It’s a boat! (No, a water ski!) It’s a spaceship! (The Millennium Falcon!) Whatever it is, the TenNine Hike is relief for your achy knees and feet. This futuristic-looking boot is equipped with 33 towering millimeters of foam composite in the midsole (the boot has a 4-millimeter drop), as well as a gigantic heel that sticks out nearly 2 inches behind the foot. The cushioning and massive landing pad soften heel strikes on every step. On the ups, the TenNine climbs like any other lightweight, high-ankled hiker. But on long, slabby descents down New Hampshire’s 4,000-foot peaks or downward stair-stepping on rocky trails, we appreciated the increased traction that comes from greater surface area. It also provides impact absorption and relief for our knees, feet, and back. Watch out, though: When you need precision in technical terrain, this shoe is too bulky to be much use. The TenNine has a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane (which did get a little clammy on summer days) and a Vibram Megagrip Litebase outsole with 5-millimeter-deep lugs. Its durable rubber heel and toe caps saw only a little scuffing, even after traversing plenty of scree.
m’s 7-13, 14, w’s 5-11