When you hike barefoot on an incline, your ankle flexes between 55 and 75 degrees. Touring boots typically flex between 30 and 60 degrees, which means you’re fighting your physiology with every glide. Enter the Backland Carbon and its unprecedented 74 degrees of ankle articulation. Flip the no-fuss, glove-friendly lever into walk mode, remove the tongue, and you’re in business. “I could take longer strides in the flats, and my shins remained blissfully bang-free on climbs,” one tester says. A carbon spine shaves weight while keeping the cuff rigid in ski mode, and a cross lacing system replaces a buckle on the lower shell (wrapping the foot securely throughout) for better power transfer. The super-lightweight and narrow (98mm last) shell makes it dreamy when touring, but not around camp—our feet felt cramped and cold when we weren’t moving. This boot is for adventurers with summit missions on the mind.