Vasque Aether Tech Trail Runners

Freedom of the Hills

    Photo: Ryan Heffernan

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1. With its fully gusseted tongue and a smooth sock liner, the Aether Tech just fits great. The easy-to-adjust Boa Lacing System provides a uniform snugness all around the foot—no pinching or pressure points. The foot-sculpting midsole is made from just the right amount of soft, single-density foam to provide the ideal blend of cushioning and rock-hopping agility.

2. Solid rock, loose gravel, mixed scree, wet logs—it didn't matter. On every sort of trail, we found the multi­directional lugs were up to the challenge, without collecting pebbles or cramping the shoe's nimble handling or flexibility. It can also handle the heat: The tightly woven upper efficiently wicked away sweat, even during 90-degree runs in Moab.

3. Though light enough for fire-road tempo runs or extended climbs, the Aether Tech doesn't skimp on protection. Supple plastic sidewall reinforcements protect the breathable mesh upper from scrapes, while the toe is shielded with a soft yet stub-proof rubber toe cap. Quick fit tip: Our narrow-footed testers found the heel cup a touch wide.

12.2 oz; $115 vasque.com

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