Tecnica Plasma S GTX

Editors' choice update

Our take Last year, Tecnica impressed us with the Editors’ Choice-winning Forge GTX, a mass-market, custom-fit hiking boot. We only had one wish: a lighter option. Wish granted. The Plasma uses the same technology as the Forge—its polyester-and-TPU upper and footbed can be heat-molded to your feet with a special machine, much like a ski boot—but in a low-top silhouette. Our testers loved the perfect fit and reduced weight on scrambles across the Northern Rockies. Caveat: pricey for a low-cut.

The details A dual-density EVA midsole provided cushion and a credit card-size TPU shank at the arch lent stability while we were rock-hopping with a 25-pound pack in Glacier National Park. Self-locking laces make micro-adjustments easy while on the go, but sharp eyelets at the ankle caused one tester to blow through shoe laces in just three months. The Plasma’s overlap tongue minimizes friction on the ankle.

Trail cred “These were my go-to shoes for a summer of treks in Montana, Colorado, and Utah, and they’re bomber,” one tester says. “Roots and talus fields barely made a mark through the TPU reinforcements on the upper.”