In our recent review of big-mountain treads ("Trailblazer," 6/08), this nubuck and suede boot topped the charts with a rare, near-perfect score. What's so special? For starters, comfort was superior from the first lace-up–the boots fit all testers well, a rare occurrence. That's due in part to pivoting loops and hooks that hold laces securely, letting you really dial in fit.
Its stiff midsole gives sufficient stability for 50-pound loads. Ankle support is tops, because of the close-fitting cuff–something testers appreciated on rain-slicked New England rocks. The Gore-Tex membrane and deep lugs make this an all-conditions boot that shrugs off mud and rain. Note: Despite its pronounced rocker, the stiff outsole feels a bit clunky; carrying hefty loads on decent trail is the Barun's strength. Best for medium- to high-volume feet. $239; 3 lbs. 3 oz. Scarpa.net