1. Ankle sprains are the Achilles' heel of low-cut footwear, but the Eclipse XCR fights back. A high inner cuff stabilizes the joint to discourage it from rolling inward, while a rigid leather strip lining the outside of the upper cuff kept me secure on the scree.
2. Many load-bearing hikers have overbuilt heels that impart a ski-boot gaitnot pretty when you're negotiating a crowded pub with a full, après-tramp pint. However, the back of the heel on the Eclipse swoops upward, for sneaker-like strolling.
3. Smallish tongues can shift, often leading to chafing at the intersection of ankle and foot. To reduce slippage, Garmont equipped this hiker with a broader tongue that extends down toward the ankle on the inboard side of your foot.
4. Even after shouldering a 30-pound pack, the plastic web in the cushy midsole kept my feet in the game. I could feel the material working like an in-shoe backbone, supporting my soles and lessening fatigue without compromising flex.
5. You won't slosh around in these bad lads, thanks to a Gore-Tex XCR membrane, which functions like a pair of rubber galoshes. But watch out: XCR can choke in high temps; my toes felt damp after trekking through steamy ravines in the soggy Chattahoochee National Forest.