Fast and Light
If you're looking for speedy comfort on dayhikes and light overnights, the Axis will help you fly. Its mostly mesh sides breathed better than any other shoe in our test, yet the tight knit kept debris out–even fine, volcanic sand on an Icelandic beach. A stiff heel cup and suede exoskeleton kept testers' feet stable, while two layers of extra-springy EVA foam provided ample cushion on hard-packed dirt trails. The Axis got high marks for traction in all conditions, and testers praised the sharply angled heel tread for steep descents (it's like disc brakes for boots). For all those attributes, testers dubbed this "the most agile shoe" in the test. And despite its low weight and nimble feel, the durable suede, mesh, and rubber held up well. But the partial shank didn't protect our forefeet against bruising; testers complained of sore dogs when they hiked on rocky Vermont trails with packs heavier than 20 pounds.
Best for: narrow to medium, low-volume feet.
Sizes men's 6-13, 14; women's 5.5-11
Weight 1 lb. 11 oz.