The Lowa Tempest Lo is my current choice of footwear for work. Lowa’s tagline is “Grips rock like a climbing shoe, flexes like trail runner…” It’s touted as one of Lowa’s best-selling day hikers. The uppers are Nubuck velour leather with Cordura Quick-drying textile lining Climate-control footbed and deep lug soles. They have PUR midsole for underfoot comfort.

It’s a nice comfortable, durable shoe and I would recommend it. My feet are a bit narrow so try them on before you buy…comfort is essential. If they feel uncomfortable in the store, they will likely “kill you” after a full day. I tried on Lowa, Reichle, Vasque and others…these felt the best to me.

For Photographers and photojournalists the importance of good, comfortable footwear cannot be understated. Working all day in uncomfortable shoes is not an option. In my opinion and on my foot, the Lowa Tempest strikes a good balance between a shoe and a true hiking boot. It provides good support and a decent platform from which to shoot. Although some of the stitching gave out after about 2 years of hard use, I still like these shoes so much that I bought two pairs just in case Lowa discontinues them.

In most of the places I work, I have easy and frequent access to inexpensive shoe repair, so fixing things like stitches and eyelets is not a big deal.. Both the new and older models sell for less than $100.

Now Lowa now has a new version called the Tempest II Lo, which I also own. There are some design changes which should improve the overall durability.

In addition to the Lowa Tempest, I also carry along a pair of Teva Terra-Fi Sandals for lounging around in, wearing down the hall to shared showers or even some light walking around town. The only problem I see with working in sandals full time is that your feet are more vulnerable to injury… getting cut on broken glass, or other dangers prevalent in the developing world, could really mess up your ability to work. I suggest wearing shoes which offer more protection, unless you know ahead of time the exact conditions where you’ll be walking.

During my coverage of the tsunami, there were so many hazards (broken glass, twisted metal, exposed re-bar etc.) that it would have been foolhardy to wear sandals. Most of the injuries being treated at an impromptu clinic that was set up on the beach in Hikadua Sri Lanka were injuries to the feet where residents, wearing flip flops cut or impaled themselves on debris.

Teva quality is good and The Terra-Fi is a decent performer in water and on land. The signature of Teva is the universal strapping system; it secures the foot through four points of connectivity and lateral straps. The result is an open sandal with an athletic fit. The sandals are impregnated with Microban Zinc: An environmentally friendly zinc technology that fights the growth of odor causing bacteria and fungus. Supposedly this antimicrobial protection provides continuous odor control that won’t wash off or wear away, although mine seem to smell fairly bad, so I keep them in a plastic bag when carried in my luggage. The Teva Terra Fi costs about $75 unless you find them on sale. The best price I have seen is about $45.


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