Tie One On

When the day's action is full of surprises, take it all in stride with these versatile shoes

Jul 25, 2007
Outside Magazine
Tie One On

Why It's Cool: Get an approach shoe that can go vertical. The secret is in the outsole—an array of aggressive lugs, midfoot smearing patches, and toe-side edging platforms that adhere to all types of terrain. In Squamish, British Columbia, we were able to make it up 5.8 routes without changing into rock shoes. Before You Buy: The leather upper is tough, but there's not much ventilation on hot days. $115; scarpa.com

Keen Truckee
Why It's Cool: It's a one-shoe quiver for your next vacation. Thanks to a lightweight nylon forefoot-protection plate and a dual-density midsole that provides cushioning and stability, it's got the chops for real trail work. But unlike other worthy models, the Truckee's durable leather uppers have a low-key look that doesn't scream "Hiker coming!" the minute you step off the trail. Before You Buy: Fit favors the wide-footed. $90; keenfootwear.com

Garmont Nagevi XCR
Why It's Cool: Take the sting out of long days with this precise-fitting shoe. The waterproof Nagevi is built on an anatomical last, and asymmetrical, to-the-toe lacing and midfoot stabilization straps add to the performance. The result is amazing feel for the terrain with great support—and zero clunk factor. Before You Buy: Check fit; the last won't work for every foot shape. $110; garmontusa.com

Patagonia Drifter GTX
Why It's Cool: It's not the first green shoe, but it's one of the best. The Drifter's all-leather upper comes from enviro-forward tanneries, the Vibram Ecostep outsole is made with 30 percent recycled rubber, and the Capilene lining and some of the midsole are made of recycled materials. The eco-tread provided wicked traction in mud, loose dirt, and even late-season snow. Before You Buy: Get the nonwaterproof version ($110) for warm weather. $130; patagonia.com

Adidas AdiZero XT
Why It's Cool: At ten ounces per shoe, the AdiZero is the lightest kick we tested. It's also one of the coolest on hot summer days, thanks to the breathable mesh upper. And while it's embedded with trail-running DNA, the wide forefoot and deep lugs help it excel as a fast-and-light all-day hiker. Before You Buy: Choose a more durable upper if you like to thrash around sharp, rocky terrain. $80; adidas.com

Salomon Trail Pro 2
Why It's Cool: Most trail runners this fast are too flimsy for anything but well-groomed paths, but the Trail Pro's wraparound toe protection easily handles obstacle-strewn trails. The one-pull lacing system—Salomon has this feature dialed—integrates with the midfoot cage to lock your foot in place for superior stability on any surface. Before You Buy: The slim forefoot may be too restricting for some runners, especially on longer outings. $110; salomonsports.com

Merrell Moab Ventilator
Why It's Cool: Meet theversatility champ. The mesh-and-leather upper is breathable enough to wear on the hottest summer hike, but strategically placed leather prevents snagging or tearing when you're bushwhacking. Underfoot, the outsole is aggressively lugged yet low-profile, so it has great traction and also makes good contact with a bike pedal or longboard deck. Plus it's flexy enough for short runs. Before You Buy: Is the technical style your style? $75; merrellboot.com

Asolo Shadow
Why It's Cool: You get sure-footed performance from an agile low-cut crammed full of technology. The sole package conceals a bevy of stiffeners and stabilizers that deliver security on tricky alpine terrain (remove the insole and you can actually see the midsole's complex construction), plus the cushioning and flex are customized according to gender and shoe size. Before You Buy: The leather upper is tough, but the toe, without a rubber cap, will show wear. $95; asolo.com

Filed To: Hiking Shoes

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