Even before our female testers saw the incredibly reasonable price tag, they had already declared their love for this instantly comfortable, stable boot. The foam-padded, pigskin cuff supported testers’ ankles and kept out dust, dirt, rocks, and debris—but never rubbed, despite no Achilles cutout. “The leather lining conformed to every curve of my foot, and allowed me to comfortably crank down the laces,” says our gear editor, who wore them for a week in Capitol Reef National Park.
“And the underfoot protection was excellent for such a light boot,” she reported after miles of stone hopping down dry washes. Credit the compressed EVA shock-dispersal plate in the forefoot and the arch-wrapping TPU shank. Firmer cylinders of EVA in the midsole absorb all-day trail pounding and enhanced testers’ balance by keeping their feet stable. The oiled-leather upper never wet out, and the eVent liner made this boot totally waterproof but not sweaty, even in 80°F temps.
On a rocky, loose trail up Emory Peak in Texas’s Chisos Mountains, the boots’ Vibram sole proved nimble for scrambling, and on snow-dusted Utah slickrock it had “gecko traction.” Abrasion-resistant synthetic rands* prevent wear in the heel and toe area, and break-in is nil. $130; 1 lb. 14 oz. (7); w’s 6-11