[best for scrambling]
If you think trails are just on-ramps for rocks, these are your shoes. “Their sticky rubber made me feel like I was shooting webs on the stone when I scrambled up to—and then climbed—a 5.7 pitch without changing shoes,” says one tester. Shallow (about 1 mm), broad, circular lugs dot the low-profile sole and maximize grip and ground contact for superior smearing and stable off-camber traction. A firm EVA midsole and PU arch-support protect the bottoms of feet, while torsional and longitudinal stiffness allow for off-trail scrambling on loose rock with loads up to 30 pounds. “I loved these for light-duty backpacking trips that had peakbagging in the itinerary,” says one tester.
Another tester, who wore them in 90°F heat at Oregon’s Smith Rock State Park, adds, “The mesh panels on the sides and forefoot area let them breathe during long days on hot rock.” Two loops on each heel let you pull them on easily and strap them securely to a pack. Fit check: They run a half size small. $120; 1 lb. 9 oz.; m’s 7-13; fiveten.com