As I stared down a 15-day, 100-mile trip in the Israeli wilderness, I was still searching for trail-ready shoes with just the right fit. I knew I would be putting my footwear through the proverbial wringer, so I had to find a durable, yet flexible fit.
I wanted to be sure my boots had the right amount of breathability for the hot desert temperatures while being certain that I did not make any concessions in the comfort and support necessary for the diverse terrain I would cover.That’s when I got my hands on a pair of mercury-accented Mammut Comfort Tour Mid GTX Surrounds ($189).
These attractive and rugged-looking velours boots fit the bill nicely. They have a classic look, but are packed with modern technology. The GTX’s are outfitted with 360-degree ventilation thanks to a perforated insole (thus the Surround name), and an open-pore wedge construction in the arches.
And even with this level of breathability, Mammut maintains a 100 percent waterproof guarantee.
So how did they actually fair?
As I headed out into the coarse and jagged Negev wilderness, the suede-like leather upper performed well. It was extremely resistant to any abrasion despite the considerable amount of bouldering we did and the consistent contact made with very rough surfaces.I was consistently impressed by the amount of traction the boots were able to maintain on loose and even wet rocks or soil. I was able to nimbly traverse the rapidly flowing Jordan River (twice) without losing my footing, even after completely submerging my feet.
Fortunately for me (and thanks to the ventilation on these boots and the removable insole), they dried out completely overnight, and were ready for another full day of hiking the next morning.
In the northern region of the country, there is a surprising amount of volcanic rock that would have been liable to really tear up your soles, but the Gripex Sonar Comfort soles held up really well, and still have plenty miles left on their tread.
Sadly, my trip came to an end this past weekend, but I am sold on the performance of the Mammut Comfort Tour Mid GTX Surround has to offer. I can’t wait to slip them back on for the next adventure.
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