THE SITUATION: While there are still plenty of hard-core hiking boots on the market, more people are taking to the trails in less traditional — and more comfortable out of the box — trail running shoes. Traditional running shoes usually don’t offer quite enough protection from rocks and roots, and the lateral support is often insufficient to avoid ankle sprains on uneven terrain.
AN ANSWER: But a shoe like the La Sportiva Akasha is an excellent hybrid that will satisfy both serious trail runners looking to run fast and day hikers looking for a comfortable way to hit the trail.
THE DETAILS: The highly cushioned shoe features what La Sportiva calls its “Trail Rocker Outsole Technology,” which is a design that promotes a heel-to-toe motion on irregular surfaces. The shoe offers plenty of protection from the elements, but it won’t affect your stride or feel too cumbersome on the trail. The roomy fit is a good match for wool hiking socks, and the air-mesh outer gives you good breathability. Ultra runners looking for a shoe with plenty of cushioning should be pleased with the Akasha, but even those just looking for a comfortable day-hiker may find that this shoe will keep those old hiking boots in the closet.
AVAILABILITY: Go to sportiva.com.