Season Three Ultralight Hiking Boot Review
These high-quality hiking boots are as easy-wearing as a pair of sneakers—for a price
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Not to brag or anything, but I get a ton of emails asking if I want product samples to test out for Reviewed. (As the site's style editor, it comes with the job.) Loads of publicists, young startups, and creative agencies find my email, send me notes about their newest style products, and ask me if I’d like to test them out for a review. Sometimes they’re major companies like Carhartt, and other times they’re smaller but buzzy, like men’s subscription service Menlo Club. In most cases, I pass either due to a lack of interest (sorry!) or bandwidth. But every now and then, a brand manages to stop me from my inbox zero catharsis and make me think, Wow, I should check this product out.
Recently, that show-stopper was Season Three, an internet-based retailer with its signature product, the nearly $400 The Ultralight Hiking Boot, previously known as the Ansel. Created by MIT grad students turned fashion designers—Jared Ray Johnson and Adam Klein, the Ultralight Hiking Boot is an updated and colorful take on the old-school European mountain boot that’s “rugged enough for the trail, but refined enough for the museum.” These boots looked gorgeous, and after some quick research, I discovered that they were given a co-sign by streetwear designer Reese Cooper who says that despite not being a boot guy, he’s barely taken them off since first trying them on. With such high praise and a unique vibe, I decided to give Season Three’s boots a shot—and I’m happy I did.
What I Like about The Ultralight Hiking Boot
Let me be clear: I’m (also) not a boot guy. They come off as too authoritative and work-like for my typical streetwear tastes. I hate how rigid they can be out of the box—especially if they’re predominantly made of leather—and I don’t have many opportunities to wear them here in Florida without feeling like a lost tourist who forgot to pack a pair of flip-flops.
That said, when I first wore these boots, I was surprised that they didn’t feel like I was wearing hardy footwear at all. Sure, they have the silhouette of an ankle-high mountain boot, and they look like they can handle some rough terrain. But their biggest strength isn’t in being a boot, but rather wearing like an easygoing, high-top sneaker. And that, in my opinion, is a good thing.
The Ultralight Hiking Boots have a luscious fit and feel. Season Three advises going a half size down from your regular sneaker fit, and I’m happy to say these fit me well in a men’s size 11, with no scraping or rubbing at all when I wore them. Lacing up these boots feels pleasant and easy—something I’m not used to when wearing a pair of Doc Martens. The boots have D-rings, which are easier to tighten than typical eyelets, and speed hooks that allow me to quickly cross my laces over the ankle collar by catching them under latches. They have a cutout ankle collar that splits in two, allowing me to slide my foot in and out faster, as well as a pull tab for leverage over my heels.
Believe it or not, if I haven't pulled the laces too tightly, I can put these boots on without having to untie them. No annoying break-in process here, no having to constantly lace on and off. Just a fresh-out-the-box set of boots as easy to wear as shoes.
I wore these out on a weekend in town and saw how well they blended in among the crowd of city slickers. They’re so unassuming that they feel adaptable to urban and natural environments alike. The “Midnight Navy” colorway I received is a gorgeous dark blue with the fuzzy feel of nubuck and an easy-on-the-eyes casual softness. Unlike most modern mountain boots, the style of these are low-key and far from the technical-looking offerings of Salomons and Naglevs. Rather than announce their presence, these boots hinge on an old-school cool that feels like they belong in a 1980’s issue of Outside Magazine. I’m attracted to their modesty and minimalism.
They feel velvety soft and cushioned on the feet, similar to my favorite pair of expensive New Balance 993s. The upper is made of a very pliable weatherproof leather nubuck sourced from northern Italy, which makes for a softer and more malleable material than cheaper domestic options. Meanwhile, the boots’ Ortholite insoles, a branded insert similar to memory foam, gives an extra boost of softness that I appreciated on lengthy walks with friends downtown. (Just in case the installed insoles aren’t enough, the boots also come with additional OrthoLite inserts that grant “a more perfect fit,” getting rid of extra wiggle room for more pillow-like padding.) Season Three boots are also “Goodyear welted,” meaning a hefty piece of rubber is inserted between the upper and outsole, which offers yet another layer of support.
After my city weekend was over, I took the Ultralight Hiking Boots at a local park, just to see how they perform on gravel and on a dirt trail. Unsurprisingly, they did great. The uppers stayed mostly clean and it was easy to wipe off debris with a damp cloth afterward. The high quality Vibram outsoles, which help absorb impact, did their part in keeping me well balanced when I crossed some tree roots and branches on the trail. While I can’t speak on the boots’ waterproofing, they have a useful gusset that cinches wind and dirt out of them. I’m happy to say that I didn’t carry any debris after my walk.
The Ultralight Hiking Boots are lined with New Zealand merino wool, which is certified by a third party to “ensure the economic stability of growers as well as their supply chain partners and retail brands” and is audited to ensure ethical standards are met throughout production. Merino wool is known for its ability to help regulate body temperature and wick away moisture, attributes sought out by outdoor enthusiasts. The wool stymied any foot odor, thanks to its natural antimicrobial properties.
What I don’t like about the Ultralight Hiking Boot
At $395, Season Three’s premier hiking boot is costly. Although I’d argue that such a price is warranted for sustainable materials and quality craftmanship, it’s a tough sell for those wanting a boot purely for hikes or fashion. If you're in the market for something that meets in the middle and the price didn’t make you gasp, these boots are a prime candidate. Otherwise, you’re better off finding a practical or stylish option elsewhere, at a retailer like Huckberry for half the cost.
Is the Ultralight Hiking Boot worth it?
I’d shout it from the rooftops if I could: Season Three’s Ultralight Hiking Boots are magnificent. These colorful hiking boots are a solid marriage of style and functionality, built with quality materials like ethically sourced merino wool and supple Italian leather, and with a classy nubuck finish. I can’t say I’ve worn a pair of hiking boots as comfortable as these before.
However, a caveat: At $400, I wouldn’t buy a pair myself—no matter how comfy they are. Boots aren’t my thing, and despite loving Season Three’s, my wallet can’t justify the expense. But if that cost is within your budget, I can vouch their excellence. They’re available in men’s sizes 5.5 to 13 and women’s sizes 6 to 9, in seven colors including orange, grey, and forest green.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.