Gear Guide 2009: Patagonia Karakoram Boot Review

Use and abuse this tough, low-cut, and lightweight boot by Patagonia.

Tough and Versatile

Thrashing through thorny desert vegetation and abrasive rock on rough scrambles at Nevada’s Red Rock Canyon can quickly trash shoes. But not these tough low-cuts: After three days of battling gnarly approach routes to the climbing crags, our tester reported, “My shoes still look new–except for being very, very dusty.” Credit the tough, polyurethane-coated suede uppers and a rubber rand extending past the arch.

Quite supportive for its weight, the Karakoram held up when a tester lugged a 40-pound climbing pack, yet was very comfortable when he was striding on the trail. To-the-toes lacing and an outsole that’s flush with the uppers give the shoe good sensitivity for edging and smearing. But choose it for cooler climates: The upper is only moderately breathable. Best for medium-volume, slightly wide feet. $110; 1 lb. 15 oz.

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