Brandblack Santa Monica: Hiking with Fashion & Function

We have recently been connecting more with Brandblack, a mostly fashion footwear company that is making strides in the running and outdoor lanes. Last year we tried out the Brandblack Kaiju, a pretty solid foundation of a running shoe that we feel will get better over time. We ended the year by sample the Santa Monica – a fancy hiking boot that many an Oregonian may want to put on their feet this Spring and beyond.

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The Santa Monica boots provide a visual concoction of flashiness without going completely overboard. Obviously these are super unique, but I don’t feel as if they completely step over the line and into WTF-territory. The color schemes have some purples, blues, and pinks mixed in with your more standard brown colorway. The Santa Monica pair we tried falls right in the middle amount of flair. You can definitely go a more subdued way OR just go bold.

So these are awesome. Aside from the awesome colorway, there are a variety of leather, suede, and mesh overlays on the upper. This is coupled with a speckled creamy yellow on the outside sole – all together providing a really unique looking take on a hiking boot. They may not be for everyone but, hot dang, if I don’t love them. I have worn them out and about a variety of times and always get a ton of comments (if that’s your thing).


As far as basic fit goes, Brandblack knows how to do it. While their running shoes are still progressing positively with each iteration, I think the Santa Monica’s fit quite well as well.  They felt great right out of the box and I have truly loved walking around in them. As with many new hiking boots, make sure you get some miles in before hand. I got a hot spot on the back of my heel after putting in a ton of walking in these on day 1 (my own fault), but some lacking adjustments and thicker socks did the trick.


Like many of Brandblack’s footwear, they are a combo of fashion and function. While these could probably hold up nicely to some light trail hiking, I wouldn’t go tossing your “true” technical hiking boots. They are definitely comfortable and technologically sound enough, but we know of other hiking-specific boots that will be more prudent for those types of hikes.

The sole is constructed from Vibram with a plethora of lugs along the bottom to handle multitude of terrain.


As I get older, I continue to preach to others, as well as here at Run Oregon, the importance of keeping your feet happy in all settings, and not just running. This is why we feature well-constructed items like slippers, sandals, and yes – boots. If you can’t keep your feet, happy and healthy, running is going to be an impossibility. These boots from Brandblack are a perfect option to spice up your closet, allow for some where versatility, and look good doing so. The price tag is pretty high, and you are definitely paying a premium for style and function, but they are definitely a fun pair to have.

Santa Monica | $250

  • Equal parts fashion and function
  • BRANDBLACK designed Vibram High traction multi directional rubber outsole
  • Premium leather / suede / mesh upper for comfort and strength
  • Premium details and maximum comfort
  • Oversized mountain lace detail


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Thank you to Brandblack for providing us with a sample pair. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.

About Author

Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching hockey, going to as many breweries (618) and wineries (152) as he can, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010.

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