A noticeable trend at Outdoor Retailer Winter this year was the use of softshell fabric in footwear. For fast and light activities such as hiking, trail running, and even snowshoeing, softshell can provide those year-round outdoor enthusiasts the weather protection of a full winter boot without the bulk or weight.
Adidas Outdoor unveiled the Terrex Softshell Mid ($150) for men (pictured above). Designed for an unforgiving cold and wet winter environment, the softshell upper and PrimaLoft insulation keep your feet dry and warm. Snowshoe compatible, the Terrex Softshell features the Adidas adiPRENE midsole insert for shock absorption and energy rebound.
For 2012, New Balance has winterized their minimalist MT 110 by adding a waterproof softshell upper and flexible water resistant zip gaiter. The new W110 ($125) is built on the same minimalist platform, with a 4mm heel to toe drop, little cushioning, and a snow friendly outsole with aggressive tread.
The Salomon Snowcross ($200) is a lightweight running shoe adapted for deep winter training. Weighing 12.7 oz., the Snowcross uses a 2nd skin seamless construction with water resistant upper. A zip gaiter with Climashield membrane protects your foot from the harsh winter elements. The outsole is made using Mud & Snow Contragrip, with 9 spikes for extra traction.