Model: Grand Traverse
Overall Score: 4.1 / 5
Why we like it This low-cut light hiker delivers the support and stability of a medium-duty mid-cut combined with the grip and control of an approach shoe.
Stability How’s this for a test? When a cold downpour enveloped our guy on the Porter Mountain Trail in the Adirondacks, he took off. “I ended up running the last mile downhill as fast as I could. Even with a 20-pound pack, I felt completely stable,” he says. “When I landed slightly off balance, the wide platform under the heel and arch put enough surface area under my foot to right the misstep.” A nylon strap threads through slits in the suede upper around the ankles, locking the heel into place. This strap connects to the approach-style (to-the-toes) lacing system, enhancing the snug, secure fit.
Traction The heel, toe, and inside edge of the outsole have a smooth tread (meaning greater contact area for smearing on rock) made of firm, grippy, wear-resistant rubber, while softer, comet-shaped lugs in the middle and outside edge grab onto muddy and rocky trails. “I never slid an inch on sloppy mud descents coated with wet leaves,” says an Oregon tester.
Protection Unlike many non-waterproof mesh shoes, these don’t sacrifice protection for a little fresh air—the mesh upper has a honeycombed layer of PU and suede panels to shield your feet from pebbles, sticks, and other debris.
Ding The honeycomb pattern on the surface of the upper tended to collect mud on wet hikes.
$130; 1 lb. 10 oz.; m’s 7-14, w’s 6-11; vasque.com