3.8 The firm, ¾-length shank is impenetrable to sharp rocks underfoot. But the thin nylon upper and lack of a rubber toe guard left one tester with sore toes as she negotiated boulder fields in Arizona’s San Francisco Peaks.
4.6 “I pounded down 5,000 feet of elevation on the Grand Canyon’s South Kaibab Trail in three hours while carrying a 30-pound pack (the boot can handle more) and was amazed that I felt no hip or knee pain,” says one tester with a history of joint problems. A 1.5-inch-thick PU midsole (the beefiest in the test) provides superior shock absorption, arch support, and torsional rigidity.
4.5 “The grip was superb while I was descending steep talus and granite slabs,” says a tester. Stiff, 5mm-deep ridges on the sole’s toe and heel claw the ground to prevent slipping while softer lugs down the middle grab smooth sandstone.
4.2 The synthetic upper is pliable, breathable, and instantly comfortable, while the sole’s rocker allows for easy striding, even on fast, flat stretches. Plan for 15 to 20 miles of hiking to break in the stiff sole. Fit runs on the narrow side.
$210; 2 lbs. 2 oz.; lowaboots.com
The Scale: 1=save your money - 5=perfect gear.
*Overall score is not an average of others scores; It's a gut-level assessment of performance and value.