For big loads and steep, off-trail terrain, I want solid support and stability without excess weight. The Terek delivers, thanks to the midsole’s relatively light combination of molded EVA (for cushion) and full-length polyurethane shank (for rigidity). I sported these high-cuts all over the West, from light-load dayhikes in Yosemite to difficult treks, like a six-day bushwhack around Mt. Shasta with a 60-pound pack. The boots weren’t too heavy or clunky for the former, nor too light or flexy for the latter.
The eight-hook lace system and tongue hooks enhanced all-day comfort, as I could cinch the uppers snug without causing too much friction in any spot. The split-leather and Cordura upper and full rubber rand stood up to abrasion on Sierra granite, and the Gore-Tex liner kept my feet dry during a soggy-snow trek up Yosemite’s Cloud’s Rest. Bonus: Break-in time was negligible because of the excellent out-of-the-box fit (ideal for my wide feet). $260; 2 lbs. 10 oz. (w’s 8.5); m’s 7-14, w’s 5.5-10.5; lowaboots.com.
The shoe is built on the Perpetuum last which fits a wide variety of foot shapes including those with straighter, flatter feet. The Mindbender offers a stable and comfortable ride for runners going the distance, and it comes a with a wider toe box to accommodate an expanding foot through the miles. The lightweight feature is another advantage.