The boots we received reflect the opportunities and challenges facing designers. Recycled fabrics, bio-based materials like bamboo, and designs that ease resoling or recycling hold great promise. But some carbon costs remain opaque; several companies, for instance, could not determine what kind of energy their factories use. Cooler says the choice between wind, nuclear, and coal can create variances of up to 10 percent, which is why we graded the boots on a scale rather than assigning specific numerical scores.
The good news is that the boots all achieved a 25 percent or greater reduction versus the typical leather midweight. And as the reviews demonstrate, they did it without sacrificing trail performance. And the winners are: