It’s rare to find a burly boot that’s ideal for long days, big loads, and rough terrain—but doesn’t beat up my feet. Yet the stiff and well-armored Verbera, with ample cushioning underfoot and padded calf-leather at the cuff, delivered comfort and protection on rough granite terrain in the Trinity Alps. A TPU arch shank proved stable and supportive for off-trail scrambling with a 45-pound load. The full-grain leather upper has a hydrophobic treatment that works better than most, preventing the Gore-Tex-lined boots from absorbing water during repeated stream crossings. Gripe: The insoles dyed my socks red. $260; 3 lbs. 10 oz. (10.5); m’s 7-14, w’s 5-11; thenorthface.com
Carrying heavy loads for extended trips in rough terrain
» Dan Larson (other tester: Annette McGivney)
» Duration March to Oct.
» Locales/conditions CA, NM, OR; 40°F to 103°F, melting snow, on- and off-trail
» “The fit is roomy but not loose, with a solid-gripping heel cup and wide toebox.”