Merrell CTR Cruise
These water-resistant shoes have a slip-proof heel that hugs the back of your foot and a rugged tread that can tackle any trail. The solid midsole support steadies your foot on uneven surfaces, and an antimicrobial sock liner combats stinkiness. "Everyone on the trail envied the killer traction of these shoes," one tester remarks. "At first I thought it'd be too much, but it handled the terrain beautifully." ($110, merrell.com)
Footnote: Sometimes trail shoes feel too much like hiking boots, says Michelle Wesson, 35, a competitive runner who lives in Flagstaff, Arizona. "The Merrell CTR Cruise is lightweight; it's just the right amount of shoe."
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