BEST FOR: Scrambling and alpine climbing. THE TEST: Born out of the Italian discipline of via ferrata—climbing routes equipped with cables and ladders—the MTN Trainer is at its best on actual rock. The heavy-duty suede was plenty protective in scree fields, and the full-wrap rand even allowed for passable toe jamming. The combination of a stiff midsole (some will find it too firm for everyday trail use), laces that run clear down the toe box (to ensure a tight fit), and the crisp corner of the sticky Vibram sole (front lugs are recessed) makes for great support and edging on micro-lips and fins of rock. THE VERDICT: Deft enough to tempt adventure climbers away from bringing rock shoes on semitechnical routes. 1 lb
Much like a climbing shoe with a "slingshot" heel rand, the MTN Trainer and Beartooth keep your foot from slipping inside the shoe with bands on both sides of the foot that pull the laces and your instep down and back toward the shoe's heel.