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Backpacker Magazine – March 2008

March 2008 Boots Review: Mid-Duty Boots

by: The Backpacker Editors, Photos by Julia Vandenoever

Montrail Helium GTX
Backpacking a section of Mt. Rainier's Wonderland Trail that was severely damaged by record flooding, our Northwest editor encountered steep, crumbling gullies, a dense bushwhack, and riverbeds strewn with truck-size boulders and enormous trees. Fortunately, this boot had the support to get him through with a 35-pound pack on board, and it delivered solid traction on a variety of slick and unstable surfaces. "On a stretch of trail that the backcountry rangers tried to discourage us from hiking, it was reassuring to be in a boot that could handle anything," he said. Even with heavier loads, the Helium felt light and nimble enough for fast striding. The tough synthetic uppers promise several seasons of hard use. Best for medium- to high-volume feet. $220; 3 lbs. 1 oz.

Best Fit for Wide Feet
Montrail Torre GTX Wide This classic leather mid-cut now comes in a wide version. Our resident paddle-footed editor reports: "Fit was out-of-the-box comfortable even with big loads, and the Torre gets high marks for stability and the tongue's clean, debris-repelling wrap." With a soft heel strike, the Torre went easy on his feet on the talus-covered route over Colorado's Snowmass Mountain and Capitol Peak, yet the stiff midsole protected his soles and provided support for heavy loads. "It'll handle any load on trail and maybe 50 pounds off-trail," he said. The Gore-Tex liner kept his feet dry through all-day rain. The sole's deep, angled lugs bite into the slickest surfaces and shed mud readily. Weakness: mediocre edging. Best for wide, medium-volume feet. $160; 2 lbs. 12 oz.

Tecnica Krypton GTX
"These midweights are for hikers who want one boot to handle hardcore dayhikes, moderate-load backpacking trips, and occasional off-trail routes," said our tester after trips in Colorado's Front Range. The padded ankle collar provided excellent support for his weak joints on rocky trails and scrambles, yet the Krypton didn't feel clunky on fast-paced trail outings. He reported good stability on uneven terrain, even with a 35-pound pack. Patches of synthetic fabric on the upper enhance the breathability of the Gore-Tex-lined boots. The Vibram sole grips well on most surfaces, and a rubber toe cap protects the upper's suede leather. Best for medium-volume feet. The Ozone GTX is the women's version. $165; 2 lbs. 8 oz.

Zamberlan Tundra GT
Here's a rare find: An all-leather mid-cut with great fit and classic construction that weighs less than 3 pounds and costs well under $200. "It's much lighter and feels faster than a traditional leather boot," our tester said after a 24-mile hike in Idaho's Sawtooth Wilderness. Credit a midsole with more flex than in traditional leather midweights, and an ankle height that's slightly lower than average. Waterproofing is impeccable, and traction reliable. Our tester reported a sure grip even on greasy logs crossing the Queens River. Best for medium-volume feet. $180; 2 lbs. 13 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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