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LL BEAN - Men's Trail Model Hiker Mid

A superlight boot for high-mileage speedhikers
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LL BEAN Men’s Trail Model Hiker Mid

Fastpacker
A high-mileage, high-speed boot needs to have enough support to prevent foot fatigue, low weight and low bulk to enhance agility, and a tread that grips without tripping you up. The Cirrus GTX nails ’em all. After a 20-mile day in Vermont’s Green Mountains, one tester said, “On the trail, the low-profile tread never snagged roots or debris, and bit into everything but ice.”

Rather than chunky lugs, the outsole has rows of double dashes cut into the rubber. The Cirrus is also exceptionally stable for a fastpacker, thanks to an X-shaped external heel cup that extends to just behind the ankle, as well as a TPU shank that provides torsional rigidity. A deep Achilles cutout provides a huge range of motion for extra nimbleness. That, plus a shock-absorbing EVA midsole, let one tester run these shoes down Tunnel Mountain in the Canadian Rockies.

The Gore-Tex waterproof/breathable liner functioned exceptionally well in conjunction with the durable nylon mesh upper, keeping testers’ feet dry in sloppy autumn rain, but never getting hot and sweaty in mild temps. Angel-hair-thin laces tie into the midsole. Most testers got a snug wrap, but others felt the laces loosened too easily, leading to heel-slip and blisters. $149; 1 lb. 15 oz.; m’s 7-15, w’s 5-10

 

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