Gray’s Best Awards 2016

Acrylic painting of camper


Lowa Tibet GTX Hi BootTo me, the most important piece of gear an outdoorsman can own is a great pair of boots. A pawnshop .30-06 will kill deer just as dead as a custom rifle, but when it comes to footwear, you generally get what you pay for. At $395, the Lowa Tibet GTX Hi is an investment that will pay dividends for many years. Handcrafted in Germany, this is the high-top version of the popular Lowa Tibet, which has been a favorite among long-distance backcountry hikers. A Vibram sole, full-length shank, and a tall rubber rand set the foundation for many a mile well traveled. Although the nubuck leather upper, Gore-Tex liner, and ample padding are nothing new to high-end mountaineering-style hunting boots, the lacing system really sets this boot apart. Starting at the toes, three silky smooth eyelets create the initial fit, which can then be locked into place by a fourth pair of cam-action eyelets. Flip out the eyelet, and the lace can move in either direction. Make your initial adjustment; then dial in the fit without fussing over the forefoot lacing. The five upper eyelets are standard hooks, albeit with a clever post centered on the boot’s tongue to prevent drifting. One pass around the stud during upper lacing absolutely secures the fit. Unlike its low-top cousin, the Tibet GTX Hi is typically European, and not available in wide sizes. As a duck-footed American, I purchased a boot stretcher and wound up with a perfect fit. If you’re concerned about width, consider the low-top Tibet instead.