BEST FOR: Alpine climbing.
THE TEST: Vibram outsole with a dedicated climbing zone? Check. Rough-and-tumble nylon-mesh upper? You bet. Climbing-shoe lacing and narrow toe box? Done and done. Our tester took the waterproof-breathable Firetail GTX up to the Grand Teton’s high camp in Wyoming without feeling so much as a hot spot on the way. He expected a comfortable hike, but what he didn’t expect was to leave his climbing shoes behind for a summit push that involved 5.8-rated pitches.
THE VERDICT: It’s probably too overbuilt—and too stiff—to serve as most people’s everyday hiking shoe, but it blows away the competition on technical terrain. 14.4 oz.