Sandstone trails, soft sand, and compacted sand all seemed the perfect test for Danner's Nobo Mid, a sturdy mid-weight boot the company's designers came up with to handle both light and mid-distance hikes.
Clambering down the sandstone trail into Horseshoe Canyon en route to the Great Gallery in Canyonlands National Park, I needed good footing on the approach and return from the 7-mile hike. The Nobo, which is named for the "northbounders" on the Appalachian National Scenic trail, met my needs, the lugged sole firmly gripping the sandstone with each step I took.
Down on the sandy wash of the canyon floor, a good grip wasn't necessary, but ankle support was in the sand, and again the boot performed, providing good footing in both that sand and as I crossed onto wet, compacted, sand and onto the trail that winds through stands of cottonwoods.
Much more pliable and comfortable out of the box than Danner's Crater Rim boots, which are beefier due to their design as a long-distance boot, the Nobos (MSRP $160) are a handsome boot, one you wouldn't mind wearing while both Park Avenue in Manhattan and Park Avenue in Arches National Park.
But don't underestimate these boots; they can take a deal of punishment while keeping your feet comfortable. A nylon shank in the sole protects your foot from sharp rocks, and the moderately lugged sole offers ample traction. Inside, the construction includes a layer of Gore-Tex to help keep your feet dry under rainy conditions or while crossing creeks (as long as they're not too deep!)
There's also an antimicrobial open-cell footbed designed to draw moisture away from your foot. Outside, the upper is Nuboc leather. To wrap and cushion your heel and in the tongue Danner uses an antimicrobial mesh fabric to help your foot breath.
Complementing this boot is a Nobo Low (MSRP $150) for those who don't like ankle-height boots, and the Sobo Mid (MSRP $130) which replaces much of the Nuboc upper on the Nobo with mesh and suede for a more breathable, and lightweight, boot, albeit one without a waterproof liner.