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Boots I Trust

LaSportiva Trango EVO Boots In college, I completely wore out a pair of LaSportiva Makalu boots. They were the modern classic-form mountaineering boot, very well made with full leather inside and out. A stout Vibram sole.

When those boots went into the trash, I bought Trango EVOs and never looked back. I wanted something light, but stiff enough for class 4-5 alpine rock and snowy approaches in the Cascades and Rocky Mountains. I wanted boots that offered support and protection, but not too much. I was looking for a relatively stiff sole, comfortable uppers, and no old school clunkiness. I was also tired of waterproofing leather. I wanted the boots an alpine climber would wear to work during the week.

I should say that for the past 15 years, running shoes have been my footwear of choice for all trails and peaks whatever the weather. Climbing trips, like Mt. Moran's Black Dike route or the Bailey Range Traverse - were done in regular old Addidas and low gaiters. Wet boots are at best annoying, at worst a liability on long mountain trails. Wet running shoes are not that much different than dry ones and really shine when the track extends beyond about 10 miles. Over the years, I have come to learn that my feet, indeed my whole body, feel better at day's end if I wear cushioned shoes. By the way, I don't carry more than 30 pounds anymore. If I know there there will be more than 5 miles of trail, I wear running shoes and carry boots, switching, stashing as necessary.

I rely on my balance, my wits, and my experience in the mountains, not my boots. My ordered priority list for mountaineering is 1.) sunglasses, 2.) sunscreen, 3.) food, 4.) ice axe, 5.) footwear, 6.) everything else. More Gerry Roach, less Freedom of the Hills.

That said, Trango EVOs are great boots for 3-season alpine climbing, long scrambles, general mountaineering, and all-day geology fieldwork. They are also comfortable driving a car, an often overlooked consideration in most boot reviews.

They have a firm platform and supportive, yet flexible uppers. They are constructed of synthetic leather, thus soak up little water and need no waterproofing. EVOs a sport well-shaped, low-profile toe and a stiff, narrow heel; no annoying overhangs to catch or stub. The footbeds are not too soft; think Porsche 911. These are not cushy and warm, nor are they super durable. They have, however, seen me through several years of hard use so far. There appears to be a couple competitors to the EVOs on the market, but LaSportiva are a solid choice if they fit you. I have average feet and Trangos are my go-to boots.

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