Lowa Kody Mid GTX Junior
$160, 1 lb. 11 oz. (size US 5/Euro 38)
Sizes: Euro 27-42
My 11-year-old son—who has tested at least one model of boots every year since he began backpacking at age five—pronounced these kid backpacking boots comfortable the moment he first put them on. He then went on to sing their praises through a weeklong, hut-to-hut trek in Norway’s Jotunheimen National Park, and a five-day, 38-mile backpacking trip in Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness. The Kody Mids are a kids boot built with the quality of good adult boots. The suede and Cordura uppers are tough, the polyurethane midsole with a full-length nylon shank delivered enough support for my son to carry a pack weighing 18 to 20 pounds (he weighs 75 pounds) on days up to 12 miles, and the Vibram outsole gripped well on dirt, dry rocks, mud, and on wet rocks during stream crossings. The Gore-Tex membrane kept his feet dry through many miles of hiking across wet snow in Norway—in fact, his were the only dry feet in our group of seven people. Given the excellent construction, I’m sure his little sister or a friend’s kid will put some miles on these boots once my son outgrows them.
NOTE: I’ve been testing gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See all of my reviews by clicking on the Gear Reviews category at left or in the main menu. See more reviews of backpacking gear I like by clicking on the “backpacking gear reviews” tag in the tag cloud in the left sidebar.