For big loads and steep, off-trail terrain, I want solid support and stability without excess weight. The Terek delivers, thanks to the midsole’s relatively light combination of molded EVA (for cushion) and full-length polyurethane shank (for rigidity). I sported these high-cuts all over the West, from light-load dayhikes in Yosemite to difficult treks, like a six-day bushwhack around Mt. Shasta with a 60-pound pack. The boots weren’t too heavy or clunky for the former, nor too light or flexy for the latter.
The eight-hook lace system and tongue hooks enhanced all-day comfort, as I could cinch the uppers snug without causing too much friction in any spot. The split-leather and Cordura upper and full rubber rand stood up to abrasion on Sierra granite, and the Gore-Tex liner kept my feet dry during a soggy-snow trek up Yosemite’s Cloud’s Rest. Bonus: Break-in time was negligible because of the excellent out-of-the-box fit (ideal for my wide feet). $260; 2 lbs. 10 oz. (w’s 8.5); m’s 7-14, w’s 5.5-10.5; lowaboots.com.
Vasque Transistor FS trail shoe, utilizes a patent-pending system, Foot Sync that simultaneously synchronizes the anatomy of a dynamic foot and the uneven, constantly changing running surface.
It starts with the revolutionary Immerse 360™ last. Whereas typical lasts are contoured on the top and flat on the bottom for ease in manufacturing, the Immerse 360 last matches the contours of the entire foot—360 degrees across the top and bottom. The Immerse 360 last is a huge breakthrough in fit technology, putting equal emphasis on the bottom of the foot, the place that takes the most impact from the terrain. It also eliminates the need for a separate footbed.
Molded from the last, the Waveform S/C™ midsole has a matching contoured surface that mirrors the foot’s overall shape with constant support that doesn’t diminish over time.
Layered on top of the midsole, the shape-shifting Flux Foam™ strobel customizes fit and constantly adjusts to foot shape. Together, Waveform S/C and Flux Foam fully cradle the foot for ultimate enlightened fit.
To neutralize the chaos of wildly varying terrain, every FootSync shoe includes a Synapse outsole. Using special outsole heel geometry, including a combination of rounded edges and tapered lugs, the Synapse conforms to uneven ground and hard impact angles instead of revolting against them. And it does so while maintaining lateral stability underfoot.