Model: Wildfire Edge
On steep and rocky trails, you want a shoe to match. One guide-in-training swears by the Wildfire Edge, an approach shoe that toggles between hike and scramble modes via a neat trick: Simply cinch the laces that extend around the heel, which forces your foot to the front for increased groundfeel and precision. “It gave me the confidence I needed to navigate twisty approach hikes in France’s Gorges du Verdon with 30 pounds of gear on my back,” our tester says. She also reports that the Wildfire Edge has survived months of scrapes with sharp limestone; credit the thick suede upper wrapped in a TPU exoskeleton, as well as higher-than-normal TPU rands on the heel and toe. Caveat: Our tester found the thick suede upper results in subpar breathability.