Why we like it The solid support and durable sole make these great for fastpacking and light hiking, while the casual style makes them a good pick for travel.
Support While it’s designed to be a trail runner, our testers unanimously preferred it as a fast-and-light hiker. Why? The midsole is all polyurethane (PU), which is firmer and less springy than the EVA foam normally found in running shoes. PU is also more durable over the long haul—it doesn’t compress over time—which makes the Ultra Quest suitable for longer treks and extended use. “They’re stiffer than just about any trail runners I’ve worn; they support my feet and keep them more stable than most, without being clunky,” one tester says. Testers with strong ankles were comfortable carrying up to 20 pounds in these shoes.
Breathability Mesh and synthetic uppers (no waterproof membrane) breathed well in 100°F temps when a tester was investigating Anasazi ruins perched high on rock walls of Hammond Canyon, Utah. Yet the mesh’s perforations proved small enough to keep out a surprising amount of fine desert dust.
durability The PU midsole wraps up around the high-wear areas of the midfoot and inside of the heel for killer durability. After more than 300 miles of use, one tester reports, “There are no significant signs of wear anywhere on the sole.”
Fit Cushioning around the ankle cuff plus a well-contoured upper and footbed provide a snug fit for testers with skinny ankles, yet the toebox accommodates wide forefeet.
$160; 1 lb. 7 oz.; m’s 39-47, w’s 36-42; eccousa.com