BEST FOR: Long runs in the hills.
THE TEST: Return of the champ! This shoe is so similar to Sportiva’s acclaimed Vertical K from last year that a tester wore one of each at the same time and could barely tell the difference. Sportiva took the flexy, wavy midsole of the Vertical K and paired it with a new upper—ditching the integrated gaiter and giving you access to the laces all the way down for better micromanagement of the fit. The vibe is still very low and natural, and the outsole’s fat foam ridges provide a fair bit of cushion without feeling soft or disconnected from the ground.
THE VERDICT: Our favorite shoe for guys with consistent, midfoot-striking form who want a really natural-feeling, slipper-like fit without getting all caveman about it. 8.1 oz; 4 mm drop