Testers reported excellent cushioning from the Gore-Tex-lined Verbera Hiker. Our PCT hiker-in-training climbed up Colorado peaks with a 35-pound pack and a spring in her step thanks to a thick EVA midsole, extra insole padding in the heel and forefoot, and the rockered outsole. All testers loved the out-of-box comfort and fit. Gripe: Male testers wanted more support with loads over 30 pounds. $180; 3 lbs.; m’s 7-14, w’s 5-11; thenorthface.com
Barbara Weiss: Sturdy and comfy all in one. Full of sole, these boots grip well on wet, slick terrain. They felt light enough on my feet to make a run down Dog Mountain in the Columbia River Gorge a pleasant experience. Great for longer day hikes or short weekend backpacks.
Walter Keutel: Soft, comfortable, light. Kept me dry on snow—just don’t try kicking into hard snow! The lacing, which goes through folds of leather and loops and around hooks of metal, is less than efficient though it gets the job done when you work with it a little. All good—except that there are some first signs of wear after little use.
Shayla Paradeis: The fit wasn’t as comfy as the Lowa Focus GTX QC, but the support is superior to all the others. It’s a good looker too! I could see myself buying some of these for my next big adventure.
Ted Alvarez: These were not my favorites. Tight around the ankle cuff but not enough support in forefoot. The materials degraded noticeably, with the wear they took after a few good hikes. They felt imprecise for walking across logs. It looks like they may be an online bargain, with a trade-off in durability.