Fast and light meets cushioned and stable in this category-bending hybrid. After Alps days that included long trail miles, snow-covered passes, and pavement pounding getting in and out of villages, one tester said, “They never felt out of place.” Three things elevate this shoe above a beefed-up sneaker.
1) Fit: A medium-volume heel pocket combined with a low-volume midfoot enhances stability on rough surfaces, and an asymmetrical, high-volume forefoot allows for foot swell.
2) Stiff synthetic bands buttress the high ankle shaft and anchor at the lace points, bolstering stability.
3) Excellent arch support let us put in 15-hour days with 50-pound packs—with no excessive foot fatigue. Other features are equally dialed. EVA cushion makes for a pillow-soft heel strike, a Gore-Tex liner ensures waterproofing, and the low-profile tread grips well on all surfaces.
Caveat: The priority here is flex. A half-length thermoplastic “chassis” provides rear-foot support, but some hikers may want more rigid protection under the forefoot. $200; 2 lbs. 4 oz. (9); men’s 7-13, 14; salomon.comSpecifically designed to fit women explorers, this lightweight, low-profile, light hiking shoe features a waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex®
membrane and an aggressive, grippy Vibram® rubber outsole. UPPER/ Gore-Tex® Extended Comfort Range waterproof breathable membrane
/ Combination BLC compliant nubuck and suede leather upper / Abrasion-resistant and breathable textile mesh / Gusseted tongue
provides protection from unwanted debris / Tec Tuff high abrasion protective toe and heel cap / Northotic ergonomically designed footbed
BOTTOM/ Heal Cradle technology encompassing a dual-density EVA midsole with a compression-molded EVA X-2 heel insert / ESS shank
for midfoot stability encompassing Snake Plate forefoot push-through protection technology / Secondary midfoot nylon shank for additional
support / Exclusive, lightweight women-specific Vibram® rubber outsole