BEST FOR: Nasty weather. THE TEST: Like the Danner Crater Rim, this Italian-made hiker has a nubuck upper, a 360-degree rand, and a nearly seamless Gore-Tex lining. Upshot: it’s a boot fit for foul weather. But toasty toes are only half the cold-weather equation. The proprietary Vibram sole has deep-lugged, asymmetrical outer edges for sure feet in snow and muck and fewer, shorter inner knobs for great flexion and sensitivity. On a winter hike up Glorieta Baldy, a steep, loose grunt in northern New Mexico where conditions ran from sun-exposed slop to ice-spackled slickrock to crunchy snow, the Monacos never slipped. THE VERDICT: Enough protection to wear well into winter, but they’re a bit warm for quick midsummer jaunts. 1.2 lbs
Unlike conventional rawhide leather or sued, nubuck, as seen here on the Monaco and the Gear of the Year-winning Crater Rim, is sanded to produce a smooth, soft, and pliable surface that holds water-repelling treatments such as Nikwax longer than other leathers.