If you’re looking for a low-cut, relatively light hiking and backpacking shoe with the stability and stiffness of a more burly boot, Garmont’s Dragontail MNT GTX is worth checking out. Breaking them in on trails around town, I was impressed how solid they felt in rocky, rough terrain. Garmont uses what they call Anatomically Directed Design, which means these hiking shoes are built to work with the foot’s natural ability to stabilize and absorb shock. I also like the roomy toe box that keeps my extra-large big toe from getting cramped and allows my digits to spread out, which helped me maintain balance while struggling with 40 pounds of toddler, backpack, snacks and water on my back. The MNT GTX will serve you well as a go-to hiking shoe on any Inland Northwest trails but will excel on gnarly, long single-track routes through and along places like Hells Canyon, the Selkirk Crest, and any mountain destination that requires off- or rough-trail hiking, ridge walking or scrambling. And, not that you should buy a pair of hiking shoes because they look cool, but I’ve never had so many comments and questions about a new pair of technical shoes. After a long, sweaty hike, it doesn’t hurt to have at least one piece of good-looking gear to soften that feral trail look before taking a seat at your favorite post-hike burger and beer joint. MSRP: $200. Garmontnorthamerica.com. //