accentuate the light brown Nubuck leather exterior, adding just the right amount of fun detailing for a true crossover shoe.
Beyond aesthetics, the Harmony Lace shoes are built with Vibram outsoles, which are reliable for grippy traction and cushy shock absorption. While the Harmony Lace itself is lightweight and flexes almost too well to be classified as a hiking shoe, it performed flawlessly as I trekked uphill over a trail that was scattered with rugged rocks and roots. This came as a pleasant surprise, given my concern about feeling each jagged, uneven step. I intentionally stepped on some of my feet’s most sensitive places, and true to Vibram form, the Harmony ate up the impact, and supple EVA foam in the midsole dispersed any pressure.
The Harmony Lace isn’t waterproof, but plenty of mesh vents along the sides translates to a steady stream of airflow, especially on warm days. If you do find yourself hiking through sloppy dirt on rainy days, dried mud can easily be brushed from the Nubuck exterior.
To get more out of the Harmony Lace shoes, I swapped out the stock insoles with my own and managed a more comfy fit – although women with high arches might have comfort issues if using custom support. In all, the Hi-Tec Harmony Lace hiking shoes are more than I expected out of a crossover pair, and have quickly become a go-to pair for light adventures in the mountains.
The Harmony Lace shoes are available now for $105. For more information on the Hi-Tec Harmony Lace shoes, visit hi-tec.com.