Italian outdoor footwear specialists Asolo have produced a new lightweight walking shoe designed for Alpine-style fine-weather trekking. Jim Killgore tried a pair.
The Magix is classed as an approach shoe, which is a lighter, cooler alternative to walking boots thatâ€™s nevertheless sturdy, with high-traction soles providing grip on steep rocky terrain. Approach shoes are designed ideally for climbers on the long walk-in to the rock face over paths that can involve some exposed, technical scrambling.
But this type of shoe has also become a popular choice of walkers looking for comfortable wear on the hills when the weather is warmer and drier.
The Asolo Magix fits the bill well, with some impressive technical specifications:
- Water-resistant suede and synthetic uppers that are both sturdy and breathable
- Asoflex lasting board offering a balance of flexibility and rigidity
- Anatomic footbed with cushioned Velveteen lining
- Microporous midsole with PU Anti-shock insert for absorbing impact
- Vibram friction sole with â€œstickyâ€ square lugs for enhanced traction
- Rigid rubber toe for added protection and greater â€œpurchaseâ€ on solid rock
I tested the shoes on a warm day rambling in the Pentland Hills. My immediate impression, on taking to the path, was that they offered a snug, comfortable fit thanks to an â€œasymmetrical lacing systemâ€ that secures the shoe from toe to ankle with little or no heel movement that might cause blisters.
On the steep climb to the ridge the shoes felt as light as a pair of trainers yet sturdy, with great traction in both loose dirt and exposed rock. Detouring off the path for some low-grade scrambling I was impressed by the narrow profile and grippy square-lugged sole and rigid rubber toe. These features, along with the low-cut profile allowing free movement of the ankle, give the impression almost of a beefed-up climbing shoe.
Much of my summer walking is done in the Cuillin of Skye, where I think these shoes would offer a fine alternative to my heavy leather three-season boots. There, in decent weather, the paths tend to be rocky and dry but often with exposed scrambling on slabs and ridges where tough but versatile footwear would come in handy. The sturdy synthetic-suede uppers would also well survive the obligatory scree surfing that might shred lesser trainer-style walking shoes.
But I would not set off across rough or boggy open ground in these shoes as they are water-resistant, not water-proof, and the lack of ankle support might be a worry on rocky moorland. The drenching Scottish rain could leave you squelching back to the path head, and Alpine probably is an apt description for the Asolo Magix.
In short, if you want a cool and comfortable alternative for dry summer walking I think Asolo Magix are worth the investment. The shoes come in both menâ€™s and womenâ€™s sizes, and in three bright colours â€“ black-green-lime and black-yellow for him or black-atoll-blue for her. The shoes retail at Â£118.97 and can be bought at Cotswold Outdoor. See more Asolo products here.