Footwear

From boots to barefoot-style shoes, we cover the entire footwear spectrum. Our staff runs, hikes, treks, and climbs in new footwear and shoes each week.

Zinetic Pocket Slippers

"Boots off. Happy on." That's Zinetic Inc.'s slogan for its line of unisex pocket slippers for the outdoors. Kind of (somehow) sexy sounding I thought at first. But the product is fairly straight laced, just a flappy hard rubber sole and a meshy top. They're made to wear in lieu of the heavy and clunky footwear often accompanying outdoors types to hostels, backcountry campsites, ski lodges, and yurts deep in the San Juans. . . Read More...

September 21, 2007

GoLite Footwear Carbon Fyre trail runners

These to-be-released trail runners -- the Carbon Fyre from GoLite Footwear -- will be among the priciest ever made when they debut in March 2008. Indeed, at $160 the shoes go at twice the price of a good pair from Vasque or Inov-8. But GoLite always has some tricks up its sleeves, including. . . Read More...

August 23, 2007

Kahtoola MICROSpikes

Yes, these are crampons. Well, sort of. Pedestrian crampons. But with 10 spikes, each one 3/8-inch long, and made of stainless steel, the Kahtoola MICROSpikes could do real work paired with hiking boots or running shoes to provide traction on snow and ice. A "shoe harness" made of a stretchy rubber flexes as you step in, then cinches tight. And they're so packable and light that people (me, for example) will be tempted to try and employ them for easy mountaineering. My pair arrived in the mail yesterday, and I can say I am intrigued. . . Read More...

August 22, 2007

KEEN Inc. — The Trailhead Collection

Sandal-maker KEEN (o.k., the company makes lots of shoes now, too) has just announced an expansion into two new footwear categories, climbing and cycling. You'll have to wait a few months, but when these shoes debut the company promises some unique performance and comfort features, including. . . Read More...

August 3, 2007

Gear Review — Inov-8 Debrisoc

6 hours, 59 minutes, 55 seconds. That was Team Gear Junkie's time at Saturday's MNOC Adventure Race, a run/bike/paddle competition in east-central Minnesota, where some requisite gear hashing included a maiden test of Inov-8's new Debrisoc gaiter. . . Read More...

July 16, 2007

Gear Review — Brooks T5 Racer

In an attempt to run as unencumbered as possible, I've been testing a pair of Brooks' T5 Racers, which are flyweight road runners nearly unnoticeable on the foot. They're essentially a soft meshy shell with an EVA midsole, though very little support. Indeed, at 5.9 ounces per shoe, these sprinters are literally half the weight of some comparable shoes I own, which can be good and bad. . . Read More...

July 12, 2007

River Shoes (Keen and Mion)

The esoteric nature of water sports like canyoneering, rafting, riverboarding, and whitewater swimming calls for equally esoteric footwear. Indeed, to acquiesce with eddies and tumbling submerged stones and nasty currents, companies have designed shoes that guard toes, give grip underwater, and generally protect your feet once they're submerged. Read More...

July 9, 2007

Salomon Space Boot

The Aspen Boot from Salomon employs a material that's been used in space suits and is approved by NASA. Called Spaceloft, the fabric permits thinner boot uppers at the same level of thermal protection as a thicker pair. Kind of like a pair of Sorels, only svelte and lighter like oversize trail-running shoes. Salomon is calling its Aspen Boot the "first ever nanotechnology application to outdoor footwear." Read More...

July 3, 2007

Sneak Peek — Salomon Speedcross 2

Salomon has shipped me an early test pair of its latest trail runner, the Speedcross 2, which comes out in the fall and is built for cool weather and snow. It looks like an upgraded XA Pro, the company's flagship off-trail/adventure shoe. But the Speedcross 2 is tweaked with a new "knee-saving" cushioning system that I noticed within the first few feet of my test run last night. . . Read More...

June 29, 2007

Cloggens Shoe Review

No, these foam-based, clog-type, slip-on sandals aren't Crocs. Just very similar. Some would say rip-off-level similar. In business-speak, though, Cloggens LLC is simply a "fast-follower," which is a company that jumps into the slipstream of another enterprise with a similar -- and sometimes better -- iteration of the same idea. . . Read More...

June 25, 2007

Inov-8 F-Lite 250 Review

In a quest that's stretching now beyond the two-year mark to find the perfect trail-running shoe, I've discovered only one real thing: There is no perfect trail-running shoe. For every situation and every trail, for every person, for every foot, a different shoe will work better or worse. I'm happy now, finally, with that conclusion. Read More...

June 18, 2007

River Shoes

Keen and Mion have each sent me a pair of water/canyon/river shoes, respectively the Hood River II sandals and the Fast Canyon hybrid-frogfoot-sandal-thingy. Cool designs both, with sticky rubber on the sole, drainage, and protection for "amphibious athletes," as Mion calls river walkers, canyoneers, and other odd water-loving types like me. Read More...

May 15, 2007

Low-Top Hikers

Heavy hiking boots are a thing of the past for any informed outdoors wanderer. Indeed, the clunky boots of yore -- some weighing more than 3 pounds apiece -- have been cast aside by most every footwear company now in favor of lightweight shoes and low-top hikers. Read More...

March 26, 2007

Salomon S-Lab XA Pro 3

Can you say cream of the crop? The Salomon S-Lab XA Pro 3 shoes were developed for elite adventure racers, top trail runners, and mountain marathoners who might tick off a 40-mile backcountry session on any given Saturday. Read More...

March 16, 2007

Ahnu Footwear

Keen Footwear exploded onto the market five years ago, selling millions of its innovative toe-bumper-equipped sandals in its first year of business. Now, Jim Van Dine, the former president of Keen, has formed a new footwear company he believes will garner similar response. Ahnu Footwear (www.ahnufootwear.com) is, for the time being, a small operation in […] Read More...

March 13, 2007
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