Model: Hekla GTX
This new and improved version of a boot we’ve long loved (Editors’ Choice 2008) delivered the best combination of protection, traction, and stability. The 2013 Kailash ups the ante with even more support and underfoot armor than before, thanks to a new midsole made of durable PU augmented by a TPU film (see Tech Talk, right) that enhances the rigidity and structure of the boot.
“The midsole is firm and torsionally stiff, and combined with the V-shaped lugs on the Vibram outsole, made me feel mountain-goat sure even while carrying 45-pound loads on the sketchiest routes,” one tester said after a spring hike on the Elk-King Traverse in Oregon’s Coast Range. “Lacing them up tight from toe to ankle was fast and fluid with the pull-through hardware, and the grippy webbing lace loops at the ankle kept my foot completely slip-free inside the boot. I experienced zero toe bang even on steep downhill sections.” Another tester praised the ankle support: “The well-contoured and ample ankle padding provides just the right amount of buttressing, but it’s not so stiff that it hinders a comfortable stride.”
The Gore-Tex-lined, suede-and-nylon upper felt more breathable than most waterproof hikers according to several testers, and the rubber toe means there’s no sacrifice in protection. “I wore them up 10,839-foot Hahn’s Peak on a sunny, snow-melting day, postholing for hours,” says one Colorado hiker who was training for a spring start on the Pacific Crest Trail. One caveat: They’re on the heavy side. $209; 3 lbs. 4 oz.; m’s 39-48, w’s 36-43; scarpa.com