Get your feet outfitted correctly — whether you're heading on a peak-bagging mountain expedition, or a jog through your local urban trails.
AKU SL Sintesi GTX — $250Weight: 1.1 kg (2.4 lbs)
Best For: Light mountaineering, via ferrata, off-trail backpacking.
The Sintesi felt a bit clunky on smooth trails, but off-the-beaten path and especially on steeper terrain, the six-millimetre EVA shank and almost-to-the-toe lacing came into its own, providing a solid platform for kicking steps into snow, edging on rock or tramping up scree. The versatile grip pattern made short work of blue ice, sucking mud and smearing on slabs. The suede upper, backed by a Gore-Tex bootie, is protected from scuffs and nicks by a rubber rand at the toe and heel. (Women’s Only Model).
Bottom line: A light-and-tough boot that performs best in variable terrain. AKU
La Sportiva Hyper Mid GTX — $180Weight: 1.0 kg (2.2 lbs)
Best For: Scrambles, climbing approach and rough trails.
If your idea of a day-hike involves bagging a summit, then this hybrid shoe may be your dream hiker. With a thin midsole and to-the-toe lacing, it feels snug and sensitive for optimal grip on rock and the sticky grip-pattern includes an edging zone beneath the big toe, as well as plenty of other lugs for grip on muddy or snowy terrain. On the foot, they roll along trail (or off-trail) smartly; their roughed leather outer and Gore-Tex liner shrugging off soakers.
Bottom Line: With above-the-ankle design and EVA cushioning, the Hyper could do lightweight backpacking. La Sportiva
Merrell Proterra Vim Mid/Proterra Sport Mid — $150Weight: 0.82 kg (1.8 lbs)
Best For: Minimalist runners looking for a hiker.
The Proterra borrows the minimalist running philosophy and applies it to the trail with a lightweight mesh upper, flat and low-profile sole and a snug fit. Out of the box, they have the instant comfort of a running shoe, just without the squishy cushion in the heel. On the trail, they feel light-and-fast, but with strips of plastic fused to the ankle-high mesh upper, still felt supportive in rough terrain. When we got a soaker we felt every drop, but they dried faster than any other hiker we've used. The men's version is the Proterra Sport Mid.
Bottom Line: Could work for a light overnight load, otherwise a great kick for a minimalist feel in varied terrain. Merrell