I have a soft spot for the Mescalito: 20 years ago I wore the original version to climb a series of 4000m peaks in Switzerland. There had been a late dump of snow and I did the entire route with a plastic bag stuffed inside each boot in the absence of a waterproof liner. The new version is a little lower, and has a Gore-Tex lining and a softer flex. Volume is relatively low but – and this is rare – the original footbed actually works. A fabric ankle insert allows flex, with good support from the suede upper.
A full rubber rand incorporates a small toe cap for protection. In a nod to climbing shoes, laces run to the toe cap, then through holes in the suede to two ankle hooks. Because of this they must be adjusted individually as there are no metal or plastic eyelets to allow a smooth pull. My only criticism is the lack of heel hook, and I had to lace very deliberately to avoid heel lift without creating a pressure point across the front of my ankle. The stretch tongue is sewn in to just below cuff level, and once the boot is on the foot it feels snug (and warm). The Vibram sole is an asymmetric 8 with no heel ledge; despite this, the grip was excellent and I had to hunt out really steep, muddy terrain to feel any slippage. Whilst the flex is perfect for walking, the torsional support gives confidence on more technical terrain. On trails and technical going they’re a pleasure to wear. Let’s see if there’s a third incarnation in another 20 years.
Read more: Three season boot review
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