Full disclosure: This is the first pair of hiking shoes (as opposed to boots) that I’ve tried out since I lost a pair of beloved Timberlands about 10 years ago. I’m still not completely over the tragedy of leaving them in a 900-degree car during summer, which caused the adhesive to melt and the soles to separate from the uppers.

Thank you, Lowa, for filling the hiking-shoe-shaped hole in my heart.

I flirted with the Aerox GTX Lo Surround for several weeks after our first meeting in August. We took short walks on paved and crushed gravel roads, which of course the shoes breezed across confidently. They’re lightweight and comfortable, with good balance and roll right off the bat.

We progressed to all-terrain hiking and then attended a backwoods trail build. The sure fit and grip performed flawlessly in the wilds. The knitted upper hugs the foot, providing a supportive frame. I have narrow feet, though, which left we wondering if a broader foot would be cramped. You’ll want to try them on yourself before taking them home. The speed-lace system is dependable and easy to use, but the lace itself is really long and could be shortened up to prevent snags.

What’s with the round holes in the base of the shoes, you ask? They’re integral to the GORE-TEX Surround technology. When you take a step, the holes (combined with interior ventilation channels in the midsole) draw air away from the foot, helping to regulate moisture and temperature. It’s a clever system that, through some kind of natural magic, is breathable and also waterproof.

Overall, I’d have to say that I’m smitten with the Lowa Aerox GTX Lo Surround and look forward to many more outings together. The shoe is available in sizes 8 to 14 and colors black/lime, graphite/red (pictured) and navy/orange. $220. lowaboots.com

Author: Brad Kovach is the editor/publisher of Terrain Magazine.