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Gear Guide 2012: Heavy Duty Boots/Shoes

These heavy duty boots provide great stability, support and solid weather protection, allowing you to tackle any terrain in any condition.

La Sportiva Omega GTX
After hiking Lower Wolfjaw and Hurricane Mountains, one seasoned tester in the Adirondacks had high praise for the Gore-Tex-lined, full-grain leather Omega: “superstable, grippy, and stiff, yet incredibly lightweight.” The Vibram soles held on wet, slippery, steep rock and roots, even light ice. Best for low-volume feet; order a half size larger for comfort. $280; 2 lbs. 14 oz.; sportiva.com

L.L.Bean Katahdin Hiker Gore-Te
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A good value for a quality boot that can carry monster loads, these waterproof, all-leather hikers feel like others that cost twice as much. The six-inch-high ankle, Gore-Tex liner and well-padded, gusseted tongue provide solid weather protection. Fit favors high-volume feet. $139; 3 lbs. 2 oz.; llbean.com

LOWA Ticam GTX
Deep Alaska snow, class 3 scrambling, and a whole lot of rain were no match for one diehard tester wearing the Ticams from the box to the trail—no break-in required. “They worked flawlessly climbing Odyssey Mountain, where I plowed through the snow to the summit with completely dry feet and full protection from exposed rocks.” $350; 4 lbs. 3 oz.; lowaboots.com

Oboz Beartooth BDry
These built-up, high-cut boots are good for hikers who carry heavy loads and like heel-hugging stability on and off-trail. One tester wore these climbing steep terrain on Chile’s San Pedro Volcano over loose dirt, scree, rock, and snow, with and without crampons, and experienced great support and stability the entire way. Best for wide, high-volume feet. $200; 3 lbs. 13 oz.; obozfootwear.com

Scarpa Zanskar GTX/Hunza GTX
For serious backcountry roamers who have a thing for tall, beautiful Italian boots, these high and stiff, but comfortable, nubuck Scarpas fit the bill. “I stayed dry and happy while snowshoeing in 30°F weather,” says one Colorado tester who was nursing a sore foot. “And while bushwhacking in Colorado’s Roosevelt National Forest, I found the traction and support excellent over rough ice, scree, and rock outcroppings.” $259; 3 lbs. 2 oz.; scarpa.com

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