I’ve already lamented that when it comes to hiking, having the right footwear is insanely important. You want a boot that supports your feet and ankles properly, doesn’t rub you the wrong way (blisters suckaroo!), feels comfortable, and makes easy business of walking over terrain of all kinds and rocks of all shapes and sizes. And when you’re logging 30+ miles during a backpacking trip like I was recently, you definitely want the perfect boot for you. I’ve long been a basic Hi-Tec boot-wearer, but when the outdoor active footwear company Garmont asked if I wanted to try its Amica Hike GTX ($154.95), I thought I’d give it a go.
Because I’ve learned the hard way that you never, ever wear hiking boots without breaking them in first, I wore these full-height boots around the house quite a few times before taking them to Colorado. With excellent ankle support, my foot felt amazingly supported and protected, almost like a moon or ski boot—I felt like I could walk over anything with superior traction.
Once out and into the wilderness weeks later, I tested these on a 5-mile hike to Cub Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. The trail was pretty easy, but had enough flat spots and inclines to test out the soles and get a feel for the boots. The first thing that struck me was the lightness of the boots. Despite the fact that these have more ankle support than my usual hiking kicks, they were sooo much lighter (just 1 pound, 1 ounce!). They were also much, much more rigid. Despite trying to break these in before my trip, they still felt like a new boot—that wasn’t moving. On one hand, this is good because it really makes you feel like your feet are supported and darn-near indestructible. On the other hand? It means they’re a touch uncomfortable. I had a minor blister by the end of my hike and was definitely ready to trade them in for more forgiving camp shoes once I was off the trail.
I do plan to hike in these again—especially on difficult-to-navigate terrain—because they are so supportive and light. But, before I do, I’ll be making sure that they’re broken in even better (nothing like walking your dog around the neighborhood in full hiking boots!). Overall, this is a high-quality boot for hikers who mean business (and are totally cool with breaking in a new shoe)! —Jenn