Gear Guide 2012: Vasque Velocity 2.0 Shoe

With cushion and rough-trail protection, these shoes can take on any terrain.

[doubles as a hiker]

“These shoes can really multitask,” says one tester who wore them both trail running and dayhiking in the foothills around Boulder, Colorado. He and others found the 2.0 not only supportive during 10-mile, rocky trail runs at Rabbit Mountain and the Sanitas Trail near Boulder, but also when hiking trails in northern Arizona’s San Francisco Peaks with 15-pound loads. Credit the combo of cushion and rough-trail protection.

The compression-molded EVA* foam midsole is one inch thick under the heel and tapers down to a half inch under the toes to absorb impact during foot strike. A rigid TPU plastic plate under the arch offers good support and guards against bruising on rugged terrain. The outsole has deep, multi-directional lugs that provided “tons of stability” and traction on gravel and wet, slippery rock. However, one tester who slogged through deep mud on Rabbit Mountain complained that the big lugs collected muck.

A stiff rubber bumper protects the toe and extends around the sides and back of the shoe to shield against sharp rocks. Testers also appreciated the breathable mesh upper, which dried so quickly on a rainy run around Portland’s Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge that one tester mistakenly thought the 2.0 had a waterproof liner. (The pictured Gore-Tex version is $150.) $120; 1 lb. 11 oz.; m’s 7-15, w’s 5-11;

*EVA An airy foam rubber with great cushion; it eventually compresses—retire EVA shoes every 300-500 miles—and is best paired with a denser material like PU for durability