Brand: L.L. Bean
Model: Men's Gore-Tex Fabric Leather Cresta Hiker
“Get this all-purpose midweight and save enough money to buy some sweet merino socks—maybe several pairs,” said one tester after wearing this Gore-Tex-lined, fabric-and-leather midcut for five days in Denali National Park. The Zenith doesn’t sacrifice technical ingredients to achieve the head-turning price, and it’s even lightweight for the support. The trick? First, the asymmetrical cuff that mirrors the offset positioning of your ankle bones: It’s higher on the medial (inner) side than the lateral (outer) side, which creates the feeling—and performance—of a higher cut boot.
Second, a full-length plastic shank is nestled in the midsole. Not only does it provide excellent underfoot protection, it’s articulated under the toes to facilitate easy striding, and it wraps around the sides of the foot for bomber stability. Garmont shaved weight by threading to-the-toe lacing alternately through webbing lace loops and the leather upper, using heavier metal hardware only on the upper cuff. And when our tester jumped into Glacier Creek to chase down his partner’s dropped gear, water poured in over his boot tops, but the Zenith dried in a couple of hours.
Multiple testers applauded the roomy toebox combined with a snug-fitting midfoot. “When I cinched the lacing tight, this boot was secure even while sidehilling,” reports a California tester. Wide-spaced, low-profile lugs on the Vibram sole gave the Zenith “excellent traction on rain-slicked, ankle-twisting gravel bars and crumbly moraine when I was carrying an unwieldy, 40-pound load through Wrangell-St. Elias,” says one tester. Best for wide, higher-volume feet. $150; 3 lbs. 6 oz.; m’s 8-14Our most popular backpacking boots receive high praise from field testers for out-of-the-box comfort, performance and rugged construction. Full-grain-leather/fabric upper is durable and supportive for extended trips or day hikes. Waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex® lining keeps your feet dry and comfortable. Vibram® rubber sole offers reliable traction, especially on the downhill. Available in multiple widths. Imported. Fit best with heavyweight socks.
UPPER: LEATHER: WATERPROOF FULL GRAIN LEATHER –
FABRIC: “AIR 8000” NYLON (HIGHLY BREATHABLE CORDURA)
LINING: NYLON TRICOT W/GORE-TEX INNER BOOTIE LINER.
INNERSOLE: CONTOURED FOAM -REMOVABLE
ARCH SUPPORT: CONTOUR OF INNERSOLE
OUTSOLE: VIBRAM RUBBER- HIGH TRACTION PATTERN.
– NOT RESOLEABLE
SHANK: TAPERED THERMOPLASTIC NYLON INSOLE BOARD.
HEEL COUNTER: THERMOPLASTIC
LACES: 63″ FLAT, BRAIDED POLYESTER
EYELETS: 4 SETS (ANTI-CORROSIVE) STEEL D-RINGS; 1 SET DOUBLE-WIDE
STEEL LOCK HOOKS, 2 SETS STEEL SPEED LACE HOOKS.
END USE: BACKPACKING (FOR MOST LEVELS & CONDITIONS).
STRENUOUS DAY HIKING OVER RUGGED TERRAIN.
OTHER FEATURES: * FULLY GUSSETED TONGUE.
* THERMOPLASTIC REINFORCED TOE BOX.