We didn't test a less expensive midweight this year, period. But don't call this seamless boot cheap. It handled everything from the sharp rocks of the Tetons to soaking rain and mud on the Olympic coast. One tester carried up to 60 pounds for 60 miles and later said, "These boots were awesome, especially when conditions were wet." The eVent membrane, as usual, kept feet from getting sweaty.
Support is enhanced by plastic overlays on the uppers, underfoot cushion is good, and the forefoot flex is stiffer than many boots in this category. Fit is narrow in the heel, but roomy in the toes. One complaint: Scant hardware means laces have to be tightened regularly. Best for narrow, medium-volume feet. $130; 2 lbs. 8 oz. Hi-tec.com