[light and breathable]
Though it’s the lightest boot in our test (thanks to large Cordura inlays in the upper), the Gore-Tex-lined Garnet earned props for its comfort and protection. One Washington tester sloshed them through waterfalls and creeks in temps from the 30s to the 80s, and said “My feet were cozy and warm but not sweaty and wet.” Gripe: Testers wished for better traction on mud, wet wood, and slimy rocks. $200; 2 lbs. 12 oz.; m’s 38-47, w’s 36-43; sportiva.com
Barbara Weiss: These boots are confidence boosters on steep, muddy terrain. Wore these on several wet, cold, muddy hikes. My feet stayed dry and comfy. Flexible lacing system allows you to easily tighten up for the downhill so no problem with toes rubbing. Great dayhikers under a light pack.
Walter Keutel: A good balance between support and weight. Stiff enough to protect your feet and prevent bruised ankles. Allow some time for breaking them in. Good traction on loose, dry rock because of the shallow, beveled lugs.
Shayla Paradeis: These didn’t fit my feet the best, because I have high arches, but I did appreciate the breathability and low weight. I think they’re best for narrow feet and hot hikes when you want to move fast.
Ted Alvarez: These were infallible on a positively sloshed hike/climb in Wallace Falls State Park in the central Cascades. Given the weight savings, this is a great boot for long miles and mellow conditions; not exactly technical enough for tight scrambles, but if you want solid comfort and bomber waterproof at low weight (for a full-service boot), this is a great pick. Fat gussets were kind of tough to tuck when lacing—but I guess that’s what kept the water out? I wiggled around a little inside the boot on account of the squishy feel, so not wonderful for off-trail scrambling.