I tested these boots out on a few day hikes in the rugged unmarked trails of the Adirondack High Peaks, as well as a 9 day off trail mountainous backpacking trip in Kluane National Park, Yukon.
Arcteryx Women's Bora Mid GTX hiking boot
Colours: Raku/Lupine, Black/Mid Seaspray
Weight: 2.89lbs (size 8)
Weight: The first thing you will notice about these boots is that they feel about half the weight of any other leather backpacking boot. As a woman, I need to shed grams anyway I can. I can confirm that I had less leg and foot fatigue after a day of hiking shedding over a pound or more than my previous boots. They are less clunky and feel like you have an agile running shoe on rather than a backpacking boot.
Comfort: The stretch Goretex liner enables most foot shapes to be comfortable in the boot right from the first time you put them on. I have a low volume, long, narrow foot and I found them to be perfect for my feet. Even with my orthotics, there was adequate room and space. I found that I needed to buy thinner hiking socks with these boots as the liner created some cushioning on its own. I never once had any blisters or hot spots while wearing these boots.
Waterproofness: One of the things that attracted me to this boot was the fact that the boot was a seamless single piece construction of synthetic material, preventing any water from entering between the sole and the boot. No more waterproofing boots! The liner is a Goretex fabric that will absorb water (water must be deep enough to go over the tongue). What I felt when dipping my foot in deep water was that the water would get absorbed on the liner exposed on the top of my foot. The water would quickly disperse along the fabric and then would dry through convection. I never ever have had the squishy, water logged boots that I have in the past once water seeped in the seams and then stayed wet for the rest of the day or trip. I just had some sock dampness on the top of my foot. At camp, I would air out the boot and if sunny or windy, the gortex liner would dry out before morning. In rainy conditions, the liner stayed damp, and I'd have to start the next day with some dampness at the top of my foot. My socks would also be damp in these instances, but I never once had a blister.
Breathability: The boot boasts that it is one of the most breathable boots on the market. After testing these boots in hot, humid. east coast weather, I can say that these boots are the most breathable boot I have ever owned. My socks were never sweaty, and I never felt that my feet were super hot, even in the black colour.
Secondly, the round laces of these boots kept coming undone even when double or triple knotted. This happened less while wearing gaiters, but when bushwhacking without, the laces would get pulled undone. Over a 9 day trip this happened about once a day.
Lastly, a friend who was wearing the same boots on the same trip had an issue with the rather large cleat buckle on the boot. When positioning the toes of the boots at 90 degrees to one another and without wearing gaiters or pants, the ridges of the two inner ankle cleat buckles have locked together, preventing her from being able to step forward, a potential safety issue. I personally have never had this issue (but I am a bit bow legged), but it has happened 3 times for her. See photo below.
** 2016 UPDATE: The toe cap on one of my boots started tearing and peeling back quickly. After one year of use I found this unacceptable. This also happened to my husband's boot so we sent them back to Arc'teryx who sent us a new pair. Thankfully I got them before a 3 week trekking trip to Nepal!
***2017 UPDATE: After using these boots now for a few years, I have noticed one common theme that I think could be improved. The boots soles that are absolutely terrible in slippery, wet conditions. After just spending a week backpacking on a rocky coastal hike, I found myself falling, slipping, and bracing on every moist slabby rock. My friend Deb below replaced the soles of her boots with another vibram pattern which are performing far better than mine. I may have to do the same.