Gear Guide 2012: Trail Running Boots/Shoes

Comfort, support and durability is something all of these trail running favorites offer.

Columbia Peakfreak Low OutDry

“The support is superb,” said one tester after wearing these during a hard day of trail work at Colorado’s Heil Ranch. At day’s end, she felt fresh enough to run fast down an ankle-bender trail full of rocks and roots; a mid-foot shank and toe guard protected her feet from bruising and twisting. $145; 1 lb. 10 oz.;

Hi-Tec V-Lite Infinity Hpi

“One of the most comfortable trail running shoes I've ever worn,” says one tester. “My feet felt grounded and stable with the deep and secure heel pocket, arch support, and bands on the side of the foot that snug the fit when you tie the laces.” Stability and all-day, cushiony comfort make it a good fit for everything from trail running and hiking to adventure racing. $155; 1 lb. 5 oz.;

Montrail Badwater

Named for the brutal 135-mile race from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, the Badwater is a comfortable and highly breathable hybrid road and trail runner for training and adventures of any speed and distance. Over nearly 100 miles of Oregon asphalt and singletrack, our tester reports that the resilient EVA foam and deflecting lugs on the outsole provide the durability and cushioning needed for any hard surfaces, while multi-directional lugs grip trails’ uneven roots and scree. $120; 1 lb. 3 oz.;