Brand: New Balance
Model: New Balance Rainier 1500
Get the reliable waterproofing and ankle protection of a midcut for the price of a low-cut. “These shoes never leaked, even when I stood in a stream while lending a hand to my hiking companions,” reports one Maine-based tester.
Columbia’s Omni-Tech waterproof/breathable membrane proved totally reliable, and the relatively high ankles prevented water from sneaking over the top. But the Pole Creek isn’t just a wet-weather shoe. The nylon mesh-and-nubuck leather upper helped the membrane breathe on hot days, too. After a hike in Sedona, Arizona, one tester said, “My feet never felt clammy or sweaty.” Rubber reinforcements in the toe, heel, and ankle add wear protection and stiffen the upper for stability. Underfoot, the Pole Creek has closed-cell foam—denser and reportedly more durable than standard EVA at the same low weight. (We can confirm the cushion, but we didn’t have our samples long enough to test long-term midsole durability; watch for a report in a later issue.)
Underfoot support is adequate for light loads and moderate terrain. Pronators beware: Lugs extend a bit beyond the sole on the outer edge of the boot—great for traction, but they can roll your foot slightly inward, especially if you’re prone to it. $120; 2 lbs. 6 oz.; m’s 7-15A stable and durable hiking boot built for multi-day hiking trips and travelling with a pack, the Rainier 1500 features a unique combination of athletic fit and comfort combined with all the necessary outdoor features such as a GORE-TEX® upper and Vibram® Trek Rubber outsole. A monogusset tongue construction keeps debris out of the shoe and reduces the potential number of irritation points in the collar. Lace locking hardware at the flex notch and the top eyelet provide for an adjustable yet secure fit. PU-coated leather along the mud guard ensures protection and durability while full grain leather throughout the rest of the upper offers natural comfort and flexibility.