Model: Pursuit GTX
The Pursuit is a boot with a mission: prevent ankle rolling. Developed specifically for tactical forces of the U.S. military—guys who jump out of airplanes and scramble along cliffs at night—this sturdy midcut hiker is just as effective for backpackers who prize security and traction on dicey terrain.
Superior lateral stability comes from a dense-foam PU cage that slings around the back of the boot like the rear bumper on a car. It completely cups the heel, providing anchorlike landings upon heel strike. A padded collar extending just above the ankle stops rolls, and you get more stability from the lacing than usual: Made from superstrong, military-grade parachute cord, the Pursuit’s laces cinch extra-snug around the ankle and instep.
Five Ten’s signature Stealth Phantom outsole is made from a high-friction rubber compound with flat, multi-directional lugs. “The sole is awesomely sticky for scrambling up boulders and slabs, and it works equally well on mud and gravel,” reported one tester after a long day of hiking and climbing at Idaho’s Castle Rocks State Park. The midsole is comprised of compression-molded EVA foam and a layer of stiff, puncture-proof Kevlar*; it has enough support and stability to handle 30-pound loads. The split-grain leather upper and rubber toe guard still look new after months of use.
Drawback: The monochromatic, blend-in colors may suit soldiers, but most testers weren’t fans (it also comes in black). Fit runs small; consider going up a half size. $160; 2 lbs. 3 oz.; m’s 7-14; fiveten.com