For some people, new car models that come out each year are things to be excited about. For others, it’s the latest iteration of video games like Madden or FIFA.
Trail rats tend to look forward to the new models of their favorite trail gear, especially footwear. This year saw the release of a variety of new quality trail shoes from our favorite brands. Here are 4 among the best.
For the Ladies
Ahnu North Peak Mid eVent ($200)
The eVent’s mesh upper keeps the boots light, comfortable and breathable, but their protective leather layer allows them to be waterproof, as well. The stiff toe bumper offers secure protection against rocks and roots, too. The North Peak Mids also use the super-durable and reliable Vibram DuraGrip outsoles, which provide chunky rectangular lugs for increased surface area contact and superior grip even on slick terrain.
For Trail Runners
Merrell AllOut Terra ($120)
The Terras feature wide-open, synthetic mesh sides that let air circulate freely, so you’ll feel comfortable even on the hottest summer runs. Usually this much breathability comes at the expense of durability, but you’ll find that the Terra stands up to miles of wear and tear. Furthermore, the chevron-shaped lugs act as cleats in soft terrain and even hold strong on steep downhill runs. Finally, the stretchy ankle cuff excels at keeping dirt and other debris out of your shoes. I own a pair of soccer cleats that feature this cuff and I can tell you it makes all the difference.
Vasque Inhaler II Mid GTX ($160)
They weigh 2 pounds, but Vasque’s Inhaler II will feel lighter on your feet than even some trail running shoes on the market. This lightweight feeling is due largely in part to the the springy EVA midsole and rockered toe, which provides a smoother gait. You’ll find also that the high collar offers generous padding, especially at the Achilles. Finally, the Inhaler II’s foam and mesh upper allows air to move freely through the boot keeping your feet cool and comfortable on warm-weather hikes, without impeding their waterproofing.
For Light Hiking
Five Ten Access ($140)
For a shoe that looks more like a sneaker than a boot, the Access’ EVA midsole and 3D outsole wrap fluidly around your foot, cupping your heel and providing ample support for longer treks with heavier loads. Also, their unique lacing system—the laces tie directly into the sidewall over the middle of your foot, rather than through eyelets in the upper—keeps your heels from sliding around, minimizing hot spots and blisters.