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Here's the truth: it's been years since a hiking boot impressed us. Are our grading criteria too rigorous? Possibly. Are we jaded? Almost certainly. But the fact remains, nothing blew us away for almost half a decade. That is, until now. The Anacapa Mid GTX ($180) is the all-purpose boot we've been waiting for.
We put the Anacapa through almost every conceivable hiking scenario--rocky alpine, muddy jungle, dirt singletrack--and it kept our feet comfortable, our strides natural, and our footing secure through all of them. The boot's chunky EVA midsole (37 millimeters thick at the heel) cushions weight, the wide last allows feet to splay, and the tapered toe lends it the feel of a heavy duty trail running shoe.
On a four-day trip in Wyoming's Wind River Range, the Anacapa Mid piloted us down the rolling trail into Titcomb Basin with a 35-pound pack on; foot soreness was the furthest thing from our minds. Despite all that cushioning, the boot is maneuverable: on that same trip, we scrambled up 13,711-foot Fremont Peak and the boot proved nimble as we rock-hopped to
At one pound per shoe, the Anacapa Mid is light enough for day hikes, a rare quality in a boot this comfy and supportive, and its nubuck-and-polyester upper breathes well in warm temps, even with a Gore-Tex insert. That membrane proved protective in Panama's rainforest, where it sealed out muck and water.
The only gripe we have about the Anacapa is that the EVA on the outsole--where it's not covered in Vibram Megagrip--has deteriorated a bit after 150 miles of hiking. The flaw is only cosmetic so far, but it might become a structural issue in the future. Still, this boot excels on the trail, and we're willing to ride it as far as it will take us. 1.8 lbs (women's) / 2 lbs (men's)
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