La Sportiva Xplorer Mid GTX
Ultralight approach shoes are fine and dandy, but for ankle support when scrambling up a creek bed or surfing scree on a descent, look no further than the Xplorer Mid GTX. La Sportiva took its popular low-top Xplorer and beefed it up for heavyduty hikes, yet added only about 5 oz. to a pair. The ankle height adds stability and protection for early-summer snow and puddles en route to alpine rock climbs. “It provides the protection of a heavier boot, with the weight of a trail runner,” one tester said after sporting these shoes on five-mile approaches in Rocky Mountain National Park. “Plus, they’ve got enough warmth to walk on cold ground and hard snow all day without freezing your toes off.” The shoe is lined with Gore-Tex Extended Comfort fabric (more breathable than regular Gore-Tex), and the sticky Vibram sole gripped to the slick granite slabs at Lumpy Ridge in Colorado. Ideal for light summer mountaineering, long approaches with a heavy pack, and shoulderseason approaches, the Xplorer Mid GTX is a perfect three-season approach workhorse.'