From the snowy San Francisco Peaks to the muddy North Cascades to the epically wet Welsh highlands, the common reaction among testers to these Gore-Tex all-leather hikers was: “very waterproof.” And this well-priced high-cut has other qualities seen in boots that cost at least $40 more, including good ankle support on mucky trail and steep slickrock; a reassuringly stiff midsole that can handle 40 to 50 pounds easily; a firm heel cup that keeps feet locked in place; and leather exoskeletal reinforcements extending from the heel to the cuff.
Best of all: It’s stiff in the right places–namely, from heel to arch–with a more supple flex in the forefoot than many leather models in this category. That gives it a slightly softer feel over miles of walking. But take note: These boots are definitely for cooler temps, and the lugs skate on wet rock. Best for narrow to average, medium-volume feet. $190; 3 lbs. 2 oz. Thenorthface.com