The idea of iconic American footwear brand Hush Puppies joining forces with century-old sole maker Vibram didn't strike us as especially revolutionary. Not at first, anyway. But this bit of mash-up genius is all about the execution: The Boot5 is a mid-calf wingtipped Pup mated with Vibram's much-ballyhooed FiveFingers outsole, a.k.a. the chassis of its (in)famous barefoot-running shoes. While that sounds like a Frankenstein's monster of footwear, to the contrary, what you're getting is a perfectly ergonomic boot (not sneakers made to show off the fact that you do, in fact, have all of your toes on both feet).
The other species in this partnership – a brogue and a loafer – are less successful and just a bit too overdesigned for our taste. The Boot5, though, strikes the perfect balance between style and performance. Its almost shockingly lightweight and incredibly flexible, making it ideal when sprinting down a slick sidewalk (or across a muddy field) in a downpour, yet not looking out of its league in anything shy of an actual suit. We've long been on the lookout for that perfect ninja boot – the sort of thing you could run a mile or two in over pavement and across a river and maybe even through the trees, yet not get you kicked out of whatever club you managed to talk your way into. The Boot5 has put an end to our search. [$180; hushpuppies.com]