Model: Alterra GTX
Our take A big boot like this usually means one thing: lots of flat-footed Frankenstein walking before the sole loosens up. With precious little time for break-in, our test team had some misgivings about comfort—but then one of our crew got lost in Glacier National Park and did an accidental 21-miler in a brand-new pair. The results were astounding: not even a hot spot. The keys are AKU’s anatomically shaped, gender-specific lasts and outsoles that cradle the foot laterally. AKU claims the tech reduces foot strain and fatigue on long hikes, which our testers affirmed. We felt confident under 35-pound loads trekking through the Colombian highlands and bagging peaks in Colorado.
The details Tiny, rotating pulleys on the eyelets allow for even pressure among laces. A single pull tightens the laces all the way down to the toe. A gaiter-like cuff keeps pebbles, dust, and drizzle out.
Trail cred “The Alterras required about as much break-in time as a pair of bedroom slippers but took a beating like combat boots,” our tester says. “With a perfect fit right out of the box, they made for a very pleasant, blister-free maiden voyage. They were agile enough for slick stream crossings, but rugged enough to do battle with boulderfields in Colorado’s Front Range.”