With autumn hiking season on the horizon, it’s time to get equipped for hiking some prime fall foliage. Here are three recommended hiking boots:
Ahnu Mendocino — $178Weight: 1.13 kg (2.5 lbs)
Best For: Light weekend trips, smoother trails.
The most comfortable boot we tested this year, the Mendocino felt almost sneaker-like. Ending just above the anklebones, with a partial midsole shank and one of the lightest weights of any boot we tested, we could gallop along, the forefoot flexing smoothly through our stride. That means it won't be well-suited to heavier loads and rougher terrain; indeed, there's noticeably less padding and cushioning here. But an internal heel-cup provided some support and an eVent waterproof-breathable liner kept our dogs dry. (No women's model available.)
Bottom Line: Straddles the line between a backpacking boot and a light hiker. Ahnu
Oboz Wind River 2 — $185Weight: 1.45 kg (3.2 lbs)
Best For: Long-distance backpacking.
Last year, we raved about Oboz's Beartooth. We're equally enamoured with its little bro, the Wind River. Lighter and shorter than the Beartooth, this boot feels more nimble and sporty on the foot, making fast work of trail miles and off-trail bashes. There's still enough support for really heavy loads and the fit feels custom with a lacing system that cinches all around the foot. When we crashed through an ankle-deep creek, the Nubuck leather backed by a proprietary waterproof-breathable liner deflected the mess. Women’s and men’s models available.
Bottom Line: A little clunky for day hikes, but otherwise our top-pick of the test for pure backpacking. Oboz
Hi-Tec Sierra Lite i WP — $200Weight: 1.0 kg (2.2 lbs)
Best For: Technical day hikes and muddy trails.
Well-suited for rain-soaked coastal hikers, Hi-Tec’s all-new Sierra Lite i WP feature their proprietary hydrophobic, waterproof-breathable system called ion-mask — rather than a membrane or physical barrier, the actual material of the boot is treated via nanotechnology to repel water. Longevity and weight reduction are the key words here (plus, it really works). A mud-shredding Vibram outsole kept us stable in slippery springtime conditions — they even feature rustproof metal hardware alongside the handsome Nubuck-and-mesh details. All this, and still the lightest boot in the test.
Bottom Line: A wet-weather performer with modern good looks. Hi-Tec