Merrell also makes a shoe called the Mesa Ventilator II ($75). It has uppers with extensive mesh for added breathability, which might be something that youll appreciate in northeastern Africa.
Montrails Vitesse II ($85; www.montrail.com) is another solid choice. These are very tough, proven trail-runners that have been on the market for several years and have been put to the test by Montrail team runners on ultramarathons. Synthetic mesh and nylon uppers breathe well, and cushy midsoles keep your feet comfortable. I also like Five Tens Guide Tennie ($89; www.fiveten.com), which have a lot of rock-shoe features packaged in a comfortable, tough approach shoe. They would do just fine in northeastern Africa.
Whatever you buy, my advice is to get two pairs. These are all sturdy, well-made shoes, but Id be surprised if any holds up to daily use in the sort of conditions youre apt to encounter. But maybe they will. Send us a picture of the shoes after your trip!
The votes are in: Check out the winners of Outside's 2006 Gear of the Year awards, including the year's hottest trail-runners.