Gear
Gear Guy
Q:

Do Salomon still make those futuristic-looking boots?

Several years ago, I bought a pair of "funny-looking" Salomon Adventure 9 boots. They were virtually perfect, but are finally wearing out. Since there's no sign of a similar boot in today's U.S. Salomon line, can you think of an alternative? Ray Cleveland Heights, Ohio

A: I remember those boots. In fact, I had a pair, and really, really liked them. They had sort of an internal lacing system, with a flap that zipped over the laces to create a nice, water- and dirt-proof boot. Very comfortable. But too goofy-looking for the American market, so Salomon went with more traditional designs about five years ago.

Salomon, alas, has largely abandoned the hiking market and specializes in climbing boots (including some very interesting ones, such as the trail-, rock-, and snow-friendly Pro Rock, for $219), or racing-style shoes such as the XA Pro ($80). Their Adventure Trek 7 ($160; www.salomonsports.com), though, has some of the techy-looking design of the Adventure 9. It's a backpacking-specific boot with leather and synthetic uppers, a Gore-Tex lining, and a proprietary Salomon sole (as I recall, the Adventure 9 had an excellent sole). Might be worth a look.

Otherwise, there are lots of good-quality, mid-weight hiking boots out there, boots that would fill the same niche as your Adventure 9s did. It's very hard, for instance, to top the L.L. Bean Cresta Hikers, a terrific buy at $169 and a terrific boot, too (www.llbean.com). These have all-leather construction, with a Gore-Tex liner. And the Cresta is regarded as one of the best-fitting boots around, available in three widths. La Sportiva's Storm GTX ($170; www.sportiva.com) is similar, with leather construction and a Gore-Tex liner. A nice boot, best for medium to slightly narrow feet. For something a little heavier, the Tecnica Stratus Bio-Flex GTX ($200) is a very tough backpacking boot, also coming with a Gore-Tex liner. Lastly, a really classic heavyweight hiking boot is the Montrail Moraine ($235; www.montrail.com), which eschews the Gore-Tex liner for thick waterproof leather and super-strong construction.

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