I live in North Texas. My hikes are rocky, dust-choked, and arid. I’m more likely to step on a baby diamondback than slip on a patch of moss. I need my boots to be light and breathable. Water-resistance isn’t a must-have when you get less than 40 inches of rain a year.
The Piuma hiking boots from Italy’s Asolo are designed for exactly this kind of terrain. I tested a pair in Texas Hill Country, the Santa Monica Mountains and Joshua Tree National Park. I took them through sandy arroyos and across loose gravel paths. I even took them bouldering.
- Lightweight. Piuma is Italian for “feather.”
- Breathability. The tops of my feet almost felt exposed.
- Ankle support. The suede leather and nylon mesh kept my ankles braced through miles of deep sand and rocky ground.
- Lacing. Seems like a silly thing to get excited about, but these laced easier and more comfortably than any other boots I’ve owned.
- Style. The Piumas are what happens when you ask the Italians to design a hiking boot.
- Price. I’ve paid less for boots. But I haven’t enjoyed them as much.
- Easily broken in. Haven’t had a blister yet.
- Couldn’t locate these on asolo.com. It’s a slick site, but with boots categorized under meaningless names like “Radiant,” “Matrix,” and “Energy,” you’re better off buying through a retailer like REI or Zappo’s.
I was asked to judge these boots. But as with any hiking shoe, if they didn’t stand up, the trail got to judge me. I could be sentenced to blisters, a turned ankle, or $185 worth of buyer’s remorse. But as it turns out, the Piumas are exactly what I need.
They were easily broken in. I wore them around the office for a week before taking them on the trail. Not only did I walk away blisterless, they were stylish enough that I didn’t feel like a dope wearing hiking boots to work.
The sole was very sturdy. I walked over sharp and craggy rocks without any discomfort, and the ankle support was as good as I could have asked for.
I learned that Asolo is named after the eponymous city near the company’s Alpine headquarters. The mountain views help give the town its nickname, “City of a Hundred Horizons.” Sounds like another place I’d want to hike. Northern Italy and North Texas have their culture gaps. But ultimately, the Piumas make it clear their designers know the outdoors, and how a good boot should perform in them.
Date Available: Get ‘em now.
Listed Weight: 1 lb. 14.4 oz
Actual Weight: Same. Although once you buy into their Italian-ness, you might use the metric system.
Materials: Suede leather/high-tenacity nylon mesh with nylon velveteen lining. Outsole is a blend of EVA and Vibram rubber (another Italian company). Support is thermoplastic urethane plate.
Colors Available: Cendre/Grey (note the European spelling of gray) and Elephant/Black.