Solid Footing

Meet the top performance kicks of spring.

Rain Walker
Editors' Choice
Put a hiking boot on a strict diet and you'll get something like the FC Eco 2.0 GTX, from La Sportiva. Though lightweight and low-cut, it feels as sturdy as a backpacking clomper: The stiff Vibram sole (30 percent scrap rubber) is perfect for sharp scree and rock scrambling, and the upper—Gore-Tex-lined waterproof nubuck leather and recycled nylon—stood up to both muck and rough-trail abrasion. 16.8 oz; $140; sportiva.com

Comfort King

Vasque Juxt

Vasque Juxt

Part suede hiking shoe, part nimble trail runner, Vasque's hyper-comfortable Juxt quickly became our go-to option for light-duty day trips. The supple leather provides great durability, the densely woven laces deliver climbing-shoe-like control, and the water-resistant coating shrugged off downpours and shallow creek crossings without requiring a steamy waterproof liner. 13.3 oz; $90; vasque.com

Business Rider

Keen Austin Pedal

Keen Austin Pedal

Keen's Austin Pedal looks like an oxford-style casual shoe—until you turn it over. Recessed in the sole is a bike-pedal cleat (SPD-compatible) that lets you go from commute to conference call without switching out of your riding shoes. We also loved the waterproof leather upper, moisture-wicking lining for humid rides, and scuff-proof rubber toecap. 19 oz; $120; keenfootwear.com

Canyoneer

Merrell Navigator Sport
Merrell Navigator Sport (Photograph by Inga Hendrickson)

Wade through pools. Scramble up sandstone. Repeat. Because it's mostly mesh, the Merrell Navigator Sport is perfect for wet-again, dry-again adventures, letting out moisture as soon as it gets in, while keeping your feet cool in hot desert climes. It's lightweight but impressively durable and grippy, with a tough rubber toecap and knobby tread with grape-size lugs. 11.5 oz; $110; merrell.com

River Keeper

Teva Itunda
Teva Itunda (Photograph by Inga Hendrickson)

It's not a shoe; it's a shandal! Teva's Itunda wraps your foot with enough protection to walk confidently in murky shallows, features a sticky proprietary tread for slimy rocks, and is secure enough—with the comfortably padded buckle strap—to not be sucked off by strong current. 12.6 oz; $100; teva.com

Deckhand

Rockport Hydroplex

Rockport Hydroplex

The nonmarking sole on Rockport's Hydroplex sticks like a barnacle to a wet boat deck, but that's not the only reason we loved it. On hot days, the huge vents on this breathable, quick-drying mesh sneaker made it feel more like a sandal, while the colorful band of full-grain leather adds yachtie style and full-shoe protection to the upper. 10.6 oz; $90; rockport.com

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