[warm and light]
Pull on these ultralight, cold-weather speed hikers and you’ll be off and running before your hiking partner gets his laces tied. These lightly insulated (PrimaLoft Sport) shoes have a burly softshell upper that is much like the jacket on your back. They’re water-resistant (not fully waterproof) with a stretchy, foot-forming fit and excellent breathability. Testers found them comfortable over a wide range of temperatures and activities, from dayhiking on snow in the Mt. Adams Wilderness with temps in the 20s to trail running around LaCamas Lake in Washington with temps up to 70°F.
The Softshell’s tongue is attached to one side of the upper, but open (no gusset) on the other side for easy entry. Speed lacing (no knotting, just pull and cinch the cordlock) and a wide hook-and-loop strap at the ankle make it easy to achieve a snug fit even when wearing gloves. “These aren’t for stomping through deep puddles—anything deeper than three inches and water can get in the tongue opening,” says one Washington tester. “But the Softshell is great for cold and wet runs, light snow, and snowshoeing.” A TPU ridge on the back of the heel keeps snowshoe straps from sliding down. Traction is good on all surfaces except wet rock. Bonus: At less than two pounds per pair, the Softshells are crazy light for an insulated shoe. $150; 1 lb. 14 oz.; m’s 6-14; adidas.com/outdoor