Brand: Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC)
Model: Purcell 2 Backpacking Boots
Testers usually prefer all-terrain mountain boots like these only for big-load, multiday trips. But the Khumbus are so comfortable that testers also chose them for dayhikes. Says one: “Unlike with some burly hikers, making the morning transition from camp shoes to these boots was easy.”
Credit a design that promotes comfortable walking without compromising protection. Our tester reports that ticking off miles in Rocky Mountain National Park was a breeze thanks to the boot’s slight rocker, low weight (for the category), and flex point at the ball. But it’s still plenty rigid for off-trail travel.
The boot’s full-length PU shank and EVA shock pads under the heel and ball provided all-day comfort on rock slabs and boulder fields in Pikes Peak Wilderness.
Deep lugs and a well-defined heel provide braking on dicey slopes. The 1.8-mm-thick suede upper protected against stones but molded to the foot. And they’re dry, thanks to a Gore-Tex liner, full rubber rand* (which seals upper to sole and prevents abrasion), and a snug collar that kept out rain, slush, and snow on weeklong Rockies peakbagging trips. $285; 3 lbs. 4 oz.; m’s 7-14, w’s 6-11; asolo.com/
*RAND A protective band—often rubber or synthetic leather—that wraps around the boot’s lower perimeter and increases abrasion resistanceClean design matched with quality construction makes these a superb value for budget-conscious backpackers looking for a pair of versatile boots. This second generation features more room in the forefoot area for your toes.