On steep and technical ice—or loose, sketchy ledges—precise foot placement is critical. The Lowa Weisshorn GTX ($460; lowaboots.com) made even the most unstable terrain manageable. “It fit me like a second layer of skin—never awkward or bulky,” said a Vermont tester after multi-pitch ice climbs at Lake Willoughby. The secret? The Weisshorn’s thick, single-piece suede upper has fabric and microfiber cutouts at the ankle, which provided more mobility at a key pivot point, and a deeper-than-average Achilles notch for flexibility. It felt custom-fit thanks to lacing that extends to the toe. Plus, a webbing ankle lace loop comfortably cammed the foot in without restricting ankle motion to give it “climbing shoe feel” with mountain boot protection. For walking, Lowa found the sweet spot between crampon-compatible stability and just enough flex for a comfortable gait with its carbon fiber midsole. Combined with shock absorbing polyurethane pads in the heels, “It made the hike in and long winter routes significantly more enjoyable,” said one Mt. Rainier tester. Gore-Tex Duratherm insulation stayed warm and dry despite typical wet Northeast conditions, and the Vibram outsole handled edging on tiny shelves without slipping. Tester’s verdict: “Does it all well— from alpine climbing to technical rock and ice."