Editors' Choice Snow 2014: Hanwag Omega GTX Mountaineering Boot

Hikers with hard-to-fit feet will love these customizable boots.

Perfect feet? As if there were such a thing. Maybe yours are a weird shape and prone to heel friction. Maybe your toenails get mashed on downhills. We’ve been feeling that pain for years, especially in heavy mountaineering boots. “For me, moleskin was the 11th essential on winter trips, and I never liked removing my boots and exposing my toes to the cold so I could fix my heels,” one editor says. “Now, I don’t have to.” Hanwag’s approach is two-pronged: Customize boot volume and stabilize any heel. Out of the box, the Gore-Tex, full-grain leather Omegas have two insole options and two tongue options that let you dial in fit across the forefoot and ankle. The excellent fit results in tremendous stability, says a tester, even under 50-pound winter loads on Mt. Rainier and a handful of Colorado winter Fourteeners. (Microfleece resulted in warm toes down to -10&degF.) Get a custom fit in the heel by bending the external metal bar that sits across the Achilles. “I hiked 9 miles round-trip, gaining 4,500 feet on a winter ascent of Colorado’s high point, and didn’t get a single blister,” he says. “That’s absolutely unheard of for me.” Tradeoff: Yeah, they’re heavy, but as those with chronic blisters know, a little extra weight is a happy compromise for pain-free mountaineering. $500; 5 lbs. 14 oz. (m’s 12);