Winter gear is often heavy and bulky, but your boots needn’t add to the load. The PrimaLoft-insulated Conrax kept four testers—including hikers and snowshoers—nimble and light-footed, yet provided enough warmth and support for 0°F temps and 40-pound loads. “It combines the protection and warmth of a boot and the agility of a sneaker,” says one tester who bagged a dozen Adirondacks peaks wearing the Conrax last winter. Credit the protection plate-reinforced Adiprene midsole—a proprietary foam that’s more durable and shock absorbent than standard EVA. “Even in sketchy terrain, my steps felt mountain-goat secure, without the stiffness that you get in heavier boots,” he says.
A single-toggle lace system makes the Conrax easy to get on and off, even with cold, stiff fingers. A waterproof/breathable membrane repels moisture, and a zippered neoprene cover over the synthetic upper protects the laces (and your feet) from the elements. The temperature-sensitive soles earned a thumbs up for winter traction: As the mercury drops, the lugs harden for more aggressive grip on ice and snow.
Gravy: A gaiter loop tucks away under the neoprene cover, and a pronounced heel shelf keeps snowshoe bindings from sliding down.