Though it's not billed as a trail runner, the Kota is constructed on a running-shoe last, and it shows. Racing to beat sunset, I sped down north Georgia's Hemp Top Trail in these shoes and reached the car with no foot fatigue. Underfoot, the cleatlike tread bites the ground, while an EVA midsole offers plenty of cushioning for light-load hiking. The upper's supple leather flexes like a gymnast, adding to the Kota's go-fast vibe. Padding in the cuff and tongue cushions impact on steep descents. www.vasque.comBonus: Padding in the cuff and tongue cushions impact on steep descents.Bummer: The lugs on the edge of the outsole are made with soft rubber that wears quickly.
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