Brand: St. Elias GTX
[big trip boots]
Why I love them They’re light, comfortable out of the box, and they handled everything Alaska threw at them: ice and snow on Matanuska Glacier, deep mud in the Chugach, slippery boulders at Reed Lakes, and countless stream crossings on the Gold Mint Trail.
Support A stiff TPU instep shank and a super-durable EVA midsole combined with high-cut, amply padded ankles kept my feet armored and supported, even when I was lugging a 35-pound pack off-trail (they can easily handle up to 50 pounds).
Traction Multi-directional lugs and a pronounced heel brake deliver reliable grip on all surfaces: slickrock, scree slopes, wet rock, and muddy wash-outs.
Fave feature The weather-proofing. During one perpetually rainy weekend on Hatcher Pass, my feet were the only part of me that remained warm and dry, thanks to the minimally-seamed, all-leather upper and Gore-Tex lining.
Fit bonus Available in 3 widths. Tip: Medium feels a little narrow in the forefoot. $189; 3 lbs. 8 oz. (13); m’s 7-14; vasque.com
Evan Pederson, 30
Hometown – Palmer, AK
Day job – Manager, Anchorage Apple Store