We happen to think that any season is a good time for hitting the trails, but it's especially true during this in-between period of waiting for the slopes to open but still wanting your daily dose of fresh air. Plus, you'll often have the trails pretty much to yourself—well, you and the calorie-loading bears wandering about. Consider this your pre-hike or run shopping list. We'll see you out there!

Salomon Speedcross 4, men's

Salomon Speedcross 4
A solid, all-around responsive shoe for playing in the dirt. The pull-tab lacing system holds feet in tight, while the durable upper can handle plenty of run-ins with rocks and scree, and the tread provides secure footing in variable conditions. With just enough cushioning underfoot to protect feet without dampening the proprioception needed for nimble striding, these shoes are a go-to for more technical trails. Grab a pair for hiking 14ers, trekking to Crested Butte, or scrambling up the Ute Trail. $130, salomon.com

 

Brooks Cascadia 13, men's

Brooks Cascadia 13
The latest version of this shoe is like a high-end SUV for your feet. It has generous cushioning and a smooth, comfortably firm ride, plus fun extras like a rubber mud guard and a gaiter hook. While it's considered a neutral shoe, it still has the support you'll need to feel confident charging along winding, singletrack trails. If you like a bit more cushion for outings on Sunnyside, Arbaney-Kittle, or Aspen Mountain, the Cascadia will serve you well. $130, brooksrunning.com

 

Hoka One One Torrent, men's

Hoka One One Torrent
These shoes' generous cushioning and light weight were a winning combination for our tester, who wore them to fastpack to Crested Butte and back. He also touted the stout traction, which held firm on wet rocks, dusty trails, and anything in between. However, with less cushioning than other trail styles from Hoka One One (like the Stinson or Speedgoat), the foot turnover on this neutral runner is refreshingly crisp. Grab them when you want to go long and/or fast—and maybe even set a new PR on Tiehack or Red Hill. $120, hokaoneone.com

 

The North Face Flight RKT, women's

The North Face Flight RKT
Low-profile and lightweight, these neutral, slipper-like runners are made to handle any terrain. For my testing purposes, they excelled in hot and dry desert conditions (like Moab and Palm Springs), thanks to a breathable mesh upper and cushioned yet responsive ride. But what makes them really stand out is the tread. As I ran over sand-covered rocks, certain I was about to kiss the ground, these shoes didn't slip at all. $150, thenorthface.com

 

La Sportiva Tempesta GTX, women's

La Sportiva Tempesta GTX
Heading out for a sloppy, muddy, snowy, or wet run? These are your proverbial glass slippers. Gore-Tex keeps your feet dry, while the wider fit, one-pull lacing, and cushioning in the heel collar and under the laces keep feet happy for long miles. Plus, the traction holds well in mixed and even wintry conditions. My proving ground for these was a wintry slog to Conundrum Creek last November with nary a slip, concern, or hot spot. $165, sportiva.com

 

All styles listed are available for both men and women. Ute Mountaineer, Bristlecone Mountain Sports, and Independence Run & Hike are your best bets for finding these shoes locally. 

 

 

 

 

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