This low-cut dayhiker feels as comfortable as a casual shoe, but performs like a hiking boot, according to testers who used it from Maine's Camden State Park to Arizona's San Francisco Peaks. Our crew applauded its rigid midsole, flexible forefoot, good cushion, and toe protection, and especially the arch support. "I have a very skinny foot with zero arch, and the fit and support of the Arcs made them comfortable for hiking 10-plus miles," said a tester.
They're also flexible and light enough for nimble scrambling over talus. Mesh panels in the nubuck uppers, and no waterproof membrane, give them superior breathability. Downside: They lack the support for carrying more than about 20 pounds. Best for low- to medium-volume feet. $100; 2 lbs. 3 oz. (women's 10.5) Merrell.com