Ridgemont Outfitters has designed a comfortable and casual hiker that will take you from the hiking trail to the brewery trail in style and ease.
There is a movement these days towards outdoor gear that can morph into everyday lifestyle wear. I think this company has hit the mark.
I first found out about this company on Instagram. Though I’ve not yet attended Outdoor Retailer, I learn about a lot of new products by following the OR hashtags during the expo. These boots instantly popped for me and I was quickly commenting to find out if they made women’s shoes.They do, but I chose the Outback II which is technically a Men’s shoe.
This is the first time probably since junior/high school (converse all-stars) that I’ve purchased mens shoes. I’ll admit I was a little nervous since I was purchasing online and not able to try them on. I am a women’s size 8, but sometimes wear a 7.5. Using a sizing chart I determined that to be a mens size 6. Ridgemont Outfitters men’s shoes go to a size 5 for the younger ones or the “fairer ones” as stated on their website.
When I first tried them on they were stiff. They are made of leather with waxed canvas laces and waxed cotton canvas upper. So the stiffness at first contributed to my fit concerns. I thought they were going to be too small. At first, I felt like I needed a shoe horn to get them on. I was making the initial conversion from flip-flops to real shoes, and it felt like a harsh reality to spend 5 minutes trying to get them on. Thus, I persevered.
I learned some things about my feet wearing these. First I learned that I definitely had one foot that is larger than the other so on one foot I was getting a hot spot on my pinky toe and the other I got a mega-heel blister. I was seriously bummed. I LOVE the look of these shoes, but I was sad they might not fit for me.
I didn’t give up. I researched heel-slip lacing techniques and tried that. I tried different socks- still blisters. But then finally I had a great thought! What if I take the footbeds out and replace with my heel lift foot beds I have in my old hiking boots? I was stoked, that was the trick, and now I’m wearing these almost non-stop! The stiffness has also loosened up quite a bit, which is making them much easier to get on.
I wanted to share all of that because sometimes if you stick with it, you can make it work.
What I love about these is they are basically a cross between a high top sneaker and a light hiker. You can nicely feel the earth beneath your feet, but its not too thin that you are feeling every rock. They provide ankle support which I am all about since I sprained my ankle last month hiking at Pico in VT. The bottom of the shoe is a high density rubber which is really grippy. I’ve taken these on some rocky hikes with sloping rock downhill sections where one might be concerned about slipping. I descended with no problem or slippage. Have I mentioned that they are seriously good looking? I might be a little bit of a tomboy but I just think they are so cute, I’ve also gotten a lot of compliments from my outdoor guide coworkers. Although I took out the footbed, it’s worth mentioning that the one provided is of quality. They’ve designed it with a Ortholite footbed with a really supportive arch. If your feet fit perfectly when you get it, you probably wouldn’t need to switch out the footbeds. You can read more about the construction here.
Most of my hikes tend to be 2 to 3 hour days hikes, I have tested these out in various conditions but nothing too long. I’ve also worn them camping, for yard work, a farm potluck and to Moeapalooza (a local craft brew celebration). I’m curious to try these on like a 5 hour hike and see how they do. I think now that they’ve broken in some and I’ve got the blister thing figured out, I’ll be trying that soon. I’ll be sure to update.
I’m thinking I am going to treat these with a water proofing leather cream since I have some. They actually oil the leather so they are water resistant. I think adding my own will improve that.
In general, I’m really excited to see more designs from Ridgemont Outfitters. I think they’ve got a great modern look with thoughtful construction. I really dig the minimalist approach. There is a movement these days towards outdoor gear that can morph into everyday lifestyle wear. I think this company is on point.
Update-I completely a lovely 6 hour hike in these and was comfortable and supported all day!