Want to burn some calories and stretch some muscles? Or do you want to give a Christmas gift to someone who has ambitions along those lines?

Then get up, get out and let Fido take you for a romp through your neighborhood forest preserve. Whether it’s Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, Los Angeles’ Griffith Park or your backyard woodland, you’ll find the fresh air provides a natural detoxing cleanse.

You’ll clear up mental cobwebs as you lose pounds.

But you’ll need the right equipment when you head for hilly terrain and slippery slopes. Wearing the right footgear can make a world of difference in your enjoyment of your hike.

Now, I do not hike. But I do keep company with a dog who insists on sniffing out the wettest leaves and steepest trails on our rocky hillside. There’s plenty of opportunity to go sliding into the creek that meanders around and about and down the hillside.

When realization finally set in that my raggedy old tennis shoes were not giving me adequate protection from slippage, I walked them over to my local outdoor experts, Alabama Outdoors, and asked for advice.

They turned me on to the Salomon Women’s X Ultra 2 GTX Hiking Shoe.

I love these shoes.

They are light weight so they won’t drag me down as I trudge through the winter hillside muck and mire. They give great support, and they feel as though they molded to my feet. It is a comfortable, airy fit. Look at the bottom of the soles and you see plenty of deeply-creviced ridges.

My outdoors guide explained the Salomon Women’s X Ultra 2 GTX Hiking Shoe embraces a technology that helps your feet pull up as you are ascending and slows your descent as you head downward.

Just what I was looking for. Perfect for light hiking if not Yosemite.

The Salomon website goes beyond my touchy feely analysis to offer specifics. Salomon says this hiking shoe incorporates a Gore-Tex Performance Comfort membrane for waterproof, breathable protection year-round.  The upper cradles your foot for a stable and snug fit. There’s plenty of cushioning.

The Advanced Chassis midsole affords an added measure of stability, foot control, and protection.

There’s a protective rubber toe cap to protect your foot from rocks. ContaGrip rubber helps the sole stick to any surface that you’ll find outside and leaves no marks.  A mud guard keeps the boot clean after wet weather.

If you are not fortunate enough to live within striking distance of Alabama Outdoors, and you want to give the ultimate light hiking gift to yourself or someone else, you can find Salomon Women’s X Ultra 2 GTX Hiking Shoe at Salomon, Dick’s Sporting Goods, REI and L.L. Bean.

See you on the other side.