Lowa Korba GTX
The highest compliment boots can get? Testers simply keep them on at the end of hard days. During back-to-back weeklong treks in Utah and California, that’s exactly what one tester did, calling the Korba "as comfortable as a dayhiker." Credit the shock-absorbing polyurethane midsole, which alleviates trail fatigue, and the well-shaped ankle cutouts that, like the Scarpa’s, relieve pressure and allow for full joint flex. The soft nubuck and Cordura upper is plenty supportive, and the padded cuff provides total lateral stability. Bonus: When the Korbas got saturated during Vermont’s mud season, the leather/synthetic upper absorbed less water than most all-leather models do, so they didn’t get as heavy and dried out more quickly. (The boot’s Gore-Tex membrane kept water from seeping through the upper to our feet.) The Korba’s lugged sole sheds trail gunk well and has good traction on all surfaces. Trivial but annoying: The laces frayed and were oddly too long. Best for medium-volume, narrow feet. $230; 3 lbs. 8 oz.; men’s 7–12, 13, 14; women’s 5.5–9. (888) 335-5692; lowaboots.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.