backpacking boots reviews

Gear Review: Salomon Synapse Mid Shoes

Salomon Synapse Mid

Lightweight Trail Shoes
Salomon Synapse Mid
$140, 1 lb. 11 oz. (men’s 9)
Sizes: Men’s 7.5-12, women’s 6.5-10
salomon.com

I wanted a pair of lightweight mid-cut boots for a grueling, very rugged, 19-mile dayhike the length of the Carter Range in New Hampshire’s White Mountains—tagging a half dozen summits and climbing and descending some 7,000 feet, a traverse with some absurdly steep sections that is arguably harder than a one-day, 20-mile “death march” of the full Presidential Range. So I looked for mid-cut instead of low-cut shoes to protect my ankles on those notoriously rocky trails. I needed a shoe with enough cushion and support underfoot for a hike that guaranteed a lot of pounding. I prefer non-waterproof footwear for hot dayhikes where breathability is paramount. And I wanted all of that in a boot that’s light and allows me to move fast. The Synapse Mid delivered on all counts.

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Gear Review: Keen Alamosa Mid Boots

Keen Alamosa Mid

Boots
Keen Alamosa Mid
$120, 1 lb. 15 oz. (men’s size 9)
Sizes: men’s 7-12, 13, 14 15, women’s 5-11
keenfootwear.com

Here’s a question that’ll stir impassioned debate in certain circles: waterproof or non-waterproof boots when backpacking? Some adhere to the belief in a waterproof-breathable membrane on a multi-day trip when your feet could get wet; others say no membrane is infallible, and non-waterproof footwear will definitely dry out faster once wet. I put this philosophical debate to an unscientific test, wearing the Alamosa Mids on a four-day, 56-mile trip in Idaho’s Sawtooths in mid-September, a time of year when cold rain or feet getting wet just from dew on trailside vegetation isn’t unusual in the mountains.

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Gear Review: Scarpa Moraine Mid GTX Boots

Scarpa Moraine Mid GTX

Lightweight Boots
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
scarpa.com

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.

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