STAFF PICKS: Footwear Highlights by Brennan - Spring Edition!

Resident Shoe Guru and Ascent Outdoors veteran Brennan shares this review of his top picks from our Spring 2022 footwear line for seasoned and aspiring outdoorsfolk alike. Come visit to find your perfect fit — Brennan can make magic happen for any feet! 

“Our footwear selection improves every single week at Ascent Outdoors. The goal is to have something for everyone that will help them enjoy the flavor of the Pacific Northwest. Our selection includes (but isn’t limited to) comfort shoes, road shoes, technical sandals, trail runners, light to heavy backpacking styles, and mountaineering boots.  Whether you are traversing from Green Lake to the UW quad or on a hardcore Quest-for-Fire-style deathmarch, we can to show you some sweet sweet options that will speed you and your feet to glory.

“As your recreational outdoor technical footwear specialist, I advise you to check out some of our spring highlights. These are styles I'm very glad to have in our shop:

Lems Outlander Boot
“On a personal note, I've been wanting to get Lems into the shop for a while now and am very impressed by their current offerings and overall concept of foot-shaped shoe design aligned with a minimal zero drop design.  The brand has been around since 2011, and after years of seeing folks flex on me in our Ballard shop wearing them, I knew it was time to make the brand work here at Ascent Outdoors.

The new Outlander features a zero-drop heel with grippy rubber 4mm lug patterns that I think will do well in our NW muck. It's waterproof as well and has a nice spacious toebox to allow optimal foot spread. I was very happy to find that it held my heel in place without undue lacing pressure and allows a fantastic connection to the ground when you move about the trails. I rocked my pair at a spring festival and ran after my kids for hours in these and was truly immortal as I bounded about all nimbly-bimbly all over the place with gusto. The next day my body reminded me that I'm 46 and I need to take it easy while getting used to minimal footwear. My trail usage in them since then has involved soft winding trails and forest hiking.

“I really think Lems crushed it with this design. One last thing that I think is great is that the leather part of the toebox wraps around the widest part of the foot.  This allows us to potentially modify the toebox to accommodate next-level bunions if needed (to a certain extent).”
Topo Athletic Trailventure
“I fell in love with Topo Athletic footwear quite a while ago and really appreciated their open toebox design and their varied selection of different heel drops to their styles. I've been fortunate to own many pairs over the years as my feet have gotten wider in my dotage. I also value a solid heel fit along with the right volume of shoe to prevent my feet from sliding around while on slopes and such.  I also loathe any toe pressure while moving downhill and am extremely picky on what I believe qualifies an optimal fit for my overall foot health.

“I've been waiting for this updated design for a while now and once I had them strapped on my feet I knew these were very special. The lightweight hikers have been redesigned to allow for a more secure fit in the entire shoe and also features a very smooth rocker to enable a comfortable gait while crushing the trails. They provide a neutral support, 5mm drop heel, a rock plate for underfoot protection, and a wide toebox for foot spread.   was able to take them on a very wet and snowy hike/bike and also a recent muddy 7-mile jaunt and my socks stayed very dry with and without gaiters thanks to the breathable Event bootie. To the people who are still not sure if a less structured design from other brands is appropriate but still require a ample toe spread and support, I offer these for your consideration.  We received both kinds of hiking boots: Country AND Western (County = breathable / Western = waterproof) and the Country version is reviewed below!”


Topo Athletic Trailventure
“This light hiker is also offered in a breathable non waterproof style that's going to be a solid choice when someone is hiking in warmer conditions, but still prefers an higher ankle than a trail runner or low top shoe. I look forward to rocking these with a Injinji toe sock and running th rough the highlands once the snow retreats. Remember, our feet have over 125,000 sweat glands and sweat a half a pint a day. My dire-musk-oxen feet sweat twice that personally according to the wife.”