Scarpa Moraine Mid GTX
$129, 2 lb. 2 oz. (men’s Euro 42/US 9)
Sizes: men’s Euro 39-46.5, 47, 48, women’s 36-43
I asked a lot of these boots—and they measured up well to every task I asked of them, from hiking with a light daypack in the Boise Foothills to backpacking with a 50-pound load (including more than 20 pounds of water) on a three-day, early-spring family trip in Capitol Reef National Park. The versatility comes from the combination of a lightweight but highly cushioned outsole and midsole, a forefoot that flexes almost as well as a trail-running shoe for easy striding, and a suede rib cage integrated into the laces to wrap around the midfoot for torsional stability. The Moraine Mid also fits like a lightweight boot should: no-slip snug in the heel and midfoot, and wiggle room in the toe box, with good padding around the ankle and in the tongue.
The gusseted tongue also kept out most dirt and stones while hiking in the desert, and the Gore-Tex membrane repelled water when I splashed through mud and a shallow creek; it breathes moderately well, though my feet got a bit sweaty on a hot day in Capitol Reef. I’m not a fan of the closed metal loops at the top of the boot; I’d rather see lace hooks. Backpackers used to a midweight or burlier boot for heavy loads would probably find this boot supportive enough for carrying up to 30 to 35 pounds. The Moraine Mid delivers a little more support than many models in this category, making it a good choice for hikers who want a lightweight boot that doesn’t feel too lightweight, including thru-hikers, fastpackers, and dayhikers.