Not all the great boots out there can possibly make the Gear Guide—some will inevitably fall by the wayside, pinched by space or similarity to another product. But that doesn't mean the also-rans don't have their own charms. Here, BACKPACKER's Northwest Editor Mike Lanza explains why the Hi-Tec Rainier eVent, a boot that missed the cut, is still worth your money.
"If the Cascadia is a great deal, The Hi-Tec Rainier eVent represents a luxurious upgrade in a burly heavyweight—still at an eye-catching price. Built on the same chassis—from the mud-shedding outsole and moderately stiff midsole to the toe bumper, exoskeletal heel reinforcements, and eVent membrane—it has the same load-carrying ability as its cousin. But testers from Idaho to Alaska found that the full-grain leather uppers and cuff lining conform to the foot better, resulting in a softer, closer fit.
The Rainier features two more pairs of eyelets than the Cascadia, for greater flexibility in lacing. “It made a noticeable difference on steep uphills and downhills,” said a tester who wore both models simultaneously, one on each foot. It’s also a bit heavier and warmer than the Cascadia, and requires at least a couple days of break-in time. Best for medium- to high-volume feet. $200; 3 lbs. 10 oz. Hi-tec.com
If you're still searching for the perfect waffle-stomper, check out our exhaustive boot section from April's Gear Guide.