Scarpa Barun GTX
It’s rare for a boot to get a near-perfect score in a BACKPACKER field test, but this nubuck suede model managed the feat with an amazingly balanced performance: It earned the field’s top marks for support and stability under big loads, and the highest score for out-of-the-box comfort. The polypropylene midsole is the stiffest in the test (good for heavy loads and edging), but the graduated flex and pronounced rocker (curve) make for natural striding. The high, snug-fitting cuff kept testers’ ankles stable even in rooty, slippery conditions on Vermont’s Long Trail and rocky ravines in New Hampshire’s Presidentials. The traditional square-lugged tread shed mud and gripped well on all types of terrain, and the Gore-Tex membrane kept our feet dry. Fit favors medium to wide feet, but not one tester–regardless of foot shape or volume–reported toe bang or heel slip. Credit pivoting lace loops and ankle lacing hooks that are easy to tighten and that help customize volume, combined with ankle "cutouts" that relieve pressure on climbs and let you cinch the lacing without pinching. Our only gripe: The sole is so stiff it can feel a bit clunky when you roll off your toe at the end of a stride. $219; 3 lbs. 7 oz.; men’s 38–47, 48; women’s 36–43. (303) 998-2895; scarpa.com.
Big-Trip Boots: Trail BlazersGet maximum support, traction, and protection without wafflestomper weight or break-in. Welcome to the new breed of all-terrain, any-load boots.