Editors' Choice: Timberland Cadion Mid GTX XCR

Get killer ankle and underfoot support in an ultralight hiking boot.

Sometimes it’s agony deciding what footwear to bring on a trip. Do you go with a featherweight shoe to eat up the miles, or a beefier boot to support your ankles and arches? Should it be waterproof for carefree creek crossings, or breathable for all-day comfort? Should it have solid midsole protection for cobble and boulder-bashing in dry streambeds, or lots of forefoot flex and a grippy sole for frictioning up slickrock slabs?

Well, stop agonizing. We’ve finally found a boot that can do it all. The Cadion’s trim upper is made from a light, abrasion-resistant Schoeller material welded to a plastic urethane rand for toe and sidefoot protection. The Gore-Tex XCR lining is waterproof, yet breathes well enough that things never get too steamy.

Perhaps the Cadion’s best feature is its ankle support. “The cuff is high and rigid enough that I can balance on one foot on top of the tippiest rock and not worry about twisting my trick ankle,” says one editor. “It’s amazingly supportive, considering how light it is.” The cuff’s padding is memory foam–similar to the stuff found in high-end mattresses–and it cradles an ankle like an Ace bandage. The foam conforms to the foot, then slowly returns to its original state when the boot is removed. The forming process happens again and again each time you put on the boot, resulting in a total absence of pressure points and fresh padding and support with each wearing.

More good news: There’s zero break-in time. We ripped open the boxes, laced them up, belted into our packs, and started walking. And if that’s not enough for a boot that weighs only about a pound per foot, the Cadion is also crampon-compatible (a Viesturs touch). The svelte shape is ideal for low to mid-volume feet.

Price: $140

Weight: 1 lb. 14 oz