IN THE STORE An appeal from the editors: Demand footwear color options other than moss, slate, or mud. Retailers don't think anything else will sellunless you tell them other-wise. Pitch the wimpy insoles that come with your hikers, and shell out the $20 or so for more-supportive footbeds, like those made by Superfeet or Shock Doctor. Without insoles to help stabilize your feet, you could roll an ankle in even the techiest hikers.
IN THE FIELD Mom was wrongyou shouldn't tie your laces in the center of the shoe. Cranked laces can cause major discomfort on your "dorsal ridge," where the top of the foot meets the ankle. To relieve pressure on this sensitive area, tie your laces toward the outside of the shoe.
IN THE FUTURE Hydraulics aren't just for your lowrider. Adidas has already developed microprocessor-embedded, full-suspension soles for road kicks, and it may be just a matter of time before the companyand otherstakes the technology off-trail. Bring on the green: At least 39 percent of the rubber in Vibram's new Ecostep soles is made from recycled scraps off the cutting-room floor. Watch for these secondhand treads to show up in light hikers by next year.