La Sportiva's heritage is in climbing shoes and mountaineering boots, and you can see the alpine influence in nearly every aspect of the Fireblade: the impeccable fit, the sticky rubber outsole, the double-stitched seams on high-wear areas of the upper, the reinforced toe bumper and sides. It all adds up: These are the kicks you want if your run (or, um, fast hike) often ends with some scrambling. It's one of the few shoes that our most agile testers rated highly on both rugged and nontechnical trails, which is a credit to its thin but sufficient cushioning and minimalist, low-to-the-ground feel. 12.2 oz; lasportiva.comBonus: A stretchy mesh tongue guard repels dirt, pebbles, and trail debris.Bummer: Sportiva's climbing pedigree appears in the fit as well; wide-footed testers found the toe box too narrow.
DO YOUR RUNS BECOME CLIMBS?