The 12 Best Men’s Hiking Boots, Tested by Outdoor Experts

We hiked hundreds of miles and like a North Face pair best

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Best Hiking Boots
TripSavvy / Nathan Allen.

Hiking is the foundation of so many other outdoor activities, and the bedrock beneath it is a solid pair of hiking boots. But hiking is a general term that means little more than walking in nature, which belies the variety it entails: a hike might last less than an hour or a few months, and trails can be flat, steep, rocky, muddy, icy, grassy, or yes, even paved. And for every different hiking style and type of trail, there's a hiking boot to match.

Here, we recommend various hiking boots and hiking shoes for a range of different hiking styles and conditions. Start the process of choosing which pair to buy by asking yourself what kind of hiking you need them for — day hikes, backpacking, or something in between — and where you'll be doing it. Fit is essential too, and you should remember that what works for some won't work for all.

Below are the best hiking boots of 2022.

Best Overall: The North Face Vectiv Exploris Mid Futurelight

The North Face Vectiv Exploris Mid Futurelight

REI

What We Like
  • Superior comfort

  • Solid all-around hiking option

  • Excellent energy return on faster hikes

What We Don't Like
  • Nothing yet

The North Face nailed it with its Vectiv Exploris Mid Futurelight hikers. From the energy return to the comfort, these were our favorite shoes right out of the box and throughout testing. The Vectivs get their energy return from a single-density, high-rebound midsole, TNF's proprietary "Vectiv" technology, and its rocker tech, which is rapidly becoming a popular feature of hiking and running shoes. 

A 3D TPU plate underfoot amps stability. An OrthoLite footbed boosts comfort. And some more proprietary materials add waterproofing while maintaining some breathability. "I stepped in a puddle and couldn't believe they're waterproof," one tester noted.

We mainly tested these shoes in the Santa Monica Mountains outside of Los Angeles and took them on hikes past 10 miles and over 4.5 hours. "Best pure hiking shoe I've put on in the Santa Monica Mountains terrain," one tester declared. They remained comfortable over hours, and our tester liked them more the longer he stayed in them. 

One problem our tester did have was some rocks and debris making their way over the top and into the shoe. But besides that minor nitpick, these are some solid and fun all-around hiking boots. 

Weight: 14.67 ounces (416 grams) | Materials: Abrasion-resistant Cordura mesh ripstop upper, "Surface Control" rubber outsole | Waterproofing: Futurelight membrane

Best Runner Up: Salomon Outpulse Mid Gore-Tex

Salomon Outpulse Mid Gore-Tex

Salomon

What We Like
  • Great out of the box comfort and performance

  • Excellent energy return and stability

  • Lightweight but also able to handle backpacking

What to Consider
  • Some report concerns about potential durability, but we haven’t seen any issues

  • More of a shoe, less of a boot

Outpulse is Salomon's new hiking shoe line, and we must say, out of the box, this has been one of our favorites. Improvements on this line from Salomon focus on boosted energy return and comfort, which we noticed from the get-go of testing. Salomon employs a new Fuze Surge foam compound taken from trail running research to boost energy return and comfort. Meanwhile, Energy Blade tech and a reverse camber profile help create an efficient and neutral stride.

We've been hiking with the Outpulses on mainly dry Southern California trails over the past couple of months and have been impressed. The newfangled tech seems to be paying off as the shoes feel truly efficient and fast. The Contagrip rubber outsole has held up well to varying speeds, trail surfaces, and steepness. 

We feel the trail running influence of these hikers as they feel less like a traditional rugged and stiff hiking boot and more like a, well, trail running shoe. If you're looking for a more traditional hiking boot or backpacking boot, check out some suggestions below. But for an everyday fast and efficient hiking shoe, we love these.

Weight: 13.4 ounces (380 grams) | Materials: Synthetic upper, Contagrip rubber outsole | Waterproofing: Gore-Tex waterproofing

Best Budget: Merrell Men's Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot

Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot

Merrell

What We Like
  • Classic hiking boots that get the job done

  • Durable

What We Don't Like
  • Not great at waterproofing

The Merrell Moab 2 Mid WP’s are classic hiking boots. And for a good reason. They’re excellent and probably one of the most common boots you’ll see on trails. Merrell uses some proprietary contoured footbeds with arch and heel support to create a genuinely comfortable boot out of the box. EVA midsoles help boost that comfort and stability. And a Vibram outsole is solid on steep terrain and loose rock.

We’ve been hiking versions of the Moabs for years and have been in this specific pair for months and have yet to find much we don’t like about these boots. Not only are they good at day hikes, but these would also be solid for backpacking trips. The one common issue many other customers and users of this hiking boot take umbrage with is the waterproofing. It doesn’t work very well. So, if you live in a wet climate or are concerned about shallow creek crossings, you probably want to check out other pairs on this list. But, if most of your hiking is done in dry conditions, the Moab 2’s will be a solid value.

Weight: 20 ounces (567 grams) | Materials: Suede leather and mesh upper, EVA midsole, nylon shank, Vibram TC5+ outsole | Waterproofing: Merrell Select Dry membrane

Best for Backpacking: Salomon Quest 4 GTX Hiking Boots

4.5
Salomon Quest 4 GTX Hiking Boots

REI

What We Like
  • Built for long days in technical terrain

  • Handled water, mud, and ice with no problem

  • Classic backpacking boots that will likely last a while

What We Don't Like
  • Some break-in will probably be necessary

Now on its fourth iteration, the Salomon Quest hiking boots are infamous for being solid, rugged, and all-around quality backpacking boots. The newest version is no different. These boots are built for long, demanding days backpacking. The upgraded pair employs a new chassis focused on wrapping the foot with boosted support while keeping your stride fluid. This means amplified stability no matter the terrain.

Salomon also uses Contagrip outsoles for increased stability. EnergyCell EVA foam helps amp comfort. Nubuck leather helps boost the durability and longevity of the boots. And Salomon wraps this pair in a Gore-Tex application to help with water resistance. "These beautiful hiking shoes are built for technical terrain mainly in the mountains," one tester reported. "They can withstand water, mud, and California winter ice without your foot feeling anything."

Our tester did report needing some extra break-in time for these shoes as about two-dozen miles in them; they still felt stiff. He also recommends buying a half-size smaller. 

Weight: 46 ounces (1315 grams) | Materials: leather upper, EVA midsole, Contagrip TD outsole | Waterproofing: Gore-Tex

Most Stylish: Vasque Sunsetter NTX

Vasque Sunsetter NTX
Vasque photo.
What We Like
  • Comfy

  • Affordable

What to Consider
  • Not the best for long, technical hikes

We all have differing opinions on what defines style, but it's hard to argue with the classic look of a brown boot with red laces when it comes to hiking boots. That's how Vasque dressed up the nostalgia-infused Sunsetter NTX—though there are subtler color options to choose from—which is a modern version of a hiker it debuted back in '84. We believe that a hiking boot has to perform, too, and the Sunsetter certainly does.

Perhaps the boot's best characteristic is how comfy it is, straight out of the box. It has ample support throughout and a decent amount of cushion, both in the toe box and around its mesh collar. The midsole is the cushiest that Vasque makes, though it's certainly not too soft (and not the softest we tested). That's good because it's one of the contributing factors that make the Sunsetter good for, you know, actually hiking in.

Over multiple hikes—up mountains, on park trails, and to the bar—we found that the Sunsetter has sufficient support and grip to consider it an actual hiking boot and not just a lifestyle shoe. A 50-percent recycled Nature-Tex waterproof membrane adds water-repellant properties, too. It's better for day hikes than backpacking trips, and other options on this list are more suitable for really technical terrain, but it holds up well if you're a light hiker and want to keep the number of shoes you own to a minimum.

Weight: 17 ounces (482 grams) | Materials: suede upper, 100 percent recycled lining, EVA midsole, Vasque Micro Plus outsole | Waterproofing: Nature Tex waterproof/breathable membrane

Vasque Sunsetter NTX

Best Eco-Friendly Hiking Boot: REI Co-op Men's Flash Hiking Boots

REI Co-op Men's Flash Hiking Boots

REI

What We Like
  • Very comfy and supportive

  • Lightweight

  • Affordable

What to Consider
  • No wide version

  • Lace system could be improved

REI has been selling hiking boots for decades, so when it finally decided to make its own, it had a deep, deep well of hands-on experience and customer feedback to draw from. It shows, too—the Flash is an excellent all-rounder of a hiking boot that will be perfect for most hikers. It's an anti-specialist with solid support in a lightweight platform, meaning it'll be good to go no matter how many miles you plan to put in. And, with an approachable price, it'll be ideal for beginner and occasional hikers.

Generally, my favorite thing about the Flash is how much you get for the price. But to point out a few features, I liked how supportive this boot is. The heel is stable and grabbed onto my foot—I'm pretty blister-prone and had no issues with hot spots—and there's excellent arch support too. I also have to call out the minimalist knit upper, which has a unique style factor that belies the boot's capability. And the knit upper is breathable but also waterproof with REI's HydroWall waterproof membrane (I did most of my testing at the tail end of a New England winter, locally known as mud season, and my feet stayed nice and dry).

My one knock on the Flash is the lacing system, which isn't as easy to fine-tune as other boots that use D-rings and lace hooks. It's a minor gripe, given everything else. REI also deserves extra credit for weaving tons of eco-friendly materials into the Flash; nearly every component is made with some percentage of recycled material, and there's even some algae-based foam in the midsole.

Weight: 17 ounces (482 grams) | Materials: recycled polyester upper with TPU overlay, EVA midsole, TerraGrip outsole | Waterproofing: HydroWall waterproof/breathable membrane

REI Co-op Flash Hiking Boot
TripSavvy / Tanner Bowden.

Best Splurge: Tecnica Magma Mid GTX

Tecnica Magma Mid GTX

Blizzard Tecnica

What We Like
  • Upper is customizable

  • Very lightweight

  • No break-in period

What to Consider
  • No wide version

  • Laces seem flimsy

It's been a few years since Tecnica took decades of experience in the ski boot biz and applied it to hiking footwear. A big chunk of that know-how involves how boots fit, and that's the standout feature in the Magma Mid GTX. The mid-height hiking shoe is comfy straight out of the box and didn't result in hot spots or blisters over my initial day hikes around Vermont's Green Mountains.

But Tecnica also offers an in-store heat molding process unique to the hiking boot category (you'll have to locate a Tecnica retailer with the molding machine). It takes roughly 10 minutes, and the difference is indeed noticeable — if the Magma Mid fit well before, it was nearly perfect after. 

The Magma Mid is a lightweight hiking boot with ankle support, so it does a good job competing with low hiking shoes. In that sense, it's an excellent choice for hikers who want a light, nimble shoe for faster paces that still provides adequate support. Its outsole is also super grippy, even on wet rock and super steep dirt trails (like the one leading up to Great Northern Mountain near Glacier National Park). The downsides? It's pricier than most mid-height hiking shoes, and the laces seem a bit flimsier than they should be, but the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

Weight: 13 ounces (368 grams) | Materials: suede leather upper, EVA midsole, Vibram Megagrip Litebase XO SHIELD outsole | Waterproofing: Gore-Tex

Tecnica Magma GTX
TripSavvy / Tanner Bowden.

Best Hiker/Trail-Runner Hybrid: Hoka One One Men's Speedgoat Mid 2 GTX

Hoka One One Men's Speedgoat Mid 2 GTX

REI

What We Like
  • Cushiony midsole

  • Lightweight and supportive

What We Don't Like
  • Not as stiff as others

I got Hoka's mid-height cross between a trail running shoe and a hiking boot for winter running, hoping to take advantage of its lugged outsole for traction and its high collar for some extra protection against snow and debris. It excelled at doing all of that. Ever since the snow has been replaced with mud and dirt, I've been even more impressed at how well this shoe transitions with the seasons, no matter the conditions or how fast I'm moving.

What I like about this shoe for both hiking and running is how comfortable it is. You can feel this from the first time you lace them up out of the box, but sometimes that initial feeling doesn't translate to the trail. That's not the case with the Speedgoat Mid—its EVA midsole is soft yet supportive for shorter hikes (or runs) and remained that way when I cranked up the miles.

Another thing I like about the Speedgoat Mids is that they're lightweight, even with their supportive collar. Speaking of the collar, it just covers my ankle, so it's not as high as backpacking-specific hiking boots, but I've found that it provides adequate support for a lot less bulk. My one knock on them is that the collar can collapse some when putting them on, but this is an admittedly minor criticism that doesn't have anything to do with how they feel on the trail.

Weight: 13.2 ounces (374 grams) | Materials: synthetic upper, Vibram Megagrip outsole | Waterproofing: Gore-Tex

Hoka One One Speedgoat Mid GTX 2
TripSavvy / Tanner Bowden.

Best Hiking Shoe: Oboz Men's Sawtooth X Low Shoe

Oboz Men's Sawtooth X Low Shoe

Backcountry

What We Like
  • Supportive

  • Comes with an aftermarket-quality insole

What We Don't Like
  • Might be stiffer than some want in a hiking shoe

The Sawtooth is Oboz's bread and butter line of hiking footwear, and the company hasn't changed it in so many years because it hasn't needed to. The X remodel is sleeker than the original, and the company did an excellent job updating without overhauling. I think it's an improvement, particularly in this low model, which feels just like a solid, sturdy hiking boot with the top down, i.e., the perfect compromise between lightness and support.

There are tradeoffs to opting for a hiking shoe over a full-size boot, but somehow Oboz has managed to ultimately minimize them. While many hiking shoes feel sneaker-like, the Sawtooth X has all the support of a hiking boot (except, of course, around the ankle). That's due to the sturdy leather upper, a midsole made stiffer with a nylon shank, and Oboz's proprietary outsole. 

It's also worth noting that while many boot brands include flimsy insoles (I often replace them immediately with aftermarket options), Oboz's O Fit footbed is very comfortable and very supportive. That's a $30-40 value add for anyone who, like me, hikes with an aftermarket insole.

The Sawtooth X is an excellent option if you prefer hiking shoes over hiking boots, are more of a day hiker than a backpacker, or would rather prioritize weight over support.

Weight: 15.8 ounces (448 grams) | Materials: Nubuck leather and Cordura mesh upper, rubber-blended adaptive foam midsole with nylon shank, True Tread outsole | Waterproofing: N/A

Oboz Sawtooth X Low Shoe
TripSavvy / Tanner Bowden.

Best Approach Shoe: Salewa Men's Wildfire Leather

Salewa Men's Wildfire Leather

Backcountry

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Close-fitting

  • Stylish

What We Don't Like
  • No waterproof membrane

  • Less supportive than others

I wore an earlier iteration of the Wildfire for a four-month-long trip around South America, which involved lots of hiking in mountains, deserts, rain forests, and beaches, not to mention towns and cities. The shoe worked well for all of it, and in my opinion, Salewa has only improved the design over the years since.

The new Wildfire Leather hits a unique cross-section of uses. They're a lightweight approach shoe, which makes them suitable for hiking in technical, rocky terrain and those going for speed, not to mention rock climbers hiking up to a crag. But because they're lightweight and don't have a stiff shank (and are quite good-looking, in an outdoorsy way), they're also a decent option to wear around town.

Readers should remember that an approach shoe is a specific type of hiking shoe—lighter, more nimble, made with a sticker outsole, less supportive, and a more restrictive fit. The tradeoff is support for speed, so if you're looking for the former, this might not be the shoe for you. On the other hand, many will prefer the close fit, bolstered by climbing-style laces and a system of self-adjusting Kevlar cables integrated into the upper. I have to say that I really dig the style of these hiking shoes too.

Weight: 12.7 ounces (360 grams) | Materials: Suede upper, EVA midsole, Pomoca Speed MTN Path outsole | Waterproofing: N/A

Salewa Wildfire Leather
TripSavvy / Tanner Bowden.

Best Wide Toe Box: Topo Athletic Terraventure 2

Topo Athletic Terraventure 2

Amazon

What We Like
  • Perhaps the most comfortable boot we tested

  • We didn’t need break-in

What We Don't Like
  • Could be a bit too wide for narrower feet

Now in its second generation, Topo Athletic’s Terraventure 2 is our favorite hiking boot for anyone wanting an extra-wide toe box. Topo Athletic has garnered a bit of a cult following for its wide toe box running and hiking shoes, and rightfully so. They do it better than anyone. The newest version of the Terraventures features a more breathable upper mesh and medial water drainage ports. It also has a larger platform and newly designed Vibram outsole focusing on durability.

We took this boot over dozens of hiking trails in Joshua Tree National Park and the San Bernardino National Forest in February and March, where we experienced rugged desert trails and snow-covered mountain paths. The boots held up well in both extremes. Two things we appreciate about hiking boots are comfort out of the box and superior traction. These hiking boots were adept at both.

Now, for those with narrower feet, the Terraventures might be a bit too wide. But for anyone with broader or flatter feet or looking to allow maximum splay of their toes, these boots are a solid option.

Weight: 14.1 ounces (400 grams) | Materials: ZipFoam midsole, Vibram outsole | Waterproofing: Comes in Gore-Tex and non-Gore-Tex version

Topo Athletic Terraventure 2
TripSavvy / Nathan Allen.

Best Trail to Bar (or Restaurant): Forsake Halden Mid Men's Waterproof Hiking Sneaker Boot

Forsake Halden Mid Men's Waterproof Hiking Sneaker Boot

Forsake

What We Like
  • Great urban hikers or for anyone combining trails with dinner

  • Good style and good-enough trail performance

What We Don't Like
  • Probably not your go-to for longer, more rugged hikes

For those looking to add a stylish boot to their hiking boot quiver, we recommend Forsake's Halden Mid boots. They probably won't be your normal go-to hiking boot for serious and long hikes. But for the urban adventurer or anyone combining a light hike with a trip to the bar, brewery, winery, or restaurant, these are a solid pick.

Forsake uses full-grain leather, breathable mesh, suede, a compression EVA midsole, and a "Peak-to-Pavement" outsole to craft the Halden. It does come in a waterproof version, which we found decent at repelling moisture. We found the shoe to run a bit narrower than others tested, but our tester for these shoes has wide and flat feet and found them wide enough.

Weight: 18 ounces (510 grams) | Materials: Leather, suede, and breathable mesh | Waterproofing: Waterproof grade leather and suede

Final Verdict

Above features and style, the first thing you should consider when choosing a hiking boot is fit. Whether you're hiking for an hour or a week, a bad blister can be the downfall of any hiking excursion (and dampen your desire to return to the trails anytime soon). Everybody's feet are different, as are our unique gaits and strides. Furthermore, where you'll be hiking has a role to play. Luckily, there's never been more variety in the types of hiking boots available.

When searching for a new hiking boot, The North Face's Vectiv Exploris Mid Futurelight (view at The North Face) is an excellent place to start—it's an ideal boot for various uses and should work for most hikers. If you only plan to hit the trail occasionally or simply want a more budget-friendly option, try Merrell's Moab 2 boots. And if you want a good all-around hiker that's also eco-friendly, try REI's Flash (which, handily, is easy on the wallet too).

Other Hiking Boots We Tested

Our team has been testing hiking boots for half a decade. For this guide, we also tested Arc'teryx's Aerios AR Mid GTX, Vasque's Torre AT GTX, Danner's Free Spirit, Danner's Trail 2650 GTX Mid, La Sportiva's Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX, Scarpa's Rush Mid GTX, and Keen's Targhee III Waterproof Mid.

Product Selection

We selected hiking boots to test based on our previous knowledge and experience of actual hiking boots and hiking boot brands. We also considered highly-rated shoes on sites like Amazon, REI, and Backcountry. We wanted to consider boots for a wide variety of hikers and considered factors including foot shape, style, the types of terrain and trail surface each shoe would excel on, and having a variety of price points.

How We Tested

Our team tested hiking boots over the past few months (although team members have tested previous models of some of these boots for years). The majority of testing took place in New England and Southern California, with some testing in Colorado. We tested for comfort, traction, stability, support, and overall performance. Testing took place on all sorts of trails and trail conditions.

What to Look for When Shopping for Hiking Boots

Fit

"Of all the features to look for when choosing a hiking boot, the fit is the most important," says Graham Hiemstra, founder of Field Mag and avid backpacker. "You don't want your toes jammed up or your heel to be lifting." A simple way to figure this out is to go to a gear store and have a good old-fashioned try-on session. Even walking around in the story will give you a clear sense of whether a particular boot works or doesn't work for your feet. Remember, everyone is different, and the same boot can provide the perfect fit for one person and a terrible fit for another.

Comfort

Comfort is another crucial characteristic to consider in a hiking boot, and, like fit, it's a highly subjective one. Add in the fact that many hiking boots require a break-in period before they become comfortable, which makes judging a boot at a store a tricky task. "The first thing you hear from somebody trying on a boot for the first time is, 'How long does it take to break in?'" says Bennett Grimes, REI's senior product manager for innovation and footwear. Grimes says this is why trail running footwear has begun to infiltrate the hiking space in recent years, and it was a consideration when REI developed the Flash Hiking Boot, which doesn't have a significant break-in period. Still, the best way to judge a boot's comfort is to try it on.

Waterproofing

Many, but not all, hiking boots include a waterproof membrane in their construction. Many brands use Gore-Tex, but you'll also see waterproof membranes like eVent and some proprietary ones like REI's HydroWall, which is 75 percent recycled. Deciding whether or not you need a hiking boot with a waterproof membrane is a matter of thinking about where you're going to be hiking. Will you be in a wet or muddy environment? Does your route include river crossings? If not—or if your feet tend to sweat a lot—you might opt for a hiking boot without a waterproof membrane, which will be more breathable (and probably include enough water resistance to handle puddles and some light rain).

Traction/Lugs

Compared to an everyday shoe, which might be flat or nearly flat, the outsole of a hiking boot has rubber studs called lugs that provide traction on variable terrain. Lugs come in different shapes and can range from three to five or more millimeters. Generally, deeper lugs offer more traction, but their arranged pattern also plays a role. For instance, many hiking boots have a different lug pattern on their heel than on their forefoot to create a braking effect for steep downhills. 

Luckily, every reputable brand in the hiking footwear space has this traction nailed to a high standard. Many companies use outsoles from Vibram, an Italian company that makes rubber compounds and outsoles. Look for the yellow Vibram logo on a hiking boot's spec list, tag, or embedded into the outsole itself.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How do I know what size is right for me?

    Hiking boots are sized similarly to everyday shoes and sneakers, so use that size as a starting point. Try to anticipate and mimic how you'll be using your hiking boots when trying on a new pair, i.e., wear your hiking socks and any aftermarket insoles or orthotics you plan to use out on the trail. A good fit should be tight but not produce pressure points. Your heel shouldn't slide up and down as you walk, and there should be roughly a thumb's width between your big toe and the end of the boot.

  • How do I wash and care for my hiking boots?

    Washing and caring for hiking boots is relatively simple, and doing so—particularly at the end of hiking season, before you put your boots into storage—will ensure your boots last for years. Use a brush and warm water to get rid of light soil and a mild mix of warm water and dish soap for tougher situations. Alternatively, use Nikwax's Footwear Cleaning Gel, which has the added benefit of restoring your hiking boot's water repellency. Shove a washcloth, rag, or newspaper into your boots after you wash them to get them to dry faster.

    Leather hiking boots require extra attention. Dirt can pull moisture out of leather, especially when left over a long period and cause it to crack. You can use Nikwax's Leather Conditioner to bring it back to life if that happens. If your leather boots are in good shape but you want to restore their waterproofing, use Nikwax's Waterproofing Wax.

  • How much should I spend on a pair of hiking boots?

    Hiking boots are specialty footwear, so don't expect them to be as affordable as basic everyday shoes. Prices generally range from $150 to $250, with some exceptions. Full-height backpacking boots tend to be more expensive, while hiking shoes and less-specialized boots are cheaper. Fit should guide your selection more than price, but you should also consider what kind of hiking you plan to do and what features you'll need. Don't assume that the most expensive boot is the best boot.

Why Trust Tripsavvy

Tanner Bowden is a lifelong hiker and backpacker. He has been writing about hiking boots for half a decade and has tested hiking boots from every major brand. Based in New England, Bowden often hikes in Vermont's Green Mountains, New Hampshire's White Mountains, and the Adirondacks of New York. Bowden has also traveled around the world to walk trails in New Zealand, Patagonia, Central America, and more.

Bowden, Keith Kilgore, and Nathan Allen hiked hundreds of miles to narrow down the selection of hiking boots available today. The team tested these boots through multiple seasons and climates on dirt, rock, snow, mud, and pavement on trails from New England to Colorado to California.

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