Gear Guide 2009: La Sportiva FC 3.0 Boot Review

Expect heavy-duty performance in this lightweight hiking boot by La Sportiva.

Best Buy

"This shoe handled the kind of abuse we typically reserve for a heavy-duty boot," our tester reported after a rugged, largely cross-country hike through the High Sierra. Despite the big-boot stability, support, and protection, the FC 3.0 has the instant comfort and nimble feel of a lightweight dayhiking shoe. Sportiva achieves this by varying the density (read: stiffness) of the EVA midsole and the boot's flex: "It felt good even after hard 10-hour days carrying 30 pounds," said one tester.

The Gore-Tex liner kept feet dry, and the outsole bit into packed dirt while offering scrambling-shoe stickiness on talus. Lastly, the construction is superior for this category: You get smooth, secure lacing; a padded tongue that never migrates; and stitching that shows little wear after miles of rock-bashing. Best for low- to medium-volume feet. $150; 2 lbs. 8 oz.
Sportiva.com