Brand: Chaco USA
Model: Z1 Vibram Pro
Take Montrail’s running-shoe DNA and give it up-armored construction, and you get this go-fast hybrid. “It’s bedroom-slipper light and instantly comfortable, thanks to the great-fitting meshy upper, with good cushion, ankle stability, and underfoot support,” says a NOLS instructor who wore it on a two-week trip in Montana’s Absarokas, while carrying a 30-pound pack over long miles, steep terrain, snowfields, and talus. The sole’s toothy, in-cut lugs give it plenty of traction on packed dirt trails.
Webbing lace guides are easy to tighten without pressure points. Testers praised the midsole’s springy-yet-protective layers of EVA and TPU*, and they loved the built-in debris protection. “The midcut neoprene collar is soft and snug,” reports a tester, “and, combined with the gusseted tongue, kept out all detritus.” But beware of wet rock, she warns. “I slipped on steep, slick slabs.”
Bonus: A progressively harder midsole from heel to pinky toe supports the outer edge of the foot to prevent ankle roll. Fit runs wide. $135; 1 lb. 12 oz.; m’s 7-15, w’s 5-11Built on the ADDStride footbed for lasting arch and body alignment, the River Pro collection provides sticky grip for miles of sure footed adventures downstream. Customizble fit with adjustable webbing. Resolable, machine washable with marking footbed.