Patagonia Fore Runner RS
$125, 9.6 ounces, www.patagonia.com
Built on the same platform as the Patagonia Fore Runner, the Fore Runner RS features a wind- and weather-resistant ripstop microfiber upper. Testers reported the upper not only provided sock-like comfort, it held up exceptionally well: The shoe showed minimal wear and tear after close to 200 miles of testing.
It offers a four-millimeter heel-to-toe drop and a multi-density outsole. A thick toe bumper helps keep toes stub-free while a felt-like rand adds durability.
Traction: Traction from multi-directional lugs was adequate on groomed trails and dry rocks, but lacked bite in sloppy conditions.
Best For: Testers said the lightweight weather-resistant shoe transitioned seamlessly from paved roads to trails.
The Downsides: The weather-resistant upper did not flex or breathe well, making the shoe feel stiff and hot. And, like most weather-resistant models, the shoe did a good job of keeping out water, but if it got in, it stayed in.
Fit: The shoe best fits a medium-volume foot. While laces were easy to cinch, they tended to loosen on the run, and some testers experienced slight sloppiness in the heel.
Tester-Monial: “The design simplicity and padded uppers made the Fore Runner one of the most comfortable shoes I’ve worn. They felt secure in the heel and across the top of my foot. And the toe box had the perfect amount of room for toe splay.”
–Stuart White, Charleston, SC