This new and improved version of a boot we’ve long loved (Editors’ Choice 2008) delivered the best combination of protection, traction, and stability. The 2013 Kailash ups the ante with even more support and underfoot armor than before, thanks to a new midsole made of durable PU augmented by a TPU film (see Tech Talk, right) that enhances the rigidity and structure of the boot.
“The midsole is firm and torsionally stiff, and combined with the V-shaped lugs on the Vibram outsole, made me feel mountain-goat sure even while carrying 45-pound loads on the sketchiest routes,” one tester said after a spring hike on the Elk-King Traverse in Oregon’s Coast Range. “Lacing them up tight from toe to ankle was fast and fluid with the pull-through hardware, and the grippy webbing lace loops at the ankle kept my foot completely slip-free inside the boot. I experienced zero toe bang even on steep downhill sections.” Another tester praised the ankle support: “The well-contoured and ample ankle padding provides just the right amount of buttressing, but it’s not so stiff that it hinders a comfortable stride.”
The Gore-Tex-lined, suede-and-nylon upper felt more breathable than most waterproof hikers according to several testers, and the rubber toe means there’s no sacrifice in protection. “I wore them up 10,839-foot Hahn’s Peak on a sunny, snow-melting day, postholing for hours,” says one Colorado hiker who was training for a spring start on the Pacific Crest Trail. One caveat: They’re on the heavy side. $209; 3 lbs. 4 oz.; m’s 39-48, w’s 36-43; scarpa.com
The Churn is a multi-sport shoe that specializes in getting wet. Its mesh upper is extremely breathable and quick-drying, making it the perfect shoe for those hot summer days when all you want to do is plunge into the water. Back in camp, you can take advantage of the Churn's fold down heel Shoc Pad when you just feel like slipping into your shoes.
- Spider Original rubber is made to grip like crazy in wet environments
- a thin nylon shank keeps your foot stable and in control
- mesh materials drain water and dry quickly
- drainage channels in the forefoot allow water to escape
- tough synthetic leather and mesh upper
- a fold down heel with a Shoc Pad gives you convenience and cushioning
- molded EVA foam in the midsole is light and durable
- a soft Shoc Pad in the heel gives you serious shock absorption