Any hiker worth his wool socks knows that today’s waterproof boots are hydrophobic. But with a hiking shoe on a warm day, the membranes designed to keep water out have—until recently—kept perspiration in, leading to hot and damp feet gasping for fresh air mere miles from the trailhead. That changed in 2015, when La Sportiva released the Synthesis—a synthetic waterproof and breathable boot featuring Gore-Tex’s new Surround technology that breathes far better than a traditional waterproof system. Now the Synthesis has a companion in the Nucleo, a traditional hiker featuring that same Gore-Tex Surround technology. We haven’t tested the Nucleo yet, but we have tested Surround footwear extensively and can say that the Surround design works best when paired with a porous, mesh underfoot (see the red material beneath the honeycomb at the arches). We’d also expect the Nucleo would excel on rugged trails, thanks to its grippy Vibram sole. La Sportiva’s patented STB Control System, where the upper wraps the midsole in the medial zone to resist twisting is also a known performer. Look for a full review in Spring 2017.
Info: The Nucleo will be available exclusively through REI for one year, starting January 1, 2017, before becoming available at sportiva.com and participating retailers. $199; 16.8 oz. (men’s), 13.4 oz. (women’s) —Rachel Walker