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Gear Review: Columbia Firelane Mid Boot

This midcut hiker is great for wet conditions.
august 09 columbia firelane mid 445x260Columbia Fireland Mid (www.sethhughes.com)

Best for Wet

A midcut waterproof hiker for less than $100? Believe it. Testers appreciated the Firelane’s enhanced ankle support and weather protection on snow-and-mud hikes in Vermont and Oregon, as well as on tricky scree in Arizona. The suede-and-mesh upper was quick to conform to testers’ feet, offering near-instant trail comfort. The proprietary waterproof membrane makes it less breathable than the other shoes here, but testers said the Firelane never got excessively hot, even in warm desert weather. On rocky surfaces, the lugs gripped well and the EVA midsole offered springy cushion.

But, like the Scarpa, the flexier forefoot decreased protection and stability on technical trails, especially when we carried bigger-than-daypack loads. Though it was the highest-cut boot in the test, the Firelane lacks a top speed lace hook and has a short tongue; that makes it hard to cinch tight on steep descents, which resulted in toe bang.

Biggest concern: durability. After three months of testing, leather and stitching suffered more wear than the other shoes showed after similar use.

Best for: medium-volume, medium-width feet.
Sizes men’s 7-12, 13, 14, 15; women’s (Ashlane Mid) 5-11, 12

Weight 2 lbs.
Price $95
Info columbia.com

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