At some point in the past 20 years, running shoes have become the casual shoe of choice for Americans. How do I know? Take a look around at any mall, airport, college campus or kids’ soccer game. Most of the adults are wearing running shoes. And why not? Running shoes are comfortable, fit well and give off the vibe that you’re a runner. The only trouble is that it’s still not all that cool to wear running shoes (especially ones you’ve run in) on a date, to a casual meeting, to a holiday gathering or other situations requiring just a touch more of sophistication.

Altra took some of those points to heart when creating its new Desert Boot, a mashup of the best aspects of its running shoes and a classy looking chukka boot. The Desert Boot ($120, altrarunning.com) is lightweight (9.9 oz. for a men’s size 9.0) and hasĀ a good amount of soft cushioning (28mm under foot, similar to that of the Altra Torin running shoe) and a zero-drop profile (or a level platform from the heel to forefoot, just like Altra’s road and trail running shoes). The upper is made from a soft, durable and supple, low-nap Italian suede and has a clean look that allows it to pair well with jeans or khakis. The Desert Boot serves up modern style and long-wearing comfort with a classy intent and hint at a hippie chill all wrapped into one.

(The Desert Boot isĀ available in three colors: Black with gray/white accents, cobalt blue with lime green/white accents and beige with white/black accents.)