Put your best foot forward with these boots

Salewa Wildfire ($129) Inexpensive, lightweight, outstanding traction — plus solid support and fit — what’s not to like about these boots? Don’t be misled by the “approach” style: These shoes are built for hiking anything. The highly breathable mesh uppers are reinforced with an injected 3-D cage for superior durability. Lacing extends to the toes for a comfortably snug fit. The outsole combines aggressive, diamond-shaped lugs with a braking edge on the heel for downhills and a smoother “climbing zone” under the toe for smearing steep rock. While sporting less rigidity than other low-cuts, the Wildfire is made for dayhiking in any terrain. There’s also a Gore-Tex version for $170. salewa.com

Oboz Sawtooth II Low Waterproof ($140) Very few low-cut, waterproof hiking shoes deliver the performance value of the Sawtooth II. These provide support for carrying a daypack or a light backpack, courtesy of a dual-density EVA midsole with a nylon shank. The uppers combine leather with an abrasion-resistant textile that aids breathability, and Oboz’s BDry membrane is reliably waterproof and moderately breathable. The outsole sheds mud and grips well on a variety of ground. And the fit makes hikers who need extra toe space smile. Bonus: Oboz plants a tree for every pair of shoes sold. obozfootwear.com

The North Face Ultra Fastpack III Mid GTX ($160) Finding mid-cut boots that are supportive, durable, waterproof-breathable and weigh fewer than 2 pounds is rare, so these are unique coming out of the gate. In a weight class usually occupied by low-cuts for dayhiking and trail running, the Fastpack III’s midsole, with a shank, has the support for carrying up to about 40 pounds. And there’s ankle protection offered by their height. With a Gore-Tex membrane and woven-mesh uppers that make them more breathable than many waterproof, mid-cut boots, and a high-traction Vibram outsole, these boots might represent the best value on this list. thenorthface.com

Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX ($250) The Zodiac Plus GTX is ideal for when you need a boot that can go anywhere and allow your feet to survive any load comfortably. Scarpa’s Sock-Fit construction, featuring a stretchy tongue and padded, flexible collar that wraps the foot, cradles the heel and midfoot, and allows wiggle room for toes. A midsole of triple-density EVA with polyurethane in the heel delivers the support for big loads while keeping the boot weight amazingly under 2 1⁄2 pounds. Throw in a Gore-Tex membrane, top-shelf Perwanger leather uppers, a rubber rand that extends from toe to midfoot, and a Vibram Drumlin outsole with deep lugs, and you’re driving the Hummer of backpacking boots. www.scarpa.com

La Sportiva TX3 ($135) When you need light, breathable shoes for dayhiking, scrambling or even lightweight backpacking in dry climates, you can hardly do better than these low-cut boots. The mesh uppers keep feet dry on the hottest hikes, while the full rubber rand protects your toes and sides of your feet from bashing against rocks. The midsole has good support for its low weight (12.5 oz.). Best of all, the sticky Vibram Mega-Grip Traverse outsole sticks like a gecko to everything from rock slabs to talus and scree. sportiva.com

Zamberlan 491 Trackmaster GTX RR ($170) These high-quality leather boots are lightweight and reasonably priced. Everything about these comfortable boots speaks to top craftsmanship — from the one-piece Perwanger leather uppers to the rubber toe bumper, metal lacing hardware, supportive but light EVA midsole and high-traction Vibram Starlite outsole. A classic leather backpacking boot built for carrying moderate to heavy loads in cooler temps and wet conditions, these give you quality at a relative bargain. zamberlanusa.com

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