Hiking Lead

If you're headed out of the city for a backcountry escape this weekend, there's no need to pack your entire hiking boot collection--all you need is one pair (the right one). Today's outdoor footwear market is littered with trail-ready shoes that can take on a multitude of surfaces, in virtually any type of weather condition. This new wave of outdoor shoes resemble sneakers more than they do the traditional hiking boot, completely redefining summer your next summer trek. Take a look at some of the best.

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Saucony Kinvara TR2

No. 1 - Saucony Kinvara TR2

Best for: Mild terrain

With the introduction of the Kinvara TR2, Saucony has turned one of the best road shoes of all time into a trail blazer as well. Perfect for the minimalist outdoorsman, the TR2 features a super-lightweight construction on top, with the necessary protection at the bottom to make a well-rounded trail sneaker. The shoe features a high traction rubber outsole for solid grip, and comes with a nylon fiber mesh rock plate to keep your feet protected against debris. Another plus with the TR2 is its breathability and quick-dry profile.


Keen Marshall

No. 2 - Keen Marshall

Best for: Mild-to-moderate terrain

Keen has been around the hiking scene for quite a while now. But what it has done with the Marshall is something that's fairly new for the brand. The Marshall is part of a series of performance footwear from Keen that has been streamlined to appeal to the masses. The shoe features an attractive design, along with all the performance features you'll need to get you through the backcountry. It features a durable, high-rebound PU midsole and a solid rubber high-traction outsole. It comes with a moisture-wicking lining to keep your feet sweat-free, and features reinforcements in all the right places, including the toe box and heel.


Brooks Adrenaline GTX

No. 3 - Brooks Adrenaline GTX

Best for: Mild-to-moderate terrain

We've said it one, and we'll say it again: the Brooks Adrenaline GTX is a running sneaker with the soul of a hiker. Whether you're running trails at Central Park, or hitting the Catskills for a weekend hike, the Adrenaline GTX is a great option for anyone looking for a lightweight, yet durable shoe. It features Brooks' DNA cushioning for lasting comfort, along with a grippy rubber outsole with an aggressive traction pattern that can handle virtually any terrain, in any weather. The shoe features a Gore-TEX finish to keep moisture out, but still manages to allow sweat to get out thanks to an open-mesh upper construction. The Adrenaline GTX is literally one of the most comfortable trail-ready sneakers currently on the market.


La Sportiva Raptor

No. 4 - La Sportiva Ultra Raptor

Best for: All terrain

Rugged terrain calls for an equally rugged shoe that is durable, offers lightweight protection, and can get you get over, around, and through any obstacle that you may run into in the backcountry. One such model is the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor. With a sticky FriXion DF rubber outsole leading the way, the Ultra Raptor is a climbing shoe in the body of a trail runner. The shoe is reinforced in all the right places, including the wrap-around toe bumper on the forefoot, and the compressed EVA Rock Guard for maximum protection against debris. It also features a unique Impact Brake System in the give users more foot control.


New Balance Leadville 1210

No. 5 - New Balance Leadville 1210

Best for: Mild-to-moderate terrain

Few of you (if any) were probably expecting to see the New Balance Leadville 1210 atop this list, but take it from someone who's rocked these in the backcountry—these sneakers were made for off-roading. This ultra trail-running shoe is inspired by the legendary Leadville 100 race, so you know it's built for the long haul. The shoe has excellent step-in feel, with extra padding along the collar and inside the toe box for an extremely comfortable fit. It comes with a flexible and breathable mesh upper, with thin webbing of synthetic overlays for support. Of course a trail so is only as good as its outsole. Lucky for the Leadville 1210, it has a high grade Vibram outsole that features multi-directional teeth perfect for uphill climbs and downhill descents. By no means is it a bouldering or climbing shoe, but the Leadville can hold its own on rocks. So if you come across some boulders you need to get over, you're in the game with this shoe.


Gurvinder Singh Gandu is a New York City-based writer and wear-tester for Sneaker Report, and contributor to Complex Media. Follow him @GurvinderSG for the latest in performance footwear and gear.

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