Why: Because we're sick and tired of watching our kids pull off boxy, bulky, leaky boots to reveal sore, soggy, blistered feet. If your young ones like hiking as much as ours do, they'll thank you ten times over for buying them a pair of Garmont's Flash Junior XCR or Nagevi Junior. Built with the same attention to detail and high-quality materials as the grownup versions, Flash XCR and Nagevi XCR, these boots fit our young testers like gloves, gave them superior traction on wet streamside rocks, and virtually eliminated the foot fatigue they'd experienced with less supportive models. The suede and synthetic uppers broke in quickly, but didn't stretch or sag, and overall durability is such that you'll hand them down two or three times. The Flash Junior XCR has a Gore-Tex XCR lining and higher, ankle-protecting cut; the low-cut Nagevi Junior is a better choice for dry, smooth trails and general kicking around.
Who: Active outdoor kids who wear sizes 1 to 5 (both shoes come in half sizes)
How much: Flash, $70; Nagevi, $50
Contact: (802) 658-8322, www.garmontusa.com.