Gear Review: Zamberlan 4041 Expert Pro GT RR

Sturdy yet light, this boot is great for the most extreme day hikes.

Extreme Day Trips On winter climbs of Mts. Haystack, Marcy, and Colden in New York's Adirondack High Peaks, this boot's pronounced rocker (curvature of the sole that promotes easy striding) and soft forward flex let our tester walk comfortably with a 45-pound pack. Yet it still had the rigidity needed to crampon up steep slopes. The stiffness comes from a polypropylene and fiberglass underfoot plate, which is supplemented with a full plastic shank; it's ultra-supportive without being heavy. "The high, reinforced cuffs paired with a double-layer, Velcro-adjustable tongue gave me excellent stability in ankle-twisting ice chunks," says our tester.

On the downhills, the Achilles notch alleviated pressure, and the zonal lacing let her snug up the ankles and cuff without overtightening the forefoot. Beautifully crafted from the thickest, finest Italian leather available, this mountaineering boot gives you as much sensitivity as you can get with a boot this stiff, which made it easy for our tester to keep the Knife Edge Ridge of Mt. Katahdin securely beneath her feet. The Gore-Tex Duratherm insulation kept our tester's feet warm below zero, and bone dry while crossing glacier-cold alpine streams in Colorado. While this is a very warm boot, it's best for day or hut trips, because there's no liner to pull out and dry in your sleeping bag; our testers found that the inside stayed wet once dampened with perspiration. Fits medium to wide feet best. $399; 4 lbs. 11 oz.; men's 8-13; zamberlan.com