Tecnica, a company best known for making ski boots, made waves last year when it introduced the Forge, a technical hiking boot that draws from ski boot innovations to be entirely customizable. Now Tecnica is back with its second product in the outdoor category: a heat moldable low-cut hiking shoe called Plasma.
We had the opportunity to test the Forge before it came out and the boot exceeded expectations. The word “custom” is bandied around frequently by brands and often is just a gimmick, but that isn’t the case with the Forge. The heat molding process, which takes 20 to 30 minutes and occurs at shops that stock the boot, changes the feel of the boot drastically and virtually does away with any arduous break-in period. After months of trekking in it, we named the Forge our Editor’s Choice for the Best Hiking Boot available.
Tecnica took all of its learnings from the Forge and built them into the Plasma. The molding process is the same, and the construction is very similar, except for the lower profile. Hiking shoes are different than boots though, and we were concerned that the effects of the customization process wouldn’t be as apparent or impactful in a boot with a lot less material to customize.
We spent last fall hiking in the Plasma and can confirm that it excels in all the same ways as its predecessor. The molded footbed is more supportive than any you’ll find stocked in another boot (except the Forge, of course) and the upper remains comfortable through long days (our longest was 16 miles). You’ll have to find a brick-and-mortar retailer that stocks Tecnica to get a pair and mold them (here’s Tecnica’s store locator), but if you’re looking for a new pair of hiking shoes the trip will be worth it — these might be the best of the year.
Gear Patrol also recommends:
Salewa Wildfire GTX ($118)
The North Face Ultra Fastpack III GTX ($160)
Naglev Unico Hiker ($173)
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