Chaco Outcross 2; $110 (www.chacos.com)
Hike-focused paddlers will find a lot to love about the OutCross 2 from Chaco. With a far cushier feel than the Five Ten Eddy or the Astral Brewer, the OutCross is a more trail-focused shoe that does great on longer hikes but still performs well in the water. A breathable mesh upper easily drains water but doesn’t really shed sand and silt. Fortunately, a snug neoprene cuff around the ankle mostly keeps the grit and grime relatively at bay.
Pull-tabs on the heel and tongue make it easy to slip the shoe on at a moment’s notice and a smart lacing system make it easy to get a snug, supportive fit that keeps my feet from sliding around in the shoe. The Outcross is a bit wide, especially in the toe-box, which is nice if you plan to wear thick socks and drysuit booties inside of the shoe.
The outsole’s traction isn’t quite up to par with Astral of Five Ten shoes but it’s still pretty darn good and many paddlers will appreciate the extra support versus those more purpose-built paddling shoes. The sole has a lot of cushion.
The OutCross is an excellent choice for paddlers who want a do-it-all shoe for hikes, camp, and the water, but want a shoe with a cushier, more supportive feel.
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