Our Take For big miles and heavy packs, a boot with a little extra structure is a godsend, but you wouldn’t want to wear it for dayhikes if it’s too stiff. We’ll happily take the Sapuen anywhere, though. This boot is supportive yet light, thanks to a corrugated sheet of shape-retaining steel that acts as a combination shank and rock plate. The steel runs the full length of the EVA midsole to boost torsional stability without sacrificing toe-to-heel flexibility. A high ankle retains some flex and extra padding on the inside of the cuff adds comfort over the Achilles. All those factors made toting a 45-pound pack no problem on a trip in Olympic National Park, and we finished the 15-mile trek with fresh feet.
The Details A mesh panel above the toe box kept the Sapuen cool and comfortable when the thermometer ticked as high as 80°F, and the Gore-Tex waterproof membrane easily handled puddles and rain in the notoriously damp Olympic shoulder season. The suede leather-and-fabric upper held up to a season of backpacking as well. Bonus: All that comes at less than $200.
m’s 7.5-13.5, w’s 5-10