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Tecnica Stratus

rated 5 of 5 stars

The Stratus has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best hiking boots for 2024.

photo: Tecnica Stratus hiking boot
Version reviewed: Bio-Flex

Very nice boot from Tecnica. These are meant to be a 'heavy duty' backpacking boot. OK, but I would say these are at the lighter end of the heavy duty boot scene. I would classify them as kind of a a modern take on the traditional heavy-duty backpacking boot. A sturdy, substantial leather boot, but with some newer, lighter construction methods and mid sole technology.

Me: 5'10" 175 pounds. Fairly experienced mountaineer, climber, hiker. I do more day hiking and climbing than long backpacking trips. I needed a new pair of backpacking boots to replace a worn-out pair of old (20 + years!) Fabiano Rios (leather torn and broken down). I also own heavy leather mountaineering boots, but I judged them to be too rigid and insulated for summer backpacking - even at the higher altitudes of Wyoming.

Stratus BioFlex Product Description: all leather backpacking boot with rubber reinforced toe rand. Leather is 2.2mm nubuck. Interior lined with leather in the heel/ankle area, lined with cambrelle in the toe box. Vibram 'Advanced 3' sole, PowerCore mid sole, (all glued together, not norwegian welt).

I bought these on sale (great price from!) in the spring of 2003 knowing that I was headed for a tough backcountry trip in the Wind River Range (Wyoming) in the Summer of 2003. (Sizing runs small. Order at least a half size up.) This gave me plenty of time to break them in. They were extremely comfortable right out of the box with SmartWool hiking socks. I started wearing them every night for the 1 mile dog walk before bed; then did a handfull of day hikes (4-8 miles) in them. All told, I probably had put about 75 to 100 miles on them before I headed out to Wyoming. This worked out quite well for me.

Our Wyoming trip was 8 days, and meant carrying a pack that weighed slightly over 50 pounds! Youch! These boots provided the support I needed to survive this trip both in terms of vertical support (ankles) and horizontal support (shank).

The leather lining in the heel/ankle molded nicely to my foot and proved quite comfortable. I usually suffer terribly from blisters in any new shoes. Thanks to the combination of the boot design, my break-in work and good socks, I suffered less in these boots than I have in many others. In fact, I had fewer blisters than my hiking companions who were all wearing boots they had worn for years.

Our Wind River hiking trip included some easy trails, but was mostly rough trails, talus slopes, snow fields and bushwhacking. Throw in numerous creek crossings for good measure. The boots performed well in all conditions. I especially appreciated the PU midsole which provides a bit more cushioning than the old norwegian-welt Fabianos I used to wear. The soft vibram rubber proved quite sticky and secure for talus hopping and walking up and down granite slabs. I'm sure the down side to this will be longevity. I expect these soles will last me for a few years, but if you're looking for a boot that you can wear for decades - getting them resoled when needed - these might not be the solution. I don't think you can get these re-soled.

Stream crossings in the Wind Rivers are frequent. The boots performed well. The leather proved to be quite water resistant. I had applied nikwax earlier during the break in period and the water just beaded up and rolled off. Sometimes the water was so deep, you had to swap the boots for water sandals. Most times you could just splash through and/or hop from rock to rock. Occasionally, you'd slip in and the boots would get dunked. These boots didn't absorb any water even when totally dunked. I was dry again in no time even after total dunking.

Note that Tecnica also offers these boots in a 'gore tex' model. DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY. These all-leather non-gore-tex boots are perfectly fine for stream crossings, snow fields, extended rainy weather, etc.; and, they'll be more breathable in hot dry conditions than any gore-tex models.

Overall, I am extremely satisfied with these boots. They performed extremely well for a week-long trip with heavy pack. In addition, they are not so heavy as to be over-kill for day trips and overnighters. They definitely require some break in time, but not too much. My guess is that they might not be the solution for someone looking for a life-long companion. I don't know if they are well suited to re-soling, etc. However, if you are looking for a heavy duty boot that is not too heavy, these could be a great match.

Materials: Leather
Use: rough trail with heavy pack
Break-in Period: 50 miles or so
Weight: 1 lb 11 oz (each)
Price Paid: $190

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