Best support

Brand: Lowa

Model: Baldo GTX

Our take Alaska has some of the planet’s gnarliest terrain, so when our testers there laud a shoe for its toughness and support, we take notice. The Baldo’s PU midsole adds heft but is more durable than EVA, allowing one tester to carry a 50-pound load across loose scree and boulders on Hatcher Pass. The Baldo’s split leather-and-fabric upper has a high abrasion resistance, and crashed through bramble, ice, and jagged talus. “The upper and the tread barely look used,” said a tester after multiple 20-mile backpacking trips through Alaska’s Chugach State Park. Caveat: These are the heaviest boots in the test.

The details The Gore-Tex membrane did its job and kept out every drop of moisture during multiple stream crossings in Chugach National Forest. But breathability suffers: “I had to wring out my socks at the end of the day,” said our Alaska tester after a hike on a 65°F day.

Trail cred “Boots in this class usually take time to break in, but the Baldo’s inaugural voyage was a 10-mile day in the Chugach and I didn’t have so much as a hot spot,” says one tester, whose narrow feet often cause fit problems.

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