It's that special time of year again in Vancouver when the skies clear and everyone takes to the trails en masse. Tinder dates move from bars to the mountains (my condolences) and locals begin their local griping ritual about the influx of city folk and tourists who have descended on the burbs.
If you are one of those seasoned hikers who come equipped with heavy boots, camel packs, and metal poles, first off what's it like to be better than everyone else? And secondly, this article is not for you.
This small but mighty round-up is for the Vancouverites in search of new sneakers and who like to support local businesses of which Vancouver only has three in the sneaker department (four if you count Lululemon but, who does?) and are heading off to do the more paved and well-kept trails. Please do not tackle the backcountry unprepared.
With that in mind, here are our picks for Vancouver sneakers this hiking season (plus one heavy-duty boot in case your date is mountain goat):
Starting off with a household name in Vancouver, these waterproof sneakers took our rainy city by storm (pun intended) when they first launched in 2018 after appearing on Dragon's Den. The unique fabric design is breathable so your foot doesn't sweat and yet doesn't let a drop of external moisture in. Available in seven styles for men and women and two for kids the colours are minimal and unassuming which makes them great everyday shoes and the varying styles offer support for different terrains from light Cityscape sneakers to more durable Everyday Move shoes which are our pick for working out and light hikes.
The 3D-printed Casca shoe designs are sophisticated and timeless-looking sneakers for the city. The flat-bottomed shoes look somewhere between a skate shoe, a slide, and a sneaker but are super comfortable and supportive thanks to triple-thick removable insoles. The everyday Avro shoes come in knit and leather designs but for hiking season the Utility One is the way to go. The moulded anti-roll heel helps keep the ankle protected and in place when walking and mountaineer grade traction ensures the soles are grippy and mesh windows on either side of the show help ventilate them as you exercise.
Native shoes may be better known for their Croc-like slides that make great kicking around shoes in the backyard or running outside to get the mail but the Vancouver retailer also has a collection of boots that make great hiking shoes. There are designs better suited for beachy terrain and there are heavy-duty boots that would work for hiking all year round. We recommend the Fitzsimmons Citylite Bloom boot for its low ankle rise making it lighter and less hot for summer hiking. But the real kicker? They're made from algae.
The Rise by Bloom collection is engineered to replace a percentage of plastic polymer with overly abundant algae growth harvested from lakes and freshwater which not only cuts down on plastic but helps purify the air.
We said we weren't going to count it but in case anyone is interested, the technology that goes into making these high-performance running shoes is actually pretty interesting. This "women-first footwear" took four years to develop and is made to feel bouncier on the takeoff and softer on the landing. The blissfeel running shoe just dropped and is meant to offer the perfect fit for a woman's foot but it's just the beginning in what Lululemon plans to be a collection of shoes: the chargefeel low workout shoe, chargefeel mid workout shoe, and the strongfeel training shoe, which will be intended for different workout intensities.