After a particularly awful customer-service experience—you know, the kind that leaves you so incensed that you immediately draft a letter to the company president—I’d thought I’d sworn off Scarpa forever. Twenty-five years of patronage, to be treated with such disregard? Sayonara, suckers! But then an associate who works with Scarpa convinced me to give ‘em another shot—and I’m glad I did. Their Kailash Trek GTX is one of the best light hiking boots I’ve ever worn, and I’ve worn a lot. Light, comfortable, and flexible enough to keep me nimble all day, but sturdy underfoot for rocky slopes and steep sidehills, the Kailash has taken me through all manner of rugged terrain, with nary a hotspot, toe-bang, or painful poke from sharp rocks. The aggressive tread grabs the ground, preventing slippage on uneven, unstable, and slippery surfaces alike. And the TPU-wrapped toe-cap offers additional protection from frontal impact, while preventing abrasion and keeping the boot in good shape after dozens of rough outings. My only complaint is the waterproof liner, which lets in a little moisture when exposed to wet foliage for more than a couple hours. On longer, colder, wetter excursions, be sure to pack along an extra pair of wool socks. $289; us.scarpa.com.