KEEN Durand 2
Credit: KEEN
KEEN
Credit: KEEN

Keen Durand

($220; keenfootwear.com)

Weight: 1.1 kg

Best For: Light backpacking.

It only took a few strides into our first hike before we appreciated the Durand’s cushioning — soft, but active, propelling us into the next stride. Credit the polyurethane midsole, which not only feels softer than EVA foam but lasts longer too. Beneath the midsole is a two-compound outsole (durability down the middle, stickier rubber on the rails) with sharp-edged lugs for digging into mud.

Bottom Line: Built in Keen's Portland factory with high quality materials — leather, mesh and waterproof-breathable membrane — we think these boots will last a long time.

KEEN Keen Men's Durand Mid WP Hiking Boot,Cascade Brown/Alaskan Blue,10.5 M US
Amazon Price: $180.00 $179.95 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 20, 2015)
ECCO
Credit: ECCO

ECCO BIOM Terrain Plus GTX

($260; eccocanada.com)

Weight: 1.1 kg

Best For: Off-trail day hikes.

While we may not be big fans of the coloured soles (vibrant colours that hurt our eyes), we are big fans of how these boots perform. Made to take a beating — oversized toe bumpers and Kevlar scuff pads combine with Yak leather, which is thicker and tougher than cow hide — a scree-ski didn't leave a scuff and the yoke of plastic wrapping in the Achilles area supported our ankles.

Bottom Line: Despite the durable props, they're still a lightweight boot thanks to a chemically bonded, instead of glued and stitched, midsole. 

ECCO ECCO Men's Biom Terrain Plus Oxford,Moon Rock,43 EU/9-9.5 M US
Amazon Price: $244.30 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 20, 2015)
Merrell
Credit: Merrell

Merrell All-Out Blaze Mid

($160; merrell.com)

Weight: 500 grams

Best For: Minimalist fans.

Instead of the usual ramp from heel-to-toe, Merrell adapted their barefoot-feeling running-shoe style to the hiking trail. Slipping into these sneaker-ish light hikers, we immediately noticed how close to the ground we felt. The low height created a stable feel, especially combined with the flipped midsole — soft cushioning next to the outsole, firmer support close to foot — which creates a more absorptive shoe.

Bottom Line: An affordable, nimble and extremely lightweight hiker best kept to established trails.

Merrell Merrell Men's All Out Blaze Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot,Navy/Moss,11 M US
Amazon Price: $150.00 $149.95 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 20, 2015)
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