Take Montrail’s running-shoe DNA and give it up-armored construction, and you get this go-fast hybrid. “It’s bedroom-slipper light and instantly comfortable, thanks to the great-fitting meshy upper, with good cushion, ankle stability, and underfoot support,” says a NOLS instructor who wore it on a two-week trip in Montana’s Absarokas, while carrying a 30-pound pack over long miles, steep terrain, snowfields, and talus. The sole’s toothy, in-cut lugs give it plenty of traction on packed dirt trails.
Webbing lace guides are easy to tighten without pressure points. Testers praised the midsole’s springy-yet-protective layers of EVA and TPU*, and they loved the built-in debris protection. “The midcut neoprene collar is soft and snug,” reports a tester, “and, combined with the gusseted tongue, kept out all detritus.” But beware of wet rock, she warns. “I slipped on steep, slick slabs.”
Bonus: A progressively harder midsole from heel to pinky toe supports the outer edge of the foot to prevent ankle roll. Fit runs wide. $135; 1 lb. 12 oz.; m’s 7-15, w’s 5-11Named the 2009 Backpacker Magazine Best All Around Boot, the Zamberlan 965 Lhasa GT RR is perhaps Zamberlan's most durable backpacking boot. Ideal for carrying heavier loads and hiking through shrub filled terrain and thick brush, the 965 Lhasa is built on the exclusive Zambrlan Vibram StarTrek sole. The StarTrek sole features dual-density PU construction (one for comfort, one for support), a TPU stabilizer, and a tread with excellent downhill braking, toe climbing zone, wide yet grippy lugs for easy cleaning, and a heel strike zone. The 2.8mm Hydrobloc nubuck leather upper ensures the greatest protection from water and snow and the Zamberlan RRS (rubber rand system) protects the foot and ankle as well as prevents the leather from deterioration caused by cracking, cuts and scratches. The Gore-Tex membrane offers maximum water protection and breathability.