I do a lot of running and backpacking. For backpacking, I have moved from traditional hiking boots to trail runners over the years. The two things I have been the impressed with are the comfort and traction. I live in the Pacific North West and run and hike through my fair share of mud. The Spark has done amazing through these conditions. In the summer, the ventilation has been great. The other shoe I have used is the La Sportiva Wildcat, which i also liked. I like the Spark toe box a little more and the Spark feels much lighter on my feet.