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Gear Guide
Fusion Footwear
Run, splash, climb and just kick back in these anything but classic designs.

   • Teva Wraptor 2: The Open-Air Runner
   • Nike ACG Air Cinder Cone: The Mountain Goat Special
   • Merrell Chameleon Rush: The Quick-Fit Trail Artist
   • Five.Ten Canyoneer: The Amphibious Climber
   • Salomon XA Pro: The Long-Distance Racer
   • Vasque Vapor: The Multisport Workhorse

The climbing hikers, running sandals, and adventure-racing trail shoes on this page could be dismissed as gimmicky, or maybe just overly specialized—canyoneering shoes?—but, believe us, fusion footwear is the future. You're going to see a lot more all-around shoes with climbing soles … or drainage holes … or sandal-style buckles.

There's not a classic design here, so if you're doing classic activities (climbing Half Dome, through-hiking the entire Appalachian Trail), these dogs won't hunt—er, walk. Where they excel is in niche sports (yes, canyoneering) and, paradoxically, in non-niche knocking around. Whether you're a rock scrambler who splashes, a trail runner who hikes, or some other kind of eclectic-minded foot owner, something here will suit your tastes.
 

All prices in U.S. dollars

Click to Enlarge.
Teva Wraptor 2

• Teva Wraptor 2: The Open-Air Runner
Price: $90
Telephone: 800 433 2537 (U.S. and Canada only)
Web: www.teva.com

Runners' feet sweat, right? Well, there's nothing more breathable than nothing. And that's the key benefit of the Teva Wraptor 2, which combines the tread and underfoot support of a trail runner with the upper of, well, a Teva. The straps have been carefully positioned—and cushioned—to minimize rubbing, while medial posting combats pronation.
 

Click to Enlarge.
Nike ACG Air Cinder Cone

• Nike ACG Air Cinder Cone: The Mountain Goat Special
Price: $110
Telephone: 800 344 6453 (U.S. and Canada only)
Web: www.nike.com

Exum Mountain Guides' elite staffers used to resole their Nike runners with climbing soles to create an all-in-one approach-and-climbing shoe for the Grand Teton. The master marketers in Oregon cleverly co-opted the idea; in the Nike ACG Air Cinder Cone they've added a high, protective rand and almost-to-the-toe lacing. Hike, then climb, then hike some more.
 

Click to Enlarge.
Merrell Chameleon Rush

• Merrell Chameleon Rush: The Quick-Fit Trail Artist
Price: $90
Telephone: 888 637 7001 (U.S. and Canada only)
Web: www.merrellboot.com

With its eight see-through mesh panels and trail-inspired design, the Merrell Chameleon Rush looks like a running shoe made for sandal lovers, or perhaps a light hiker suffering from water-shoe envy. In fact, it's true multiuse footwear: The neoprene collar and mesh keep out fine debris, while the buckles (the mesh leaves scant room for laces) provide a stable fit.
 

Click to Enlarge.
Five.Ten Canyoneer

• Five.Ten Canyoneer: The Amphibious Climber
Price: $96
Telephone: +1 909 798 4222
Web: www.fiveten.com

Designed for Switzerland, now popular in Zion National Park, the Five.Ten Canyoneer is basically a sturdy amphibious shoe ... plus. It melds this climbing company's Stealth rubber sole and a high rand with water-shoe-style buckles and drainage ports. If your perfect day includes hiking, splashing, and climbing—in canyons or not—this could be your shoe.
 

Click to Enlarge.
Salomon XA Pro

• Salomon XA Pro: The Long-Distance Racer
Price: $90
Telephone: 877 272 5666 (U.S. and Canada only)
Web: www.salomonsports.com

In last fall's New Zealand Eco-Challenge, the winners ran in the Salomon XA Pro. The shoes are springy—and protective—thanks to a semi-rigid chassis in the sole. (It's got four arms and is a dead ringer for a replicating chromosome.) The mesh upper is breathable; the lacing system lets you adjust the forefoot and instep areas of the shoe independently.
 

Click to Enlarge.
Vasque Vapor

• Vasque Vapor: The Multisport Workhorse
Price: $80
Telephone: 800 224 4453 (U.S. and Canada only)
Web: www.vasque.com

The closest this group comes to having a classic shoe is the Vasque Vapor, designed for light hiking, fast-packing, and adventure racing. The materials are quick to dry, the Phylon midsole stabilizes the foot, and a grippy, soft-rubber sole boosts traction. The upper is mesh girded by synthetic Nubuk ribs, creating a good compromise between breathability and support.

—Jerry Beilinson

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Photographs by Spencer Jones

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April 2002:
In the Magazine | Excerpts | Canyonlands Photos | Rain Forest Controversy | Lewis and Clark | Forum: Guide Responsibility | Gear Guide: Luxury Camping | Gear Guide: Multisport Shoes | Laos Travel Guide | Travel Calendar




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