We walked confidently over frozen, icy terrain with 50-plus pounds on board. Even when we did slip, the 8.5-inch-high cuff kept our ankles from rolling.
The Cengalo laces up in two separate zones (there’s a locking lace midfoot). This let us dial in a snug fit in the forefoot for mixed climbing and separately crank down on the heel for a support boost while moving over uneven terrain. We wore them out of the box on a 7-mile round-trip attempt up Colorado’s 14,439-foot Mt. Elbert and had hotspots, but no blisters.
The Cengalo excels equally at climbing up high and striding to get there. Deep lugs in the Vibram soles easily shed slush, snow, and deep mud, providing confidence and grip both up and down iffy slopes. A climbing zone at the toe let us push up on rock flakes no thicker than three stacked quarters on class 3 scrambles in Colorado’s Front Range. The midsole, made of EVA and polyurethane, proved plenty rigid for sidehilling without unduly taxing our ankles.
The 2.5-inch rubber rand shields the boot from sharp rocks and crampon points.