One of our editors bravely put these boots to the ultimate test: With zero break-in, he took the all-leather Steeps on a two-week expedition to Alaska’s Brooks Range. He crossed glaciers, climbed in crampons, and hiked 50 miles across often-soggy tundra with a 70-pound load.
Conclusion: This boot delivers tanklike support and stability with Cadillac comfort. For starters, a leather collar wraps your ankle like a soft glove, so you can crank the laces tight for support without any pinching. A low-density polyurethane midsole absorbs shock so well that one tester noted, “Even after a full day of trail pounding, I didn’t take off my boots until I crawled in the sack.”
A plastic toe and heel counter increase stability and help the boot hold its shape in wet conditions. And the Steep excelled off-trail, thanks to a polypropylene shank with good torsional rigidity and Vibram soles with a toothy lug pattern. It’s not the lightest or cheapest midweight, but you get an Italian-made beauty that’ll handle years of big-trip, big-load abuse with total comfort from mile one.
Fit is best for medium- to large-volume feet with medium width. $258; men’s 8–12, 13; 3 lbs. 1 oz. (9); zamberlanstore.com