The best part about testing gear in Montana is that you never know what the elements are going to throw at you, and our terrain is so varied that conditions are never certain. Finding a running shoe that rises to those challenges isn’t easy, but it’s possible, with the new Trail N3 from Pearl Izumi. I started using these shoes in mid-winter, when the trails were covered in snow, ice, slush, and mud. The N3s provided excellent grip and cushioning no matter the conditions. Their sole shape is such that I feel like they’re propelling me forward, and they’re so lightweight that when I put them on, I want to run. There’s a lot of technology contributing to that sensation, but I’m more interested in results than specs. These shoes are pricey, but so far they’re durable and should last for many miles. Available at Bozeman Running Company. $135; pearlizumi.com.