Brand: Chaco USA
Model: Hipthong Two Ecotread
Testers prized these all-leather boots for their tenacious traction, superior comfort, and midsole support. The Talus is built around a last with a narrow heel and a roomy forefoot, which proved comfortable for all foot types. “The padded collar and tongue wrapped around my feet and ankles like a bucket seat,” says one tester. He found the Talus supportive enough to carry loads up to 40 pounds, while keeping his feet warm, cozy, and dry despite long off-trail hikes through saltwater tide pools, blowing sand, and over rocky outcrops in Channel Islands National Park. “I immersed the uppers [which have a proprietary waterproof membrane] in ocean water repeatedly, and they never failed. Meanwhile, the synthetic mesh liner wicked moisture so my feet never got clammy, even with temps hitting 90℉.”
The Talus uses a new type of Vibram sole that has deep, chunky V-shaped lugs made of a soft, sticky rubber compound that felt springy like a trail runner and gripped wet surfaces better than other pairs in our test, but did show some early signs of wear (see Tech Talk, opposite). Our upstate New York tester, who hiked more than 400 miles in these boots in the high peaks of the Adirondacks, says: “They maintained grip at all speeds, on steep, wet, and rocky conditions, and even on snow-dusted ice.” The supple nubuck upper scuffs easily but quickly develops a nice patina. But beware sharp objects: One tester’s encounter with barbed wire tore a small hole in the boot’s toe, which lacks a protective rubber rand.
> Weight 2 lbs. 9 oz.
> Price $155
> Mens Sizes 7-15
> Womens Sizes 5-11
Built with Chaco’s ADDStride footbed for lasting arch support and body alignment, the EZ On collection features custom adjustable webbing uppers and a versatile slide-on alternative to our Z styles. The Ecotread outsoles are made with 25% recycled content.