please advise

Ask Chris Black: Can You Help Me Find Trail-to-City Hiking Shoes?

Photo: Amardeep Singh

If you’re looking for the most powerful hair dryer or the handiest chef’s knife, those things can be easy enough to find. Other objects of desire are a little more taste-based. What’s the next status water bottle or hand wash, for instance? If you have a burning question about the next fanny pack or Noah rugby shirt, Chris Black is here to answer it in a regular column.

Can you recommend some hiking footwear that will have me covered from Sedona to the Alps to my Sunday strolls through Tompkins Square Park? Salomon trail runners seem like the obvious answer but also feel played out at this point. 

I only hike below 14th Street, but I think I know what you need.

The best Salomon product is the Black Snowcross Advanced Sneaker. These can handle any elements, from ice and snow to vomit on First Avenue. They look incredibly cool and are very durable.

A pair of La Sportiva’s Blizzard GTX shoes in black and yellow (no Wiz) Gore-Tex would also serve you well. These are pretty heavy-duty — maybe not enough for scaling Machu Picchu, but hey, it’s your life!

The Clarion ‘88 Gore-Tex from Vasque will do the trick if you are looking for something more retro. Lightweight, Vibram sole — they can handle it all.

What sort of new men’s clothes or accessories or other stuff will you be adding to your wardrobe this spring? 

Spring is coming, which means it’s time to pack away the heavy coats and start really dressing. Of course, I have my eye on a few things …

Spring calls for a little color. This Lemaire-designed, lightweight sweater for Uniqlo in a soft shade of purple will give your look a new dimension. Live a little.

Nothing says warmer weather like madras shorts in popping pastels! Let those quads breathe with these fun shorts from Noah. Sorry, my southern roots are showing.

The return of longer, sunnier days also calls for a new pair of shades. I am partial to the tortoiseshell Bosco sunglasses from Ahnah. Slightly oversized, but not comical, with no logos or unnecessary flare. They’re perfect for all occasions.

Lastly, the shoes. These woven Bottega Veneta loafers seem perfect for my feet in the newly warmish weather. They would truly be an investment for this spring and beyond, as the loafers will look good with anything and age like a fine wine!

You seem to have been traveling a lot lately (or are just always traveling a lot?). Have you picked up any new must-have things to make plane time more enjoyable (or sanitary) since you last told us about your travel essentials?

Your boy stays on the road. It makes living in New York tolerable! I have added some must-haves to my kit since we last spoke.

Staying well so you can actually enjoy your destination is of the utmost importance. Of course, I travel with all of my assorted vitamins and powders, but the most important of those is Source Naturals Wellness Formula. I take them before flights to help stave off any infectious illnesses that I might encounter at JFK.

Being charged up is a reality we live with daily, but especially when en route. I like my iPhone 11 to be at 50 percent or above at all times, so I will pack one regular and one longer Apple USB-C cable. The short one (one meter) is nice for a rental car or plane seat, and the extendo (two meter) is excellent for the hotel room, where I use the cord with this wall charger. With the three, you will never miss another Instagram story, no matter what time zone you are in.

I have some close, frequent-flying friends with circulation issues, and I cannot suffer the same cursed fate! I finally got some big-boy compression socks from a brand called Lasso. They come in black or white and keep my blood circulating at 30,000 feet! A must if you want to hop off the plane and go straight to Barry’s.

In today’s paranoid climate, we are being told to keep our hands VERY CLEAN. I’m not too fond of hand sanitizer — they’re gross. But since a proper washing station is not always available on the go, and I want to see 40, I have found a chic option. One of my favorite brands, Byredo, makes a “rinse free” hand wash in my favorite, sensual Vetvyer scent. Let everyone else smell like cheap alcohol from CVS!

I should note that the ingredients in this hand wash include alcohol to combat germs, but the packaging does not indicate how much alcohol. (If coronavirus is your main concern, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say a sanitizer should have at least 60 percent alcohol content.) The hand wash is currently on back order at Neiman Marcus (where it will ship for free when the retailer restocks), but seemingly available to ship now (for a fee) from 24 Sèvres.

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Ask Chris: Can You Help Me Find Trail-to-City Hiking Shoes?