“This is a carry-anything backpacking boot disguised as a light hiker,” says one tester, who typically humps 50-pound loads in higher-cut, heavier-weight boots. All that gumption comes from a midsole that’s borrowed from Lowa’s burlier boots. A full-length nylon shank provides stiffness underfoot, and a dense PU midsole gives long-lasting shock absorption. A one-inch-thick PU pad lies under the heel for extra cushion in this all-important strike zone.
Compared to the other shoes in the test, which have spongier, more compressible EVA midsoles, the Tempest has rigid underfoot support that kept sharp rocks from poking through, even when testers shouldered up to 55 pounds on the rugged Tanner Wash route. One tester put the Tempest “through hell” on a multiday off-trail route down to Lava Falls; the shoe’s double-stitched, split-grain leather protected him against knife-edged boulders, though after 25 miles the relentless abrasion caused damage to the stitching on the outside edge of the toe area. (Note: No other shoe endured this level of punishment.)
Despite the stiffness of the sole and upper, one tester wore the Tempest straight out of the box on a 30-mile backpacking trip down the Hermit Trail and didn’t get a single blister. Fit favors low- to mid-volume feet; consider going up a half size.
Price $135 Weight 2 lbs. 4 oz. Sizes men’s 7.5-14; women’s 5.5-10.5 Infolowaboots.com