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The waterproof, nubuck Snowmass was the easiest boot here to slip on, thanks to stretchy elastic side panels. It’s also warm; a combination of wool felt and space-blanket-like material in the footbed kept our feet toasty.

HARD CHARGER Textile wonks say the Velocity’s Schoeller NanoSphere fabric—which runs across the jacket’s shoulders and back—is inspired by the especially water-repellent leaf of the white lotus. How closely it resembles its natural cousin we can’t say, but the Velocity does shed water better than most soft shells. And because…

Why It’s CoolJake welded all the seams together, eliminating 26 feet of tape and a spool or so worth of thread. » This construction, along with the choice of fabric— Burton’s own Storm-Lite waterproof-breathable, which has a soft nylon outer shell—makes the Continuum Fuse noticeably more pliable than a sewn…

How good is the Stumpjumper FSR? One tester’s guy friend threatened to steal it and hock his own titanium hardtail on eBay. In short, this bike took best-in-show on technical singletrack. With a Shimano XT/XTR/LX drivetrain and Avid Juicy hydraulic brakes, Specialized spared no expense. You get almost five…

This luxe jacket has a mesh-lined back vent, three pockets, and an MP3 pouch. It’s heavy, but the wind- and water-resistant polyester fabric is breathable enough for a cool-weather run. 10.8 oz; brooksrunning.com…

EXCELS IN ALL CONDITIONS From paddling in Wisconsin to backpacking in New Mexico to skiing in British Columbia, the Stormlight was a tester favorite everywhere we took it, in wind, rain, and snow. The key is a smart blend of Gore-Tex’s most durable fabric (XCR) on the high-wear and high-motion…

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…

HARD CHARGER Consider this category-defying hybrid a soft storm shell. Waterproof-breathable eVent on the shoulders, arms, and hood keeps you dry, while the seam-taped and NanoSphere-treated Schoeller Dynamic soft shell breathes well and is incredibly water-resistant (and impervious to après beer and wine, which we also tested). Westcomb dared us…

These chunky numbers hark back to the Buddy Holly frames of the fifties, but they’re lighter than they look. And when you’re riding the trail, the side-vented photochromic lenses quickly adjust from bright to dark yellow, ensuring clarity in changing light conditions. specialized.com…

CAN TAKE A BEATING This past fall, we sent three Boulder-based climbers to Moab’s Castleton Tower with half a dozen soft shells to test. And after a week of shimmying up tight sandstone chimneys and off-widths, the stretchy Current emerged as the sturdiest and most waterproof of the bunch. The…

STYLE AND PERFORMANCE Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but our testers were unanimous: Thanks to its sleek design and refreshing lack of logos, the Shelter is the best-looking shell in the bunch. And, like nearly everything the eco-conscious, Portland, Oregon–based Nau makes, much of the Shelter…

TOWN AND COUNTRY Good for Backcountry Don’t worry, it’s also available in black and UPS brown. We were surprised that what looks like a soft-shell sweatshirt on acid could perform so well in nasty conditions. But this hoodie felt as at home riding the lifts on…

It’s a sandal or a shoe. Four large teardrop-shaped openings and 12 drain holes keep them free of water, and a slimmed-down quick-lace system holds them firm. Step on the heels to turn them into sporty clogs. newbalance.com…

Good for Backcountry No bell, whistle, or expense was spared in making this uninsulated jacket: Two-way pit zips. Padded cell-phone compartment. Seven pockets. Reinforced shoulders. Removable powder skirt with belt loops. A Recco avalanche reflector. The list goes on, and you might ask yourself: Do I really…

After a long day in overcranked ski boots—or at the beginning of a lazy, chilly morning—we slip into the faux-fur-lined OLR. They’re like wearing bunny slippers, except you can leave the house without getting high-fives from strangers. sanuk.com…

Stylish Jock Split the difference between performance eye gear and streetwear—and between too cheap and too pricey. There’s lots to like here for less than $100. Brown-tint poly lenses, by optics meister Zeiss, revealed detail and depth and were exactly as big and wrapped-back as they needed to be for…

No other helmet in its price range will fit you as well. Our testers loved the Sierra’s superb airflow, removable visor, and adjustable harness that snugs the helmet to your head, all at a killer price. specialized.com/women…

Strike a balance between cold weather and the heat you’ll be generating with RAPHA‘s CROSS 3/4 BIB SHORTS—long enough for cool temps but made of a thin, tough fabric.

This compression top is supposed to improve posture and make breathing easier. Does it? Hard to say, but most testers loved the snug and supportive fit for cool-weather running or skate-skiing. Hard-faced fabric makes it impressively windproof. TAGS: synthetic, supportive, trim-fitting…

Up top, the goal is moderate warmth in a tight-fitting piece that won’t snag, something like GORE BIKE WEAR‘s XENON THERMO JERSEY.

Elvis would approve. On snow or sea, slide on any Costa with the company’s top-of-the-line 580 polarized glass lenses and you’ll be amazed. Glare dies. Colors vibrate. Depth perception jumps. Silver mirroring, spring-loaded hinges, sticky rubber temples, and a gold scheme just sweeten the deal. costadelmar.com…

If you’ve got the game to sport the aggro look—especially the loud and proud orange frames—the Instinct won’t let you down. Julbo’s new Zebra photochromic proprietary resin lenses work magic in low light, pointing up detail and contrast so much that you’ll swear you’re wearing high beams. The wide,…

The HOT CHILLYS SALSA SEAMLESS CAMI is made of nylon infused with silver for antimicrobial protection. (800-468-2445, www.hotchillys.com)…

Everybody wins with this cotton button-up: Its gauze weave lets cool air in—and your stink out. www.hornytoad.com…

ROSE-COLOREDThe Rhino’s copper-tint, polarized lenses tune out optical noise to reveal a richer reality. From a hilltop in Calabasas, California, distant homes looked like close-up toys. The wondrous convergence of extreme clarity and dense, reddish tinting picks up detail in the worst glare-hells, even the sun-on-snow variety. Wear these plastic…

FLYWEIGHT Even in the hand, the Syluro appears to be screaming-fast, with not a milligram of unnecessary baggage. At just over an ounce, this svelte number weighs half as much as some shades here. And it still has beefed-up metal hinge pieces and super-strong ImpactX lenses (with material originally developed…

INSULATED CONVERTIBLE Need variable warmth for variable conditions? The two-in-one Apollo, with its removable vest, is your jacket. The vest, insulated with synthetic fill, adds plenty of core warmth, but it snaps in or out in just a few seconds and adds very little bulk, allowing the jacket to fit…

Hats with built-in speakers have been around for years, but a faux-shearling-lined plaid Bomber that also plays tunes? Who can resist? bulabula.com…

As comfy as slippers, these ultra-warm clogs can be worn with long underwear or slacks. The top-quality leather says dress shoe, but the thick, grippy outsole can take on the snow. bornshoes.com…

The perfect summerweight waterproof/breathable rain pants. So light (11 ounces) you’ll always pack them, they’re capable of fending off even the nastiest afternoon thunderstorm. groundwear.com…

Fluted bands across the knuckles + wool insulation that doesn’t bunch up = the best-fitting glove here. backcountry.com…

Because 20 percent of the 650-fill insulation is goose feather, rather than higher-quality down, this standard-issue puffy is incredibly affordable but still toasty in the low teens. Bonus: Waterproof-breathable Pertex fabric protects the sleeves and shoulders. 1.3 lbs; outdoorresearch.com…

Heading someplace warm? Tiny vents in the uppers and midsoles keep air circulating, making the lightweight Un.access the most breathable shoe we tested this year. clarksusa.com…

Good for Trail More nano than puff. This half-zip, one-pocket, and lightly insulated synthetic pullover is remarkably bulk-free, considering how warm it is. We loved it as a midlayer on cold days at the resort or as a light jacket on chilly fall outings. 10 oz;…

Form and Function The Ruston was the surprise hit of the test. For starters, Scott’s designers nailed the details on this highly water-resistant soft shell: The hood is top-notch, and there are good-sized pit zips. Even more impressive is that this jacket doesn’t scream “I’m wearing a super-techy soft shell!”…

A naysayer to the skort? This quick-dry, mostly polyester skirt (with built-in shorts) is so comfortable it will convince you otherwise. Its 13-inch inseam hit just the right spot on our thighs to be flattering, and the four-inch shorts didn’t move midrun (read: chafe-free). Plus, two internal pockets secure…

Stash this tissue-thin, rain-resistant polyester shell in your jersey. It’s three ounces with a pocket, vents, reflective stripes, and a micro-stuffsack. bontrager.com…

Luxury Comes Cheap Pata-Gucci? Not in this case. The Snowshot was one of the least expensive jackets in our test but also a tester favorite. Like the Cloudveil, it’s an ideal everyday, all-season jacket for Rocky Mountain resorts. It’s stuffed with the perfect amount of synthetic insulation. It’s waterproof. You…

The 100 percent merino-wool jersey knit in SMARTWOOL‘s moisture-wicking MICROWEIGHT TANK is so comfortable, you’ll likely have rolled out of bed in it.

I've been frustrated for years with "waterproof" jackets. The waterproofing invariably wears off after a year or so, especially if the jacket is worn in the sun. (I know, I shouldn't do that, but I'm a city guy who likes to wear one jacket all day - when it's raining and when it's not.) Hasn't some manufacturer solved the problem of "disappearing" waterproofing? Jack New York, NY

I'm starting to outfit for a trip to climb Denali via the West Buttress next year. My Julbo Nomad glacier glasses that I've used for years still work, but they've never fit well and always give me a headache. Additionally, since I wear prescription glasses, I would like to have a pair made with my script included. For five years, I've had great results with my Rudy Project cycling glasses that with photocromatic lenses. Reading your review of the Zyon Sailing glasses (noticing the removable side shields), I'm curious if I could have one eyeglass to replace them all? Would the Zyon photocromatic lens be dark enough for mountaineering? Or is a special hi-altitude lens required? I really don't want to have two pairs of custom prescription glasses made, especially if one is only going to be used during mountaineering. Joseph Washington, DC

As an active gal who prefers standing to sitting, running to walking, I dread packing for a trip. By the time I've taken into account the varying weather of my destination(s); the comfort factor when traveling long hours; the hiking and running and the occasional dressed up…

San Francisco software executive Charles Veley, 45, is the world's most traveled person.* Which means he cares about what goes on his feet.

What's the best backpack for a dog? The Editors Santa Fe, NM

Under Armour has become a brand most associated with football players and weight lifters, but they’re trying to expand their reach to active young women. Their first attempt had a “shrink it and pink it” conceit, which, not surprisingly, failed to woo the ladies.

What's the one item you never travel without? The Editors Santa Fe, NM

I'm doing the Tough Mudder in November and was wondering what shoes to wear? -Ben (Albany, NY)

By Stephen Regenold It looks like an old-school SLR camera wrapped inwaterproof housing. But the ATC9K All-Terrain HD Video Camera, a new productfrom Oregon Scientific of Tualatin, Ore., is an HD-recording, shock-resistantshooter that's waterproof up to 65 feet underwater. The $299.99…

I am looking for polarized sunglasses that are highly rated and are not expensive. Any ideas? -Jack Carmel, CA

By Stephen Regenold The marketing spiel does not mix words: Outside Labs Inc., a startupsunscreen maker in Gardena, Calif., touts its SCAPE product line as”the most advanced sunblock on the planet.” When the company came onto the market this spring, it intended to makea…

Researchers from the University of Portsmouth in England recently attached reflective markers to the breasts of a group of female runners to test whether breast movement altered running form, NYT reports.  Researchers had the women jog along the track while wearing several different bras, or none…

By Stephen Regenold On the hunt for a set of workout-ready earphones, I came across anunlikely candidate. The Wicked Little Buds, made by Empire Brands Inc.of Lindon, Utah, are touted as “noise-isolating earbuds that providean edgy look and great sound.” With…

Where you put your sunglasses when they're not on your face says more about you than which pair you choose to wear.

I'm looking to go all out on a really good hard shell to last me a long time. I'm thinking about the Arc'teryx Alpha SV. I want something that can handle every condition possible, but wonder if this jacket really only for the worst of the worst weather and any other time it'll be too much. Should I be looking at the Theta AR instead? I'm in Ireland, so no extreme weather really. Any other suggestions welcome. -Cillian Louth, Ireland

Finding the right pair of sunglasses can often be a tricky game of hit or miss, involving a blend of science, fashion and comfort. Below are five tips for finding the perfect shades. 1. UV Protection According to Dr. Kevin Beebe of the Brainerd Eye CareCenter, the…

What are the best office-friendly travel clothes? The Editors Santa Fe, New Mexico

A new study shows good luck charms–like baseball player Jason Giambi's lucky thong–can improve athletic performance, the New York Times reports. Researchers in the psych department at Germany's University of Cologne conducted a…

One week ago, digital storage company, LaCie, introducedwhat it calls “The World’s Most Adventurous USB Flash Drive.” To back up this claim,…

By Stephen Regenold This year, I took two watches around the world. On international trips from Iceland to Nepal, watches from Suunto and Timex served as ever-ready, wrist-mounted gauges. Time, weather, direction, heart rate, and altitude were among the read-outs on my…

I’m searching for a great multi-purpose backpack for graduate school. I'd like to use it while biking to carry my laptop, books, and some dog accessories. In addition, I'd love to be able to throw a bladder in there along with some hiking gear. Any suggestions for me as to what route to go for a super sweet new pack?—LizDenver, CO

Strong silent types.

I would like to find a pair of clipless cycling shoes that are suited for adventure cycling with conditions that demand you have to hike while carry the bike. I have some old Sidi shoes but they don’t do the job when walking. Suggestions?—TonyLima, Peru

Think fast: Name three personal items you can’t live without while on the road. Running shoes? iPod? Journal or camera? What makes the cut? How do you decide? I’m not suggesting the Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Ultrasoft Shell Jacket ($160) bump anything off your list. But…

By Stephen Regenold Marketed as “the Swiss Army knife of prescription eyewear,” Smith Optics' PivLock V90 glasses offer a new type of system for anyone in need of vision enhancement in the outdoors. In short, glasses wearers can purchase a prescription lens…

By Stephen Regenold In the running as the priciest underwear on the outdoor market, Ibex Outdoor Clothing touts its Balance Boxer Shorts as a body-mapped “second skin.” They cost $45 and are made of an itch-free wool that in my test did indeed take…

Meet the top performance kicks of spring.

This year, U.S. Soccer finally fields a team worthy of competing—and making a serious run—at the world's greatest tournament. Heard that one before? Presenting a few reasons June in South Africa could be a whole different story.

1. If there’s one thing you need, it’s a nice pair of bibs. Whether or not the contoured fit of Sugoi‘s RSE bibs ($200; sugoi.ca) helped lessen muscle fatigue, as advertised, was hard to gauge. But both the moisture-wicking interior and quick-drying chamois received rave reviews.

1. Zoic‘s Black Market ($69; zoic.com) quickly became our go-to shorts. The reasons: plenty of pockets, a loose but not baggy fit, and, most important, an inner short with a super-comfy chamois. Mountain biking apparel MTB style 2. Thanks to its street-smart style and semi-fitted…

By Stephen Regenold It won't be in stores until this summer, but at $199, the Nano Puff Hoody from Patagonia is worth putting on your gear radar right now. I have been wearing an early-release version of the lightweight hooded…

Ketchum, ID

Bethel, CT

By Stephen Regenold The certified multisport helmet has long been a Holy Grail in the outdoor world. KONG, an Italian company, comes close to the perfect multi-use hard hat with its Scarab Helmet, a lid certified by various agencies…

By Stephen Regenold Conjuring visions of Ninjas as well as union-suit-style long underwear of yore, the Pilot Suit from I/O Bio Merino can create a “perfect body environment,” the company touts. Indeed, the head-to-ankle base-layer suit ensconces the…

If you've got an active kid–or are hell-bent on raising one–check out Axl's Closet for threads to dress up your groms. The company offers an array of outdoor clothing, including surf and skate, from Patagonia, Volcom,…

By Stephen Regenold Ironman champion Chris McCormack wears one. So do multiple Olympians and NFL players like Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings. The new category of sports accessory called performance mouthpieces is certainly catching fire among pros and amateurs…

Last year, when I wrote about a pair of bike pants from Outlier clothing, I noted the company's products are made for a “small, affluent market niche.” Indeed, Outlier's tagline–“Tailored performance clothing for cycling in the city”–nods to the New York City-based company's theme of design that treads a line…

I recently went for a snowshoe hike in the Adirondack mountains and struggled to maintain a comfortable temperature. The day started out at -11 degrees F and as long as I stayed moving I was warm, but once I stopped I would freeze! How do I layer properly for variable weather so I don't roast when moving and freeze when stopped?—AlvahGeneva, NY

First Ascent Mountain Guide Jacket Price: $229 Don’t let the interior seam tape mislead you: This is not a hardshell. But after subjecting it to frigid, 30-mph February gusts, we had to cut it open with a knife to prove this thin, supple softshell wasn’t…

We don't know when the phone will hit the U.S., but Puma recently announced they have a solar-powered phone coming to the market. Engadget has more details, but from what we can tell, it will do everything a regular smartphone can…