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Scarpa Atom, $119
This is a shoe built for runners who run like mountain goats. You know, the ones who bound up the rockiest trails with ease and hardly seem winded. Scarpa called on its heritage of rock climbing shoes to develop this lightweight, agile specimen. It’s lightly cushioned—most of our testers agreed that it was “just enough”—and offers great proprioceptive feel for the trail. It doesn’t offer much protection in the upper, but the Vibram outsole (and its widely spaced array of lugs) is just thick enough to keeps sharp rocks at bay while also offering great traction.
Plus: Our wear-testers loved the snug fit and secure lacing system of this shoe.
Minus: The pinky toes are left a bit in harm’s way without any material to protect against abrasion.
Weights: 8.8 oz. (men’s), 7.5 oz. (women’s)
Heel-to-Toe Offset: 4mm; 14.5mm (heel), 10.5mm (forefoot)