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SPEEDY HYBRIDVector charts a course that’s swift, stable, and true. The reason? Hi-Tec injected the shoe with a hypodermic needle full of running-shoe DNA—it’s very flexible and weighs only 13 ounces. But like a heavy-duty hiking boot, the Vector proved surpris-ingly water-resistant. Bonus: A closed-mesh upper and tongue let my…

The fuel miser: It's freezing and the wind's howling—a perfect time to fire up the Reactor, which has a completely enclosed, windproof burner. The integrated pot/burner system puts the Reactor in a class by itself: It's compact, incredibly fuel-efficient, and boils a liter of water in a fast three minutes.

When the going gets tough, the tough tighten up their Enigmas. Like an up-armored light hiker, the Enigma has the body of a sneaker and a Vibram sole shaped for cruising, but it plows through mixed terrain like a Hummer. Rigid support won’t wilt under a heavy pack, and…

THE PERFECT TRAVEL HIKER We didn’t pick this shoe because it’s good-looking enough to wear to dinner. We picked it because it performs just as well as the other light hikers we chose and you won’t look like a dork walking around downtown later that evening. The mid-sole of the…

MUCK BUSTERStylewise, the most I can say about the Renegade is that, well, it won’t exactly upstage your Gap khakis. But performance is what counts, and, with a full-grain leather upper and a stiff, three-quarter shank planted beneath the polyurethane midsole, these sturdy mud-lovers hand a whuppin’ to slick roots,…

Deluxe two-burner: Are you a stealth car camper? Hide this stove in the trunk. The clamshell design is much more compact than traditional two-burner units yet unfolds into a sturdy, propane-burning stove that rivals your dad's old Coleman for performance. 4.5 lbs; coleman.com      …

Some low-cut shoes beg for mercy under the weight of a 40-pound pack. But the Passage Ventilator can bear a load, thanks to a muscled chassis that includes an injection-molded plastic plate in the midsole and a broad outsole that provides a stable platform for every step. Molded plastic…

LIGHT BUT SUPPORTIVE Take a closer look and you can see it: One solid, continuous piece of polyurethane forms the midsole and sidewall supports on the awkwardly named AL-T. Because fewer materials are needed to brace the shoe, it’s very light but still sturdy enough to wear on technical trails—or…

1. The Gore-Tex XCR–lined Sandstone has a strip of airy mesh along the tongue (where it can best release the foot’s heat) and leather/tightly woven mesh along the sides, where durability is key. The upshot: No sweaty feet or blisters—even after four back-to-back 12-mile days—and no blowouts. 2.

Ultimate versatility: The Stella+ is light enough for long-distance trips and stable enough for a big group (it'll hold a four-liter pot), plus the remote-canister design allows you to use it with an Outback Oven. Smart: The automatic-ignition switch is located far from the burner, where fingers won't get singed.

You wouldn’t expect Guinness to make anything but stout, and you shouldn’t expect Five Ten to make a shoe that can’t climb. The Prodigy has obvious rock-shoe features: sticky Stealth C4 rubber on the outsole and a profile that allows tight-quarters foot placement without pinching wide feet. The Prodigy…

LIKES IT ROUGH The Voyageur was one of several shoes that we sent to our most abusive tester. His take: They’re “as tough as beef jerky.” After several weeks of hiking, the upper’s sturdy leather hide, the rock-solid stitching, and the company’s trademark brawny toe bumper showed virtually no signs…

FIT FOR LONG DAYS Can your hiking shoes survive the airplane test? On a long journey, swollen, sweaty feet can drive you mad, but en route to Spain’s Canary Islands mine stayed cool and comfortable while I hustled through three airports and nearly 24 hours of nonstop travel. Credit plenty…

These wafer-thin socks rule for high-mileage jaunts in close-fitting shoes. With 69 percent merino, the fabric feels cool as cotton, while a dose of nylon hugs the arch like a second skin. smartwool.com…

Though it’s not billed as a trail runner, the Kota is constructed on a running-shoe last, and it shows. Racing to beat sunset, I sped down north Georgia’s Hemp Top Trail in these shoes and reached the car with no foot fatigue. Underfoot, the cleatlike tread bites the ground, while…

PREFERS TECHNICAL TRAILS The mashed-up name says it all: smear + edge = “smedge.” True to the equation, the Smedge is a serious approach shoe that won’t let you down when the trail gets vertical. Plastic overlays fortify the shoe’s mesh, so it won’t tear. And like a rock shoe,…

FOR HIKES THAT TURN INTO RUNS Speed freaks will love this runner/hiker hybrid, which Adidas dubs an adventure shoe—we just call it fast. A cushioned, flexy sole with running DNA is just the start. The upper, constructed of mostly wide-open mesh, kept our feet ventilated even on days that topped…

Don’t settle for socks that go flat. The X-Hale Trailhead has double loops of thread at the ball, heel, and ankle, so high-impact areas won’t get crushed by miles of impact. bridgedaleusa.com…

Testers didn’t want to take this shoe off, thanks to its blend of trail-worthy guts and low-key style. The sole’s balance of support and flexibility was perfect for speedy trail hiking. And while the rubber toe cap makes it look like other approach shoes, the Paso has a wider…

THE WETTER, THE BETTER Not surprisingly, sandal maker Chaco’s first-ever light hiking shoe excels in soggy conditions. As one of our testers shimmied down a waterfall drainage, he bloodied a knee, but, thanks to a full-coverage rubber rand, the Canyonlands escaped scratch-free. The low-profile outsole provided plenty of friction as…

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