Brand: Chaco USA
Model: Z2 Vibram Yampa
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 with Chaco’s ADDStride footbed for lasting arch support and body alignment, the Z Yampa collection features custom adjustable webbing uppers and versatile low profile, lightweight Vibram Yampa outsole. Resolable, machine washable, non-marking sole.