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Adventure : Footwear

Exclusive: La Sportiva Builds the Lightest Four-Buckle Touring Boot Ever

Spectre

Weight on your feet is more tiring than weight on your back by a factor of five. So lighter boots means you’re less tired when you reach the summit, you get more runs in on a day when you’re hiking for turns, and you get back to base with enough energy for après.

La Sportiva has a new secret weapon for backcountry skiers: the lightest four-buckle touring boot on the market. The company will show the boot for the first time at the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the end of January.

The Spectre (men) and Sparkle (women) weigh in at 1,395 grams—just 3.075 pounds—per boot in size 27. That’s nearly half a pound lighter than anything else currently available.

But it’s not just the weight that will make you want to ski this boot—it’s the range of motion. In "walk" mode the Spectre and Sparkle have 30-degree front and 30-degree back rotation and a full 60-degree range of motion to reduce resistance in steep terrain. In the Spectre and Sparkle, your skinning strides will be limited only by your ankle flexibility, not by your boot.

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Palladium Thermal: City Style With Enough Warmth for Vermont's Woods

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When Palladium was founded in 1920, the company didn’t make boots; it made rubber tires for the fledgling aviation industry, tires of layered canvas, and vulcanized rubber.

By the late 1940s, the World Wars were over and the French company shifted from making tires to building boots with the same quality and craftsmanship. In 1947, it produced the boot that still forms the basis of its collection, the Pampa. The French Foreign Legion, impressed with its outstanding comfort and durability, procured the Pampa for its staff based in the harsh North African desert and in the Atlas Mountains.

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Holiday Gift Guide: Gear Up Your Gal This Season

Holiday gift guides abound this time of year. But they're mostly filled with gifts that you hope you'll get, not gifts you'll give. Stumped as to what to buy your lady this season? This guide is for you.

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1. NAU DOWN LOOPNER SCARF
She'll wear it as a scarf, and wear it as a shawl. Either way, this 650-fill goose down wrap will keep her warm all winter. Variegated quilt and stripe patterns add subtle style—she will too as she configures this infinity looped wrap the way she likes it. $90; nau.com.

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2. ICEBREAKER'S SKYLINE JACKET
This jacket is functional and beautiful. The merino shell has a wind-resistant membrane that keeps the heat in and the weather out. A zippered inside pocket stashes a wallet or passport, while the soft, stretchy internal cuffs give extra warmth. Simple, sophisticated, and at home in New York, Aspen, Paris, or Oslo. And to speak to her love of mountains, the lining has a subtle topographical map pattern. $350; icebreaker.com.

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Brooks PureDrift: Perfect for the Barefoot-Curious

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Minimalist running shoes aren’t for everyone, but Brooks' new PureDrift is a transitional shoe with a minimalist option that's great for the barefoot-curious as well as runners exploring a shoe with a little more road feel.

The PureDrift's secret is adjustable drop. With the sockliner in, it's a 4mm drop shoe—perfect for runners going from a more traditional shoe to a barefoot shoe. Pull the sockliner, and you've got a zero drop shoe that lets you stride completely connected to the ground.

The sole under your toes is formed so that you can use them to push off independently, which testers reported felt "more natural than any other non-barefoot shoe" they had run in. The sole also has spring, which propelled testers into their next step.

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The Lightest Insulated Alpine Boot Ever Made

RebelUltraGTX

When world renowned alpinist/speed climber Ueli Steck has a new gear idea, his sponsors hit the drawing board to turn that idea into product. So when Steck told Scarpa he wanted the lightest insulated boot in the world for his next alpine speed ascent—a tall order—the family-owned Italian footwear company threw out convention and started working on research and development.

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