Walk mode After an eight-hour tour that gained 8,300 feet of vertical, our Jackson, Wyoming, tester gave these top honors for mountaineering: The cuff’s wide range of motion allows for long strides and the Vibram sole is better than most at gripping rocky ridgelines. “They’re so comfortable, I kept them on for hiking dirt roads when everyone else switched to aprés shoes,” she says of the women’s Sparkle (shown).
Fit Many ultralights suit only slender, low-volume feet, but the Spectre accommodates average widths and high arches. (Note: Despite the 103 mm last, testers with wide feet or bone spurs still found them too tight.)
Downhill Testers accustomed to slipper-soft touring models were impressed by how much stiffness this similarly light, four-buckle boot offers. “They let me turn on a dime!” raves one. She enjoyed unprecedented control in Grand Teton National Park, where steep terrain required short, quick turns. But the stiffness has a limit: Aggressive, resort-trained turners found the shell a tad too flexible.
$599; 6 lbs. 6 oz. (27); sportiva.com