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Garmont Momentum Snow GTX Winter Boot : All-Wheel-Drive for Your Feet

I'm living in Norway for the winter, which has proven to be the perfect testing ground for Garmont's awesome Momentum Snow GTX boots. They're insulated, waterproof, breathable high-top hikers that are built from the sole up for cold, wet, and snowy conditions. I wear mine daily and can't imagine being here without them.

Autumn was in its waning weeks when I first arrived, which meant daily rain and literally the inches of mud on one of my now-favorite hiking trails. I spent an hour every day splashing around in my new Momentum Snow GTX hiking boots and my feet consistently stayed dry. The Gore-Tex liner does a fantastic job of keeping out water, and thanks to Garmont's top- quality construction, I don't have any leaky seams.

I also had great traction because of the sole's big, aggressive lugs. The Momentum Snow GTX hiking boots are made for muddy and snowy conditions, so I rarely slip around. As winter has taken hold, the mud has frozen and the snow has fallen. The streets are covered in a thick layer of ice, and just walking to the grocery store can be cold and treacherous. I have two options: use ice skates or wear my Momentum Snow boots. I have embraced the latter. The traction on medium-packed snow is about as good as it gets, and even on ice the shoes feel solid. In fact, these boots make me feel almost Norwegian (not the sand-and-surf Californian that I am by birth).

What's even better about my rugged Momentum Snow GTX boots is that my toes always stay toasty warm. The boots have 400g of Thinsulate fiber in them for insulation, and they're rated down to -35 degrees. That's important when I'm using them in an active sport.

This morning my wife and I hiked up one of the local mountains above our town, through fresh snow the whole way. I attached my gaiters to the boots' d-ring connectors and kept out the snow. On the way I up, I was paying particular attention to the weight of the Momentum Snow GTX boots - they are surprisingly light, only slightly heavier than my typical rock climbing approach shoe. The boots have tons of support, too, which is great for hikes in the winter. Typically, snow packs down unevenly, and it's easy to roll an ankle. These Garmont boots come well above my ankles, and I can crank them down tight.

Finally, I really like the roomy toe-box. I sized mine slightly larger because I wanted to wear thick winter socks, but it turns out the boots are built specifically for thick socks. I'd suggest going with your street shoe size even if you plan on wearing thick socks.

Garmont's Momentum Snow GTX is available in a black men's version (sizes 7-14, with half sizes up to 12.5) and a grey/teal women's version (sizes 5-11 with half sizes up to 9.5).

Bottom Line: Warm, comfortable, lightweight, and waterproof boots with excellent traction. A must-have item for winter.--(N.W., Dec '10)

BUY ONLINE: $139.95, on sale now for $99 at REI. Men's and Women's boots at icon

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When hiking or camping, always carry the "10 Essentials":

Extra clothing, extra food and water, lighter or water-proof matches and fire starter, map in waterproof envelope, compass, pocket knife, sunscreen and sunglasses, flashlight or headlamp, first aid kit, emergency shelter.

Source: Seattle Mountain Rescue and Seattle Mountaineers.