Talk about a stimulus package. This all-purpose boot gets hikers going for a fraction of the price of similarly featured models. Testers were impressed by the reliable waterproofing, which is often a weakness in budget boots. “In six months of hiking exclusively in these boots, during an incredibly wet spring and summer, it never failed,” says one Vermont-based tester.
Credit a proprietary waterproof/breathable membrane and the well-designed tongue gussets, which keep water from entering below the cuff. The fabric-and-leather upper—with a slight drop in the back of the ankle cuff, around the Achilles—provides no-rub flex for easy striding. Underfoot, a cushy EVA midsole absorbs shock, and there’s also plenty of protection and support—a gumstick-length nylon shank prevented bruising even on a traverse of New Hampshire’s rocky Presidentials. Despite the soft upper, “it never felt too loose or floppy,” said one tester after hiking 300 miles—on treks from the Adirondacks to the Canadian Rockies—with loads up to 30 pounds.
Quibbles: An Arizona tester reported that the upper’s ample padding, combined with the waterproof membrane, made the boots warmer than a Gore-Tex-lined boot in hot weather. The padded tongue bunched initially, making it hard to cinch the laces until after a few days of break-in. Fits a range of feet, thanks to regular and wide sizes. $89; 2 lbs. 12 oz.; m’s 7-14, w’s 6-11Our lightweight hikers feel like sneakers, yet provide the additional support you need for short hikes. Suede and fabric upper with a waterproof TEK2.5® barrier keeps feet dry in wet, muddy conditions. The cushioned EVA midsole and removable footbed provide noticeable comfort right out of the box. Heel and toe bumpers add durability. TrailTrac rubber outsole features a versatile lug pattern for traction on a wide range of surfaces. Reflective trim increases safety in low-light situations. Imported.
Upper: Mesh nylon fabric; water-resistant suede.
Lining: Wicking mesh nylon.
TEK2.5Â® waterproof membrane inner lining.
Innersole: Nylon-covered memory foam. (removable)
Arch Support: Contour of innersole.
Midsole: Compression molded EVA.
Outsole: L.L.Bean's exclusive 'Trail Trac' rubber w/ multi-surface traction tread. (not resolable)
Laces: 62" round polyester.
Eyelets: 2 sets suede lace channels; 2 sets web loops; 3 sets metal lace hooks.
Coated leather toe bumper & heel counter.
Gusseted, padded tongue. Padded collar.
Web pull-on loop at back heel.