Gear Test: Columbia Frontier Peak GTX hiking boot

November 11, 2006
Filed under Camping Gear, Footwear

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Hiking boots are like any shoe you wear-one style doesn’t fit every need. But the Columbia Frontier Peak GTX might be the only hiking boot you’ll need during the summer and fall months.

I field-tested a pair on a week-long, early summer trip to Alaska that involved hiking trails in the famed Katmai National Park and fishing along the grassy banks of the Kvichak River. The weather varied as much as the terrain. One day it was raining and cool, the next, sunny, hot and dry.

The colorful, waterproof Frontier Peak GTX boots, weighing just 2.8 pounds per pair and classified as a “lightweight hiker,” handled the challenge easily.

The metal ghillies and speed hooks allowed the thick laces to fold the gusseted tongue over the top of the foot without wadding. The tongue and padded ankle support design did a fine job of keeping sand, small pebbles and moisture out.

Waterproof Nubuck and mesh keeps water at bay, as does the waterproof/breathable Gore-Tex inner bootie. At the same time your feet don’t sweat much because the bootie is designed to let the foot breath. They are also nicely padded in the footbed.

Underneath the footbed is a nylon shank with a full-length composite lasting board that allows the GTX sole to bend easily, be lightweight, yet provide very good stability.

The outsole is a bright yellow/black lug combination made from Omni-Grip-a non-marking, sticky rubber compound developed exclusively for Columbia Sportswear-that delivers excellent traction and stability on wet or dry surfaces.

Like most hiking boots, the Columbia Frontier Peak GTX takes a few days to break in. So if you plan on extended periods of comfortable hiking, spend a few days wearing them for a couple hours at a time around home before hitting the long trails. From then on they will take great care of your feet. MSRP: $129. Columbia Sportswear: 503/985-4000; /columbia.com/.

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