Gear Review: Boots on the Ground

As summer starts to cool off, it’s an amazing time to head for the hills. Check out our favorite new explorer kicks, trail-tested and Scout-approved.

Scarpa Mystic Lite GTX

This all-suede lite hiker keeps you looking and feeling good whether you’re knocking around some easy trails or playing football in the backyard or sitting on your couch yelling at Netflix to stream faster, damnit! Their cushy insoles keeps your feet happy, but don’t be fooled, these boots mean business. When out tester took them off the beaten path in Grand Teton National Park, their sticky sole gripped gravel and boulders alike with no problem, providing stability and easy maneuverability. Luckily, their lightweight, sneaker-like feel was not needed to outrun any hungry moose.

Scout tester notes: “What I love about these are that they are just as useful walking trails with my dog as they are walking through puddles at the train station. They kept my feet dry and comfortable, and they look cool in a casual, understated way. They’re great for every day use, and definitely were up to the task of a little scrambling in the rocks. I wore them on the trails and then later out to dinner!”, $119

Salewa Alp Trainer Mid GTX

If you’re looking to extend a certain finger to the beaten path and really go for it, these hybrid boots are a great way to go. They’ve got the comfort of a hiking boot, with the shoe tech of a climbing shoe, and yes, we totally dug the eye-catching Sulphur color way. Our tester got very high (altitude, people!) very quickly thanks to the sure footing provided by the rugged sticky Vibram soles, and small yet vital details like the precision lacing in the toe area gave incredible support and control. Our guy loved the blister-free technology, which lived up to the promise despite a hard workout the first time out. (He also loves piña coladas and long walks in the rain, but that’s getting a little off topic.)

Scout tester: “It was like the boots were commanding me to go higher, push further. These beautiful babies weren’t meant to stay at sea level. I swear I can hear them calling to me now from the front closet. I really need to talk to my doctor about upping the medication.”, $140

Blackhawk! Warrior Wear Desert Ops

Taking things up a few notches are these badass boots, which comply with U.S. Army regulations. Rugged and tough, yet lightweight and breathable, these are what you want on your feet if you’ll find yourself traversing debris-strewn areas you’d come across during military and police operations (or walking across your kid’s playroom.) Toe reinforcements and an extra layer of suede in the heel provide scuff resistance and a steel shank gives additional ankle support when carrying heavy loads. Bonus: the footbed is washable and antimicrobial, meaning it won’t stink up your house after a hard day of kicking some bad guy ass.

Scout tester’s take: “The truth of the matter is that this is probably a lot more boot than the typical guy needs, but damn if they don’t look cool! And as rough and tough as they look, they’re actually quite comfortable and very lightweight. I hiked and jogged in these in total comfort. I did not kick in any doors, but man was it tempting.”, $160

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