K2 needed a boot. The easy route: acquire an existing brand and relaunch it. Instead K2 chose to build one from the ground up. Given the daunting complexities of boot design and manufacturing, it’s an ambitious undertaking, fraught with peril K2 understood only too well from past failure. That makes the success of K2’s 2014 launch all the more laudable. The freshman-year offering is impressively broad: three all-mountain Spyne models for men, three Spyres for women, and two hike-ready Pinnacles for adventuresome freeriders. There are thoughtful and effective technologies (rivet-free attachment of cuff and shell; a slick hike feature), and even our pickiest testers were impressed with the performance. Well done.