Footwear

  Think about hiking footwear as a spectrum. On one end are low-cut and lightweight trail running shoes, which feature stiffer soles, grippier tread, and a tighter fit than their road-running shoe cousins. On the other end are heavy-duty, trail stomping hiking boots that feature a high ankle collar, tough and durable materials, and a…

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Mud season in the mountains of the Northeast begins as the snow melts and the landscape and trails turn soggy. Depending on the elevation, weather, snowpack, and region, it can stretch anywhere from March through June, with the greater heights of northern New England and New York experiencing the worst of it in May and…

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Introduced in 2016, Vibram’s Arctic Grip technology is designed to provide extra traction and grip on slick, wet ice, making it a top contender for winter footwear this year. Integrated into the rubber sole underfoot, it does indeed work, as I detailed two winters ago in my product review of the Merrell Overlook 6 Ice+…

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Winter poses an annual dilemma for many outdoor adventurers in the winter months: Do I need some form of traction gear? And if so, what kind? Whether you run, hike, snowshoe, ice climb, or simply want to make it home safely on a slippery sidewalk, a little extra grip can go a long way. And…

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After nearly a year of planning and training, the big day is almost here: In a few weeks, two friends and I will wake up early and make our way to the Appalachia trailhead for the beginning of our attempt at the Presidential Traverse. The Presidential Traverse (or Presi) is a roughly 20-mile journey that…

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‘Tis the mud season in the mountains of New England, a good time to review how to keep stuff—including mud and slop—out of your footwear when you’re hiking. A key way to do this is to wear ankle gaiters over your hiking footwear, which blocks mud, grit, and other debris from getting inside, because hiking around…

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If your boots have been languishing in the closet all winter, or you’ve been using them to stomp through the snowy season, it’s time to get them cleaned, conditioned, and ready to go. Here’s the three-step process I recommend. (And while this post is geared toward all-leather hiking boots rather than boots constructed from fabric…

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As a general rule, snowshoes are heavy. Very heavy. Most models weigh anywhere from 3 to 4 pounds or more per pair, which greatly increases the amount of energy you expend lifting your snow-stomping Sasquatch feet over and over and over again. Given that every ounce on your feet matters way more than the equivalent…

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Aerogel is amazing stuff. Made almost entirely of air encapsulated in an ultra-light silica matrix, aerogel is the lowest-density solid material that exists. In fact, one kind of silica aerogel weighed, at its creation, just three times more than air and could be made lighter than air by extracting the air from its pores. Aerogel also…

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Merino wool comes from a particular variety of sheep that produces extra fine and soft wool. In the outdoor world, it is commonly used in socks and long underwear, among other uses. A natural fiber, it is warm and comfortable against the skin and a popular alternative to synthetic options like polyester or polypropylene. Smartwool may…

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