The TC Pro is the best shoe for big walls and cracks, hands down. “The toe box is pointier than a lot of trad shoes, so it not only fits into small splitters but also holds onto some overhung features, making it uniquely versatile,” wrote our testers. (20 percent off with the code 20CLIMBSALE)
Need Go-To Casual Sandals? Start with Our Favorites
In our Gear Guy’s test of the best men’s flip flops, he highlighted the Nohona Ulana’s classy vibe: “You could almost wear a pair in the office on a casual summer Friday,” he wrote. “On flat ground, the supple leather toe post and subtly contoured footbed made for the second most comfortable flip on this list.”
Outside columnist Jakob Schiller loves his Lowdown Flips because of their durability and comfort: “I’ve probably put over 400 miles on them,” he wrote. “Now the footbeds bear an imprint of my toes, the soles are slightly worn down, and the webbing is filthy. But they aren’t showing any signs of falling apart.”
Keen makes some of the most comfortable sandals we’ve tested and the Astoria West is no exception. While we wouldn’t wear these for thru-hiking, we like them as a daily driver and for casual day hikes. The grippy rubber sole kept us confident on wet rock. “Perfect for river hangouts,” one tester said.
For those who like the freedom of flip-flops but need more orthopedic support, these are the shoes for you. The sandals got top marks in our 2019 Summer Buyer’s Guide for their cushioned, shock-absorbent footbed and deep heel cup. The uppers use recycled PET webbing that’s both stylish and comfortable.
The Kona Flip-Flops are the perfect do-it-all summer sandal. The EVA-molded footbed gives comfort and structure while the outsole has high-traction reliability. In our review of summer flip flops last year, our tester especially liked “the fuller coverage of the poly webbing” and antimicrobial treatment.
Our testers put the Z/Cloud X sandals through the paces and came away impressed. One wrote: “l’ve hiked for miles on end in them, from rocky scrambles in Grand Teton National Park to ruins in the ancient city of Petra, Jordan, and dusty, steep hills along other parts of the Jordan Trail.”
We gave this jacket a Gear of the Year award in 2017. “Think of it as a Nano-Air on steroids: a stretchy, waterproof-breathable fabric wraps the synthetic fill, while the interior is made from the same plush liner as the original. Add pit zips and you have a bombproof jacket that wears and breathes like a sweatshirt,” wrote our tester.
The Storm is a perfect example of how far headlamps have come. It’s moderately priced but pumps out 370 lumens from a proximity beam—ideal for working in close quarters or as a spotlight when you’re on the trail. We really like the battery meter, which shows how much juice you have left in your AAAs. Oh, and it’s fully waterproof.
“The MIPS liner is separate from the shell, allowing the helmet to rotate, which can reduce the chance of a concussion in the event of an angled impact,” wrote our Buyer’s Guide tester. “We didn’t go out of our way to take a header, but we were able to confirm that the Wall Rider vents well for the coverage it provides.”
We included this rope in our roundup of the best gym climbing gear of 2020. “The Gym Cuts offers Trango’s trademark light weight and durability, but in 30- and 40-meter lengths—perfect for indoor lead walls. No more dragging a full-length rope across the pads,” wrote tester Jenny Earnest.
We have yet to find a better starter climbing kit at this price. Mad Rock’s package has the all the essentials for a session at the climbing gym or crag: an adjustable harness with four gear loops, a chalk ball, chalk bag, Wingman belay device, and a locking carabiner.
Our Gear Guy tested five lightweight soft shells, and the Keele was his favorite. “I was most impressed with how [it] almost completely repelled water during the shower test, leaving very little moisture on the interior after 30 seconds,” he wrote. This is the jacket you should grab for chilly runs.
The First Light’s stretchy face fabric adds durability and breathability while a DWR treatment repels water, dirt, and oil. Testers like what’s inside: PrimaLoft Silver synthetic insulation provides consistent warmth, even through the start and stop cycle of alpine climbing and backcountry skiing. When the snow begins to fall, pull the adjustable hood over your helmet for extra weather protection.
Contributor Jakob Schiller included these pants in his holiday style guide. Schiller found the slim fit flattering and said the spandex-cotton blend “means they’re great on the bike if you commute to work.” They’re also stylish enough to wear at both the office and dinner parties.
These rock rings are a solid budget option for training at home. In our roundup of the best fitness accessories of 2018, we wrote, “These portable climbing holds take [pull-ups] to the next level, turning the standard move into a feat of grip strength.” (20 percent off with the code 20CLIMBSALE)