The rule of footwear: More protection and support equals more weight. Good thing rules are meant to be broken, because the XT Wings 3 shatters that one to bits, offering mega-security in a svelte package. With a TPU toecap, three densities of EVA in the midsole, a TPU-reinforced heel and midfoot, and excellent arch support, the shoes proved ample enough for an evening trail race series, where our tester slammed his feet repeatedly on roots and rocks hidden on the pitch-black, sinewy Wildwood Trail in Portland, Oregon’s Forest Park. “Finishing with happy feet after all those hard impacts sold me on the Salomons,” he says. “And despite running nearly blind with a failing headlamp, the supportive heel and midfoot kept me stable.” Credit a wide-profile midsole that flares out toward the ground, and a stable, substantial sole (20 mm in the heel, 9.5 mm in the forefoot). Densely woven nylon mesh uppers are lined with polyester and overlaid with thin, soft TPU panels and a stretchy mesh layer covering the tongue.
These materials offer a potent combination of high breathability and superior protection from trail debris. Minimal interior seams, a cushioned tongue, and a sock-like fit felt comfortable on 16-mile runs. Salomon’s speed lacing (a skinny, cord-like lace that cinches tight with a slider lock) made the Wings nearly effortless to get on and off, despite the lack of a heel loop. Best for narrow- to medium-volume feet.$140; 1 lb. 9 oz.; m’s 7-14, w’s 5-12; salomon.com
Zamberlan's first PCS (professional crampon system) compatible backpacking boot available in the USA, the 1010 Vajolet GT RR is designed to provide the wearer with maximum flexibility and capability for using crampons in extreme conditions. The Vajolet features a Gore-Tex Performance Comfort liner, a custom and specific Zamberlan RRS (rubber rand system), and Zamberlan's PCS PU heel pocket for semi-automatic crampon capability. The new and exclusive Zamberlan Vibram NorWalk sole is made from dual-density PU for durability and lightweight performance, maximum grip, and a toe climbing zone. Available in Aloe/Grey. Hand-crafted in Italy.