Helly Hansen Vanir Gallivant HT

Best traction

Our take Wet grass and slick, muddy slopes were no match for Helly Hansen’s cleat-like rubber outsole. Five-millimeter lugs grab at the heel, throughout the gait, and on the toe-off; they’re also set at different angles rather than a flat plane, ensuring grip on almost any terrain. “I tackled an 800-vertical-foot incline in less than a mile on a drizzly day with rivulets running downhill and these kicks never slipped,” said one tester after a quick jaunt up to the Lake of the Clouds lookout on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

The details Tri-density EVA—less common than the usual dual-density EVA construction—creates a threefold effect: cushioning in the heel for impact, harder grade in the midfoot for support, and rebound EVA in the forefoot for a responsive stride. A TPU shank sits underneath the arch to provide support for dayhiking loads and to prolong the life of the midsole, but it feels flexy under a multiday pack, making one tester wish for a stiffer platform.

Trail cred “These feel more like tennis shoes than hiking boots, comfort-wise,” said our tester after an 11-mile day in Michigan’s Porcupine Mountains. “They helped stave off foot fatigue.”