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Backpacker Magazine – March 2008

March 2008 Boots Review: Mid-Duty Boots

by: The Backpacker Editors, Photos by Julia Vandenoever

Best All-Around
Scarpa Kailash GTX Normally we advise against heading out on a three-day trip with a 45-pound pack in brand-new boots. But that's exactly what our tester did with these mid-cuts, and afterward he said they were instantly comfortable–with a last that seemed custom-made for his foot. Suede uppers soften up immediately, and moderate forefoot flex gives the Kailash a smooth toe-off on trails. Yet the midsole has sufficient cushion and stiffness that his feet didn't fatigue even on seven-hour days. And they breathed well for waterproof midweights: "My socks weren't even damp after hours under a hot sun with temps in the 80s," he said. Best for medium-volume feet. $169; 2 lbs. 12 oz.

Best Buy
Keen Targhee II Mid
From Denali National Park to the Cascades and Tetons, testers loved these mids for long trail miles with loads up to 35 pounds. Like other Keens we've used, the fit is comfortably close from heel through midfoot and roomy in the toe box (which testers with bunions appreciated). We like the underfoot cushion, notched collar to prevent Achilles rub, and support for high arches. Traction proved solid on all surfaces except snow, where the boots skated easily. Waterproofing is reliable in most conditions, but one tester soaked the Targhees through while post-holing in Yellowstone snow–we don't recommend subjecting the boots to that, or to serious off-trail travel. Some women may want to go up a half-size. Best for medium- to high-volume feet. $120; 2 lbs. 2 oz.

Best Women's Fit
Asolo Attiva GTX
Testers bashed these mid-cuts over 400 miles in the Colorado Rockies, carrying 45-plus pounds, and gushed about the boot's instant, all-day comfort. They noted the supportive heel cup, lacing that permitted fine-tuning fit, and good flex combined with torsional rigidity off-trail. After a 15-mile day that ended with a downpour, one tester said, "When I reached camp, my feet felt so good I didn't need to immediately take my boots off." The outsole is sticky enough for talus-hopping and teetering along knife-edge ridges, but it's a little squishy for edging. Waterproofing is solid, if not exceptionally breathable. The fabric-leather uppers barely showed wear after all that hard mileage. Best for slightly narrow, low- to medium-volume feet. (Guys, get the same all-around performance from the Flame GTX.) $190; 2 lbs. 4 oz.

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Reader Rating: -


lone star.a.t.10
Mar 02, 2011

I finished the Appalachian Trail in the same pair of Keen Targhee II Mids I started with. Yeah, they were shot. But they were damn comfortable! Would like to see a Vibram deep lug sole as apposed to the slick carbon rubber. I think that would do alot with the sole separation issues also.

Nov 29, 2009

I got my aku suiterra injected GTX from .. the aku website it

Mar 11, 2009

I still have my OneSport Moraines... Best boots I've ever owned or tried.

I'm disappointed to see one positive review after another though... It leaves the impression that the reviewers are afraid of offending an advertiser.

Trey Porter
Jan 04, 2009

I have low volume feet and have found Montrails to be a good fit, and adequate quality. I also have ridgid flat feet (the really bad kind of flat feet) and the Montrail GTX Classic (not "Classic" when I bought them) have lended great support. I also have the circulation problems that many low-volume feet have. I find that lacing around the (Dorsalis pedis - mid tongue) AND a tongue pad helps distibute the pressure.

mark zele
Oct 01, 2008

Ratings boots that can not be purchase makes no sense. AKU website is in French, toll free number 877 864-7249 is disconnected and no major distributors on East coast such as Campmor or Easter Mountain Store have them in stock. Don't forget boots you have to try first.

Danny Helfen
May 08, 2008

I used to have a pair of One Sport Moraines. Are the Montrail Helium comporable to the Moranes?

Ana C
May 03, 2008

Does anybody know where to buy AKU Suiterra injected GTX?

Apr 22, 2008

Keen Targhee II Mid absoute rubbish, they leak like a seive and the lugs come off the sole, comfortable? Yes. Practical? NO! I have sent 3 pair back

Rich Dubiel
Apr 21, 2008

Thanks for nothing. What about people (men) with low volume feet?!

Rich Dubiel


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