Garmont asserts the Karakum is made to be extremely versatile, and after an afternoon tromping around high-desert BLM lands west of Spokane (fitting for a shoe named after a Central Asian desert), I’m sold. My desert ramble included 40+ pounds of toddler, pack, and snacks on my back, a bit of an unusual load for a day hike over some basalt-riddled terrain, but none of that fazed my mid-cut pair of Karakum boots. I gravitate toward lightweight hiking boots that fit and feel more like trail running shoes, and the Karakum delivered in this regard. My test outing covered a wide range of “trail” conditions under the aforementioned hefty load: dusty double-track, newly-cut singletrack, meandering cow trails, and a few stretches of cross-country route-finding that elicited loud and passionate scolding from my 3-year-old (dada, you’re going the wrong way!). I have large yet narrow feet and have found few hiking boots over the years that fit as dreamily as these do. Everything else about this well-built, do-it-all boot is gravy: excellent Vibram traction, breathable Gore-Tex lining, and extended lacing for a tight fit. Also available in a low-cut option. MSRP: $160. Garmontnorthamerica.com //