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Best Winter Hiking Boots of 2017 Reviewed and Tested

As the snow starts to fall the minds of many Americans turn to the mountains. Bushwalking and hiking are fantastic pastimes, with multiple benefits to health and lifestyle.

Those benefits don’t end when the temperature starts to fall. But hiking during winter is significantly different to hiking when the weather is warm, and if you are going to protect your feet you need to make educated choices about the boots you choose.

What To Look For The Best  Winter Hiking Boots

There are lots of characteristics that make up an excellent winter boot, including:

  • Comfort;
  • Sizing;
  • Traction;
  • Insulation;
  • Water Resistance; and
  • Lacing

The following are, in our opinion, the best winter hiking boots available at the moment, taking into account all the above categories above.  

Columbia Bugaboot Plus III Omni Heat 

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Rather than specialize in any one area, Columbia have developed a genuine all-rounder with the Bugaboot Plus III Omni-Heat. Light and comfortable, but well-built for durability, the Bugaboot is good value at the current price-point (earlier models are available at even better prices if you look hard enough).

Features

  • Leather/Fabric
  • Synthetic sole
  • Shaft measures approximately 7.5″ from arch
  • Mid-height boot
  • Seam-sealed waterproof upper
  • Padded collar and lace-up vamp
  • 200g insulation
  • Temperature rated at -25 F/-32 C

An All-Round Winter Boot

It is clear that Columbia have design the Bugaboot to score well on a lot of categories. While not necessarily leading the field in any single measure, the Bugaboot manages to impress by offering a solid rating across so many of them.

The boots weigh in at 23 oz, which is not light, but neither is it too heavy. The boot has been designed for everyday use, and long treks in heavy boots are not comfortable.

You need to feel secure in the boot, but they need to be light enough to leave you encouraged to keep hiking, not so heavy you are constantly looking for the next spot to sit down and rest your calves. In addition, the boots are manufactured with Columbia’s patented TechliteTM mid-soles for superior cushioning, support and energy return

The Omni-Grip, non-marking rubber sole provides reliable traction and grip in wet conditions, which will give you plenty of confidence even in unfamiliar territory.

The level of insulation in the boot secures a temperature rating of -32oC, which is perfect for most purposes. Sure, it does not rate at the Arctic Blast level, but that is not what this boot is designed for. Columbia’s Omni-Heat system is designed to reflect body heat back inside the show.

The temperature rating of the Bugaboot is adequate for the majority of expeditions, without leaving you with sweating feet if the temp does not drop as much as anticipated.

The seam sealed upper offers exemplary water protection, which extends up the neck of the book with the tight and reinforced lacing system. The mid-height design ensures only the deepest snowfall is likely to sneak water in through the top, while also providing protection for your ankles in the event you are hiking uneven ground.

Columbia have taken a classic, serious hiking boot design, and improved it for winter conditions.

You Will Love These Boots If…

  1. You want to hike long distances. The lightweight design, and comfortable mid-height of the boot should stop the boot from become a distraction on a long hike, and that is vitally important.
  2. You are on a budget. The Bugaboot is offered at a very competitive price that is reflective of the quality of the boot. There are fancier titles at higher prices, but the overall value of the Bugaboot is hard to beat.

You Will Not Love These Boots If…

  1. You are hitting some serious cold weather. While the boot is rating to -32oC, this is hardly Arctic temperatures. If you are going to be spending long hours in serious cold, you will want to look for something with heavier insulation than is available here.\

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the TechliteTM Mid-sole?

Columbia have developed the patented TechliteTM mid-sole technology for all their hiking boots and shoes. The mid-sole is designed of a spongy, responsive substances that provides for shock absorption as the boot hits the ground, and then maximises energy returned as you begin to life your foot.

The mid-sole rebounds to its original, unladen shape as you lift it, providing a light-weight, durable shoe that maximises your comfort while in use.

  • How Does The Omni-Heat System Work?

Columbia’s Omni-Heat system is designed around a reflective lining to all their winter footwear and clothes. Based around a series of silver, metallic dots on the interior lining, the material reflects body heat back inside the garment, or in this instance the shoe.

This reflective system allows Columbia to build a high temperature rating into the shoe without packing it with additional material that would uncomfortably increase the weight. 

  • How does the waterproofing work?

Columbia have developed a waterproofing methodology which they refer to has Omnitech. Omnitech material has been designed to repel water, but using a material that is otherwise breathable for comfort. The Omnitech material has been factoring into all the soft fabric elements of the boot. The hard, seam-sealed upper of the boot is dense and sealed to resist leaking.

Conclusion

The Columbia Bugaboot Plus III Omni-Heat winter hiking boot is an exceptional winter boot, offering state of the art comfort and responsiveness, combined with a unique, proprietary system to increase the insulation of the boot without increasing the weight.

A rubber sole for increased traction, and a mid-height neck to the boot to protect your ankles, the Bugaboot is profoundly capable in a number of arenas, and is available at an exceptionally good price.

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