Gear Guide 2012: Scarpa Kinesis/Mythos Pro GTX Boot

With a tough exterior and gentle inside, these boots protect feet from rough terrain while offering comfort and support.

[big-trip boot]

The invasive Russian olive trees that overrun many Southwest riparian areas are notorious for shredding human skin and hiking boots with their four-inch-long, nail-like thorns. But the Kinesis (Mythos is the women’s version) was unfazed by the ruthless plant, reports one tester who wore it on an eight-day removal project along Utah’s Escalante River canyon.

“My colleagues were getting stabbed left and right, but I just bashed over and through the thorny bastards,” he says. Credit the 2.8-millimeter-thick, one-piece, full-grain leather upper, tall collar (three inches above the ankle bone), stiff toecap, and an inch-wide rubber rand that encircles the boot. The equally hardcore sole is comprised of a rigid, full-length shank and a dual-density PU midsole that protects feet from rough terrain, and has the support and shock absorption to handle big-trip loads.

“I carried a 55-pound pack, plus an awkward 20-pound chainsaw, down rocky, off-trail canyon slopes,” says our Escalante tester. “More than once, these boots saved me from twisting an ankle.” The Gore-Tex-lined Kinesis was also stellar when worn with instep crampons on winter hikes in three feet of snow in Arizona’s San Francisco Peaks.

Given the beefy exterior, it’s surprisingly gentle inside, thanks to a memory foam pocket that conforms around the heel and Achilles, and a soft, padded collar and tongue that cushion as the legs flex. “I usually get heel blisters with boots this stiff, but the padded interior hugged the back of my foot and prevented chafing,” reports another tester. $299; 3 lbs. 12 oz.; m’s 40-48, w’s 37-42;

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