We featured these slippers in our 2017 Summer Buyer’s Guide. The braided and tanned water buffalo upper stays true to its heritage roots in India, but the goat-leather lining and natural rubber outsole deliver a much needed dose of modern comfort: “The City molded to our feet for a truly custom fit,” our tester wrote.
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.”
In our 2019 Summer Buyer’s Guide, these were our favorite all-mountain chargers. “The toothy Vibram Megagrip lugs offer killer traction, and that surefootedness, combined with massive Hoka cush, inspires confidence on technical terrain,” we wrote. The third version of the shoe has an updated tongue and a heartier toe bumper.
Our Gear Guy crowned the Workman Mid Comp Toe the best mud boot in his test. “The flexible footbed, coupled with a hugging heel cup, kept the Workman Mid absolutely snug on my foot while climbing the muddy hill,” he wrote. “And they never let a drop of water in as I splashed in a soaked and unruly bamboo patch.”
In 2018, we called this shell “the holy grail of waterproof jackets.” “It feels softer than a soft shell but as waterproof as any hard shell I’ve used,” one tester wrote. If you want a jacket that covers all the bases with weatherproofing, breathability, and stretch, look no further than the Interstellar.
We reviewed this rain jacket in our 2017 Summer Buyer’s Guide. “The exterior nylon is tough, wind-resistant, and stretchy, while the interior is lined with a buttery knit that adds warmth for alpine starts and windy ridge walks,” we wrote. The lining does make the jacket less breathable, so it’s best for slower paced activities.
This is our Gear Guy’s insulated water bottle of choice. In 2013, he did a full test of the entire Hydro Flask quiver, measuring their durability and how long they kept liquids hot and cold. He wrote, “I highly suggest buying a Hydro Flask as your insulated, everyday water bottle.”
The Rendezvous is rated as one of the best camp chairs on Amazon. One reviewer praised the chair for its simple design: "[It's] incredibly sturdy, and there is no need for a cup holder since you are so low to the ground."
At long last, the holy grail of waterproof jackets. The Interstellar blew our crew away with an uncanny mix of weatherproofing, breathability, and stretch. “It feels softer than a soft shell but as waterproof as any hard shell I’ve used,” said one tester. “Not to mention that it’s the most breathable rain shell imaginable.”
Outside tester Andrew Skurka wrote a long-term review of the UberLite and found it ideal for three-season conditions. This pad is as comfortable as the NeoAir XLite, but cuts down weight by 3.2 ounces and isn’t as noisy when moving around. Plus, its insulation is warm enough for temperatures down to 30 degrees.
Our testers included this sack in our Buyer’s Guide roundup of the best summer sleeping bags. It’s a resurrection of Yvon Chouinard’s two-way center zip design, but with modern refinements. “Stitches puncture the outer or inner fabric, not both, keeping down and heat in,” we wrote. It’s best for “taking up peaks and down trails.”
Nearly every guy in the Outside office has a pair of Stretch Zions. That’s because they’re supremely comfortable (way superior to jeans) and the DWR-treated nylon-Spandex fabric makes them a solid choice for hiking and climbing.