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Review: Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 || Light, plush, grippy & surprisingly stable

By Andrew Skurka / August 14, 2017 / 10 Comments

On my first three outings with the second-generation Hoka One One Speedgoat 2, I took it out for 13-, 11-, and 25-mile trail runs with nearly 10,000 vertical feet in cumulative climbing. That’s rare for a shoe with which I had no prior history — normally, I start off slowly, with short and low-risk runs…

Review: La Sportiva Bushido || A perfect “high route shoe,” if it fits

By Andrew Skurka / August 6, 2017 / 41 Comments

Last summer on the Glacier Divide Route, Dave raved about the La Sportiva Bushido. I made a mental note, and as I geared up for my yo-yo of the 77-mile Pfiffner Traverse last month, I bought a pair. In fact, I picked up two. The other I purchased during the post-trip drive home — when…

Preview: Vargo Pocket Cleats v3 || Sub-3 oz traction for early-season backpacking

By Andrew Skurka / July 28, 2017 / 14 Comments

The third-generation Pocket Cleats from Vargo have undergone significant revisions since v2, which was tweaked from v1. They will be available in October or November in stainless steel ($40, 2.9 oz) and titanium ($60, 2.1 oz), each in just one size that will fit most running shoes, hiking shoes, and hiking boots. Problems with v1 and…

Footwear & foot care for early-season conditions

By Andrew Skurka / March 14, 2017 / 78 Comments

What must you absolutely get right when selecting footwear for early-season conditions? As with every other season, they must fit. Period. All other footwear characteristics are secondary. However, if you get these right, too, you’ll be much better off than having a well-fitting shoe that never dries and performs poorly on snow. Boots & shoes “Waterproof”…

Preview: Altra Lone Peak 3.5, Timp & King Mountain

By Andrew Skurka / January 11, 2017 / 18 Comments

On display at the Altra booth was the next iteration of its best-selling trail shoe, the Lone Peak 3.5, plus two new trail shoes, the Timp and King Mountain. Preview: Altra Lone Peak 3.5 Expect minor changes from the current Lone Peak 3.0 (my review). The 3.5 will retain the same voluminous last and fit,…

Review: Altra Lone Peak 3.0 || For wide large-volume feet or easy trails

By Andrew Skurka / November 30, 2016 / 19 Comments

Among segments of trail runners, ultra runners, and backpackers, the Lone Peak shoe from Altra Footwear has gained an almost cult-like following for its unique feature set: a voluminous toe box combined with generous midsole cushioning and zero drop from heel to toe. Does the most recent iteration — the Altra Lone Peak 3.0 —…

Long-term gear reviews: Product insights after a 100-day Appalachian Trail thru-hike

By Garrett Workman / September 26, 2016 / 11 Comments

Intro by Skurka. After his recent 100-day thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, Garrett contacted me with some gear reviews, some about products I have written about previously. I thought his insights were valuable, due to his extensive use and to his unbiased viewpoint, and asked his permission to share them. If you have questions for Garrett, leave a comment.…

Review: Salewa Ultra Train Hiking & Running Shoes

By Andrew Skurka / September 13, 2016 / 34 Comments

The Salewa Ultra Train is the shoe I hoped it would be, with one circumvent-able flaw. In the past month I have worn it on rugged backpacking trips in the Colorado Rockies, as well as on several trail runs and mild hikes to better understand its optimal range. Review: Salewa Ultra Train Some may find…

In what conditions will I hike in “waterproof” footwear?

By Andrew Skurka / August 26, 2016 / 25 Comments

For extended wear in 3-season conditions, I strongly discourage the use of “waterproof” footwear. When it’s dry, they trap excessive heat and perspiration. When it’s wet, the waterproofing will eventually fail. And after getting wet, the shoes will dry very slowly. For a more in-depth analysis of waterproof footwear performance, read this post. The paragraph…

Complete failure: I gave “waterproof” Gore-Tex hiking shoes a second chance

By Andrew Skurka / August 13, 2016 / 55 Comments

My skepticism of waterproof-breathable fabrics (like Gore-Tex) and products that utilize them (like rain gear and “waterproof” footwear) is no secret. For a history, read: Why I’m hard on Gore-Tex, the King of Hype Breathability: an explanation of its importance, mechanisms, and limitations Core 13 Clothing: Rain Jacket & Rain Pants Occasionally, however, it’s healthy…