Here are six boot picks that will make your outdoors excursion easier. They meet the criteria for good price, are comfortable to wear (use), are durable, have great utility, and are not overly weighty. To read the in depth reviews follow the hyperlinks


Overall the Salomon XA Pro Mid GTX is a great shoe for all kinds of active use who like to keep their feet dry and warm. Being as lightweight, comfy and supportive, it’s no wonder why it is such a popular shoe and variations of the design really have taken the market by storm. Good shoes are expensive and worth their weight in gold, but the price should also warrant more durability in this case. Overall a good pair of boots.


They’ve mixed killer construction, great design and smart technology to give butt-kicking foot-wear. Right out of the box, I noticed how lightweight the Tor is for a hiking boot. They weigh in at 16.9 ounces.

The $230.00 dollar price tag might make you think, “ouch” but don’t judge too quickly-this just might be the boot for you. Why? I believe you are going to get your money’s worth from Hoka-the maker of great footwear for ultramarathon runners and now this, the Tor Ultra Hi WP boot. You get solid construction around the whole thing, and this boot isn’t like anything you’ll test on the trail. It feels great without being overly soft. Take a few steps in it and you’ll be surprised.

I had never heard of yet alone tried on a pair of Hoka boots before this. A big thanks to Jen for letting us test this out! Hoka One One creates shoes that are noted for their light weight and plush cushioning. As soon as my feet were in the boots I was stoked! Hoka One One is pronounced “O-nay O-nay.”


These boots continue to surprise me with how well they support the ankle and arches of my feet. I have suffered from a nagging and painful foot condition known as plantar fasciitius for years. When wearing boots that have poor arch and heel support, this condition is magnified, causing near constant pain in my arches, heels, and lower back. With the Lowa Renegade GTX the construction and rigidity of the foot bed and soles greatly reduced the incidences of flare ups. The boot cups and holds my foot in a proper position without making them feel like they are overly constricted. That’s not to say the boots are a magic pill to cure my condition, but I can feel the difference in their quality, which translates into longer pain-free hikes and trips. I have also noticed that when I use a high quality sock like Smartwool it helps to work in conjunction with the Gortex liner to keep my feet at a comfortable temperature, even when sorting and splitting firewood in 20*F weather.

If you haven’t ever looked at Lowa Boots, you really should. I was guilty of overlooking them until recently, and my feet and I are glad that we found them. Lowa makes ten different classifications of boots, ranging from hard-shelled alpine style mountaineering boots to more casual style hiking boots, such as the Renegades and Tibet models. They even make flip-flops and snow boots


The boots are made with a lightweight, breathable, mesh upper that encapsulates the foot yet isn’t too restrictive when your foot undulates as it strikes the ground. There is minimal internal movement.  I didn’t even bother to break them in. They felt very comfortable over my toe box, mid-foot and heel. The shoes can be ordered in a standard fit or a wider fit for those who want to avoid slippage or tightly fitting boots. The boot’s support should be good enough for most people.

The Inov8 Roclite 286 is extremely comfortable to wear and very durable. These can be used as a shoe for trail running or hiking. I do not recommend these as a tactical combat boot. Look for material that is more robust and durable. Excellent boot.


When the hike was finished, my feet felt great and I was curious to see how “shriveled” my right foot would be after spending over an hour in a soaked boot. The first thing I noticed was that the wet boot (right side) actually stayed slightly more snug than the dry boot (left side). As with any shoe, my recommendation would be to always re-­tighten your laces if you’re going to cover a large distance.

After removing the boots, I took off my socks and felt little difference in their moisture levels. This only reinforced my tendency to invest in socks of the highest quality. After all, if your feet are done, so are you, and so is the mish. An inspection of my feet revealed minimal wrinkling and with some airing out via flip flops, they quickly returned to normal.

Overall, I was extremely happy and impressed with how these shoes performed. Having worn a ton of tactical boots in my life, I can say the Shadow Amphibian’s are at the top of the list. Whether you’re in the Special Operations community or simply an active individual that puts a beating on their performance boots, the Shadow Amphibian’s are definitely worth looking into.


One of the biggest issues for the Valsetz is the sole. Mine separated from the boot within weeks of using them. I returned them to the store and the business begrudgingly exchanged them. I received the other pair and haven’t had a problem since. I’ve asked other users about their experiences with the boot and I’ve heard the same thing: the boot is comfortable, light-weight, can be worn all day, but separates from the sole. I don’t think this is a major issue for the Under Armour company. I believe it is a construction problem coming from a particular plant. I believe the boot has improved a lot from the first generation.

I am definitely recommending the boot. For the money it is a very good buy but if you want more then pay the extra and beef it up to the Speedfreek Bozeman.


brought to you by the dudes at Spotter Up!







About The Author

Mike credits his early military training as the one thing that kept him disciplined through the many years. He currently provides his expertise as an adviser for the DoD. Michael Kurcina subscribes to the Spotter Up way of life. “I will either find a way or I will make one”.

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