La Sportiva Trango Tech GTX

The most affordable boot in the test is also durable.

Comfort: 3.9 A gusset-free tongue (it isn’t attached to either side of the upper) allows an ample degree of movement around the ankle, but debris frequently sneaks inside. One tester found the boot’s low-profile Vibram Cube outsole to be flexible enough to use the Trango Tech as a standard hiker in Montana’s Hyalite Canyon, but the thinner-than-normal PU midsole is best with loads under 40 pounds.

Durability: 4.0 Thanks to minimal snagging points and a high, wraparound rand on its ripstop synthetic upper, the Trango Tech shook off two months of scrambling through scree and boulders across the Northern Rockies.

Stability: 3.1 The PU midsole’s rebound and the low-profile outsole result in agility on technical approaches, but the Trango Tech isn’t stiff enough for steeper terrain.

La Sportiva uses a Strobel last (a more flexible type of construction than the lasting board design used in every other boot in the test), so it feels more like a stiff backpacking boot than a technical mountaineering option. “It’s great on snowfields up to about 35 degrees, but feels a little shaky on anything steeper,” our Montana tester says.

Overall: 3.7