Meet the top performance kicks of spring.
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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
Vasque JuxtVasque 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
Keen Austin PedalKeen 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
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
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
Rockport HydroplexRockport 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