The Best Hiking, Tennis, Cardio, Walking, and Kayak Shoes
For the Hiker
Winner: Salomon Elios ($90; salomon-sports.com)
Tester: Andrea Ketchmark, volunteer programs manager for the American Hiking Society in Silver Spring, Maryland
"The design of the tongue kept annoying pebbles out, the traction was excellent, even on the most slippery trails, and the overall fit was incredibly comfortable. Plus, the shoes have airflow vents to keep your feet nice and cool."
Runner-Up: Keen Targhee II ($116; keen.com)
For the Tennis Player
Winner: Fila Punto II ($90; fila.com)
Tester: Alison Ojeda, head tennis coach at Middle Tennessee State University
"This shoe was the perfect choice for me — not too light (and definitely not too heavy), and they let me move across the court with ease. They offered lots of support, but not so much that I couldn't sprint to every incoming ball."
Runner-Up: Adidas ClimaCool Divine ($100; shopadidas.com)
For the Cardio Queen
Winner: Asics Gel-FX ($80; asics.com)
Tester: Kristen James Gagne, a trainer and group fitness instructor at Equinox Fitness in Woodbury, New York
"These shoes offered amazing support in my heels and cushioning under the balls of my feet during back-to-back high-intensity cardio classes and an hour-long run on the treadmill."
Runner-Up: Brooks Burn 3 ($85; brooksrunning.com)
For the Walker
Winner: Adidas Echo Plus ($65; shopadidas.com)
Tester: Lorraine Wessels, member of the Lake Grapevine Runners and Walkers club in Grapevine, Texas
"I tend to strike my heels pretty hard when I walk, and this shoe provided extra cushioning in back to lessen the impact of my steps without feeling too clunky."
Runner-Up: Reebok DMX Mega WalkR ($70; reebok.com)
For the Kayak/Water Enthusiast
Winner: Mion Current Sandal ($100; mionfootwear.com)
Tester: Marsha Henson, owner of Sea Kayak Georgia in Tybee, Georgia
"When you're going in and out of the water all day, you really want a shoe that grips wet surfaces well and dries superfast. These sandals do both — and they perfectly conform to the shape of your feet."
Runner-Up: Teva Karnali Wraptor ($100; teva.com)
The Best Spinning, Running, Trail Running, Marathon, and Cross-Training Shoes
For the Cyclist/Spinner
Winner: Specialized BG Riata Women's Sport MTB Shoe ($85; specialized.com)
Tester: Caroline Dawson, a Spinning master instructor in New York City
"I taught three Spin classes in a row, and my feet were totally comfy the whole time in these mountain-bike shoes. They're perfect for indoor cycling — stiff enough to give you pedaling power, but flexible enough for you to walk from the locker room to the studio without falling over."
Runner-Up: Pearl Izumi Vagabond M4 ($85; pearlizumi.com)
For the Beginning Runner
Winner: Brooks Glycerin 5 ($110; brooksrunning.com)
Tester: MaryKay Mullally, founder of the running organization Step Up for Life (stepupforlife.com) and a certified running coach in San Diego, California
"This shoe felt like a natural extension of my foot! I barely noticed I had it on during my four- and five-mile runs. They're comfortable and flexible, and didn't make my feet sweat."
Runner-Up: Asics GT-2120 ($95; asicsamerica.com)
For the Trail Runner
Winner: Adidas AdiStar Trail 3 ($120; shopadidas.com)
Tester: Nancy Hobbs, founder and director of the American Trail Running Association in Colorado Springs, Colorado
"This is a shoe I would recommend to all trail runners — I love the look, the feel, the fit. It's solid but not boxy, offers great support in all areas of the foot, and grips rocky terrain, even when you're running downhill."
Runner-Up: Nike Shox Junga ($110; nike.com)
For the Wannabe Marathoner
Winner: Asics Gel-DS Trainer 12 ($110; asicsamerica.com)
Tester: Kelly Richards, state representative for the North Texas division of Road Runners Club of America
"I was surprised that such a feather-light shoe had so much cushioning. They felt great as soon as I put them on. I got a lot of envious glances from other runners, too."
Runner-Up: Saucony Triumph 4 ($120; saucony.com)
For the Cross-Trainer
Winner: Nike Free 5.0 ($90; nike.com)
Tester: Violet Zaki, personal trainer and fitness instructor at Equinox Fitness in New York City "The shoe is lightweight and doesn't really need to be broken in. I was able to point and flex my feet freely while teaching several kickboxing classes, without any tightness. Plus, its compact shape didn't take up much space in my gym bag!"
Runner-Up: New Balance WX760 ($75; newbalance.com)
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, May 2007.