I competing in an ultra trail race (50 miles) in the Golden Gate Headlands area of California in December. Those trails, from what I told, are quite different from the more technical trails up here in the Vancouver area. What do you recommend as a good shoe for the trails down there? Scott Vancouver, British Columbia

I’m an avid hiker and getting back into running, too. I love my Vasque hiking boots, which offer a lot of support, cushioning, and a cradled heel. But none of the running shoes I have tried offer the se fit. Can I run a 5K in hiking boots? Just kidding, sort of. Any suggestions? Matt Downingtown, Pennsylvania

My husband is interested in a hydration pack for dayhikes and bike rides. Which size will best suit his needs? Also, can you recommend one for kids (ages five and eight)? Melody Fircrest, Washington

I’m an avid runner who must contend with about six months of snow, slush, and cold temperatures if I to pursue this sport year-round. Can you suggest a running shoe for winter excursions? Standard running shoes are no match for a Quebec winter. Thomas Westmount, Quebec

Which running shoe do you recommend for a beginning runner? Rachel Shawnee, Kansas

What running shoes would you recommend for a ten-mile competition in which I run through knee-deep mud, waist-high water, and on pavement? Last year, after coming out of the mud and water, I had to run eight miles with wet feet and sand in my shoes. Michael Visalia, California

I stopped running at age 50 because my knees just couldn’t take it anymore. I now walk daily and need a good shoe for fast walking. What is your opinion of Ecco’s Performance shoes? Donna Plano, Texas

I'm considering trading in my hiking boots for trail-running shoes on backpacking trips. Why? I've been backpacking for years with sore, uncomfortable feet. (I'm a bit hard to fit.) Other than the lack of ankle support, is there a downside to going with a good trail shoe rather than a boot for a long backpacking trip? Which trail-runners have the guts for this type of trail work? Tim Indianapolis, Indiana

Go-fast gear for your next adrenaline-fueled run-climb-bike-hike-paddle through the woods

We never knew that the world needed another polycarbonate water bottle until we wrapped a hand around CamelBak’s 750ml splash-, spill-, and shatterproof beauty. The bottle mates ‘Bak’s bite valve with a plastic straw for no-head-tilt hydration. Just try to find an easier way to suck down agua in the…

I'm looking for a hydration pack with two bladders and a toggle switch to let me move back and forth from one to the other while cycling. Is there such a thing? Scott Corvallis, Montana

Where can I find a trail-running shoe that does not look like a space shoe or some exotic bird? I want something that looks at home outdoors while serving the needed function. Doug Pocomoke City, Maryland

I started trail running this winter and absolutely love it. However, as a beginner, I only have my street running shoes, and with the wet weather up here in the Pacific Northwest they're just not making the grade. I was hoping you could recommend some good shoes for cutting through the mud (and we have a lot of it). I don't have to worry about snow, but I slipping all over the place on the trails. Aaron Corvallis, Oregon

What’s better while day-hiking: water or a sports drink? Charles Mt. Holly, NC

IN THE STORE Unless you're purchasing the same model you always have (and even if you are), you're smart to put running shoes through their paces before pulling out your plastic. Runners have very different gaits, and each shoe fits that gait differently. Your best bet is to visit a…

I run five to seven miles five days a week, so I'm looking for a comfortable, durable running shoe, something lightweight and well-cushioned. Price is not much of an object. I have a neutral foot and good mechanics. Michael Jacksonville, North Carolina

What is the best-value hydro pack for day hikes in places like Bryce and/or the Grand Canyon? Ronald Grand Ledge, Michigan

At high altitudes, how do I keep hydrated during those final 18-hour summit attempts (usually at night)? How do the "experts" keep hydrated at 15,000 feet and higher when everything's frozen? R Olathe, Kansas

Should I buy trail runners for winter running, or is it best just to stick with my running shoes? Kingston is, to the best of my knowledge, the slush capital of the world. Scott Kingston, Ontario

My sister Teri is running her first marathon in Florence, Italy, this November, and the Adidas Twin Strike shoes I bought her for a semi-marathon four months ago have already had their day. She has flat feet, a low arch, and needs support plus extra cushioning on her forefoot. This is vital here, and I have been doing research for her because she has little knowledge of computers and the world of online resources. Help! Tina Languedoc-Roussillon, France

Welcome to the sneaker showdown of the 21st century. This year, industry behemoths Nike and Adidas unveiled revolutionary new designs—at diametric ends of the spectrum. It’s as if the Book of Genesis and The Origin of Species had hit stands simultaneously. ยป The high-tech ADIDAS 1, due out in December,…

When the frost bites hard, fight back with the latest winter hydration systems

Yes, as an overpronate runner weighing in at 210 pounds, I probably should take up a less impact-prone sport. But I'm still running, so I need some shoes with torsional stability and impact-absorbing capability. For the past year, I have been running in a pair of Brooks Beasts, which have worked pretty well, but not perfectly (Spenco insoles helped some). Can you recommend several running shoes that are suited for a runner of my build? Charles New York City

I'm hiking the Grand Canyon rim to rim this spring, and I'm wondering what footwear to use. I like the lightness and cushioning of the trail runners that I've been using for my ten-mile training hikes, but I'm wondering if I need something a little more burly for my unsteady legs over the course of the 24-mile hike. Any thoughts on the Lowa Tempest? Jay Phoenix, Arizona

As a frequent trail runner, I looking for a backpack designed with running in mind. I would like something with ple storage for additional layers and supplies, certainly larger than a lumbar pack. Any suggestions? Connor Ann Arbor, Michigan

Dear Gear Guy, can I extend the life of running shoes by using Dr. Scholl's gel insoles? Will they improve the comfort of hiking boots? By the way, I use orthotics. Gary Goins Denver, CO

The latest road runners fit better, feel faster, and work almost as hard as you do

To sort through this season's trail-runner bounty, mix equal parts rugged design and motivational psychology