How do you improve one of the grippiest, most durable, most supportive sandals out there? Make it even more grippy, durable, and supportive. That’s what Chaco has done with the Pro, and if you want an open-air hiker, this is it. In collaboration with Vibram, Chaco developed a new rubber formula with less elasticity. The result: a sole that bites into micro nooks and crannies underfoot—in and out of water—almost as well as a climbing shoe, and is even more durable than previous models.
And a polyurethane midsole gives the sandal the underfoot feel of a light hiker that has exceptional arch support. On New Zealand’s Inland Pack Track, one tester reported that it had more support and better traction than the lightweight boots he left at home. "And I didn’t have to take off shoes and socks at each of the 22 river crossings," he says. “It held even on underwater boulders when I was getting pushed off balance by the current."
Desert hikers also loved the Pro, since there’s no upper to trap sand and dirt (but keep an eye out for thorns). It comes in two models: Z/1 (no toe strap) and Z/2 (pictured). $105; 2 lbs.; m’s 7-15, w’s 5-12Volt
Wolverine’s trail runner, the Volt, partners athletic design and premium materials to create a shoe ready to run. The incredibly lightweight combination of nubuck leather and mesh is combined with a durable Breathe Right™ mesh lining and mesh footbed, helping to provide increased air circulation. A removable full-cushion OrthoLite® footbed wicks moisture away from the feet, improving breathability along with providing anti-microbial properties to help reduce odor. The Volt’s Vibram® rubber outsole, toe bumper and bumper on the shoe’s backstay all help to improve footing and traction on the uneven surfaces of the trail. Available in mushroom/yellow.
Sizes: M 7-12, 13, 14; EW 7-12, 13