I prefer hiking in trail running shoes or light-weight hiking boots, but there are times when a more burly, waterproof hiking boot with better ankle support are a good idea. Like dodging prickly pear and sidestepping down scree piles on Hells Canyon ghost trails; slopping your way along long-neglected Bitterroot Mountain trails still holding slush piles; or bushwhacking 4,000 feet down an abandoned trail in the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness that sees more use by gray wolves than people. You get the picture.

The AKU Alterra GTX hiking boots are handmade in Italy to keep your feet comfortable when hiking or backpacking through rugged terrain. They have a GORE-TEX liner, gusseted tongues and snug collars that keep debris out, eyelet pulleys that allow laces to be tightened with ease, solid ankle support, aggressive Vibram sole tread, and a handsome suede and breathable synthetic mix upper. These anatomically designed boots benefit from AKU’s extensive foot stride research and are full of high-tech boot innovations that you will notice out on the trail. Might explain their “Best Fit” award by Backpacker Magazine in 2017. MSRP: $249.95. Akuoutdoor.com //