Gear Review: Lowa Baikal GTX Hiking Boot

This all-purpose boot provides great support and warmth.

Put a winter traverse of a steep, technical range—like the Presidentials or the Tetons—on your life list. Then put this boot on your gear list. It has the support to handle big loads and the warmth and waterproofing (thanks to the Gore-Tex liner) to handle most any weather. “The high-cut, split-leather upper gave me tons of ankle support, even on sketchy, angled traverses,” says a New York tester.

That, combined with the durable and rigid polyurethane midsole and stiff inserts that prevent pronation and supination, provided awesome stability: Not one tester rolled an ankle, even while crossing rough terrain with up to 50-pound packs. Lowa’s innovative new G3 sole has embedded loops of texturized fabric in the rubber lugs, which enhance grip on icy and wet terrain. “I didn’t slip even when I was pulling myself up steep, frosty slabs in the ’Dacks with a cable,” says one tester.

Webbing lace guides were pressure-free under snowshoe bindings, and the wool/poly fleece insulation kept toes warm down to 10°F. Break-in alert: The stiff ankles require some seasoning. Fit is slightly narrow, with medium volume. $270; 3 lbs. 4 oz. (w’s 10); m’s 7.5-14, w’s 5.5-11;