Scarpa Kailash GTX, Zamberlan 298 Tundra GT, LOWA Focus GTX Mid/Focus GTX QC (Photo by Ben Fullerton)
“These are great for people who tackle big miles with substantial packs,” says one Oregon mountaineer who wallowed through deep mud and snow on the steep Ruckel Creek and Ruckel Ridge Trails in the Columbia River Gorge. “A 45-pound pack, hours of snow, and 3,700 feet of elevation gain in 9 miles: no problem,” he says. All testers raved about the comfort of the mostly nubuk leather, Gore-Tex-lined Tundra. “I wore them as camp shoes, even after a long day,” says one.
“The supple leather gives, like it’s been worked or massaged, but it’s thick and substantial enough to provide solid protection, even in the toebox.” Says another: “They conformed beautifully to my feet almost instantly, and the underfoot cushion feels decadent.” Testers appreciated the details of fine Italian craftsmanship, like the perfectly sculpted padding around the anklebone and the way the bellows tongue folds smoothly into the one-piece leather upper. “I’m typically not a big fan of boots that are primarily leather, because I find synthetic fabrics more breathable,” another tester said after enduring rain, ice, snow, and mud on Colorado’s 9,237-foot Emerald Mountain.
“But the four small Cordura mesh windows let heat escape so my feet stayed plenty dry.” Testers agreed that their feet felt armored in these boots, thanks to the supportive and well-contoured heel pocket (which is reinforced with hard plastic TPU), a stiff but cushioned PU midsole, and a durable Vibram tread. $240; 2 lbs. 14 oz.; m’s 40-48, w’s 37-43; zamberlanusa.com