AKU Lagorai GTX
Big-load boots don’t get any more slipperlike. As one tester noted, "Wear them for a while and the cuff will soften, the forefoot will give slightly, and they’ll conform to your foot as if they were custom made." Credit the super-soft leather in the ankle and tongue, which was easy on our ankle bones even when we laced the boots tight for downhills. Testers scrambled the slippery, slimy Great Range in Adirondack Park and then picked their way around the crumbly desert Southwest, and in all conditions reported great traction and ankle support. Underfoot protection is rock solid, thanks to the stiff nylon shank, but shock absorption is minimal; some testers reported sore feet after extra long days. The Lagorai’s lace hooks extend farther toward the toe than most models, which helps accommodate a wider range of foot shapes. It also makes them easier to get on and off, and you can open them wide to speed drying. A Gore-Tex liner provides total waterproofing. Scramblers beware: The lack of a protective rubber toe rand allowed excessive wear on the leather. Best for medium-volume, medium-width feet. $210; 3 lbs. 8 oz.; men’s 7–13; women’s 5–10. (877) 864-7249; akunorthamerica.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.