Model: Plasma Mid
Overall Score: 4.6 / 5
Tecnica’s custom-fit heat-molding technology for hiking footwear debuted two years ago, and the light-yet-sturdy Plasma Mid is the best boot to use it yet. An overlapping tongue minimizes wear points on top of the foot, and Strobel construction—in which the nylon upper is sewn directly to the fabric bottom, like a traditional running shoe—allows the Plasma Mid to flex with your foot. The Gore-Tex waterproof lining is breathable up to 70°F.
Support & Stability 4.7
The Plasma Mid has a stiff, full-foot TPU shank that keeps it stable under a 30-pound pack, and an average-thickness EVA midsole to provide some cushion. Kevlar laces and loops lock tight and never budged during full days of hiking.
An extra-chunky Vibram Megagrip outsole proved dependable on steep, muddy trails and slippery roots near Bella Coola, British Columbia. Gripe: We wished the U-shaped, 5-millimeter-tall lugs would push more mud out on their own.
This boot’s Kevlar laces are almost impossible to break, and the forefoot TPU rand warded off scrapes along granite ridgelines in Utah’s High Uintas Wilderness. The upper is showing barely a snag after a full season of hard use.
m’s 7-14.5, w’s 5.5-10.5