Insulated/Waterproof Winter Boots

Joined
Nov 21, 2015
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285
Location
The Netherlands
Real Name
Roel
In The Netherlands where I live we have mostly mild weather (although it can be very wet). 99% of the time I'm using my hiking boots (Hanwag Alaska GTX) which I also use for hiking in the mountains within Europe.

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Works great from autumn, winter into spring/early summer (I do switch socks to add more/less warmth). For me, these would easily keep me comfy up to -10 degrees Celcius (14 degrees Fahrenheit), maybe more.
They are however much larger than they appear on the picture so you do look like a mountaineering guide while wearing them (which is awkward in a country without any mountains ;)).

When I am entering the water for longer periods to take a photograph I use simple rubber boots which result in freezing feet in less than 10 sec during winter so I am looking for a little more comfort in that department.
 

@Michael

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Minnesota, US
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Michael Janke
There is great appeal about having a boot that can be worn beyond just photographing, and I have been giving it some consideration. I do have good socks for warmth, so that does not tend to be an issue for me. The current snow storm has passed us now, so I have a bit more breathing room to think about what might work best. But, what I suspect is that somehow when this is all done, I will have purchased at least two pair of boots one way or another. I am hoping not, but suspecting this may eventually be the case.

--Ken
My experience in cold (down to -20f ) is that for standing in place, you need much, much warmer boots, and ones that have a very thick, insulated sole. For standing, insulation on the sole is more important that insulation anywhere else. Even my vintage 40 year old Canadian made Sorels aren't warm enough for standing on -10F snow pack for hours on end. To help them out I stand on one of the hunters seating cushions, which are just an inch thick layer of closed cell foam. The closed cell foam insulates the bottoms of my feet. If I'm camping in the cold (down to -10F) I use them to pad my lawn chairs to keep my butt and back warm.

My experience in damp weather is that a layer of wool beats anything else for keeping warm. All the high tech insulating fabrics in the world aren't as good as wool in damp weather.

So look for thick insulated soles and make sure you have room for a few layers of wool socks. :)
 

Replytoken

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Puget Sound
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Ken
My experience in cold (down to -20f ) is that for standing in place, you need much, much warmer boots, and ones that have a very thick, insulated sole. For standing, insulation on the sole is more important that insulation anywhere else. Even my vintage 40 year old Canadian made Sorels aren't warm enough for standing on -10F snow pack for hours on end. To help them out I stand on one of the hunters seating cushions, which are just an inch thick layer of closed cell foam. The closed cell foam insulates the bottoms of my feet. If I'm camping in the cold (down to -10F) I use them to pad my lawn chairs to keep my butt and back warm.

My experience in damp weather is that a layer of wool beats anything else for keeping warm. All the high tech insulating fabrics in the world aren't as good as wool in damp weather.

So look for thick insulated soles and make sure you have room for a few layers of wool socks. :)
I never thought of standing on a seating cushion. An affordable way to buy some extra protection from the cold if I am not moving.

I am a bit agnostic on fabrics. I love wool, especially for socks, but I have some fleece jackets that are amazing at their ability to bock out wind and retain heat. And my base layers are made from who knows what kind of fabric, but they work well. A big challenge for me is that it does not take much for me to get cold (and because of that I am grateful that I am no longer living in the Midwest). I have Reynauds Syndrome in my hands and they can sometimes lose all circulation in mild temperatures. Lately, my hands have been doing OK (especially when I wear my wrist gaiters). But it was my feet that got hit the last time I was out. Who knows, I may end up with overkill as what I was wearing was considered a "winter sneaker" for snowshoeing, although they were mildly insulated and had a tread for snow. But, given my health, I think I would rather err on the side of caution.

--Ken
 

Replytoken

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Not yet at a decision, although hopefully soon, but I did want to call out a few customer service observations.

  • Kamik has no phone number to call. You want help, you write them.
  • The North Face staff really did not know much about their products other than to say whether an item was in stock in my size. Not The NOrth Face I knew years ago, but not totally unexpected.
  • Vasque, on the other hand, actually staff their phones with people who know and use their products. I had a long conversation with a gentleman in MN who provided me with a lot of useful information and recommendations for an Irish Setter boot as well. I forgot Vasque is owned by Red Wing Shoes, as is Irish Setter. I have not made any decisions yet, but I do give them high marks for customer service on the phone.
--Ken
 

Replytoken

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Just a quick update on my boot decision. I decided to go with the Vasque Snowburban boots. While they are not that easy to get off and on, they did feel supportive like a hiking boot and they had what appeared to be a decent amount of insulation relative to some of the other boots I looked at. REI had them on sale, so I picked up a pair. Now if I could only find some time to try them out!

--Ken
 
Joined
Oct 1, 2012
Messages
1,713
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Moab
Oh geez, insulated boots, something I spend way too much time thinking about over the past few years. I had the Vasque arrowhead ultradry for a few years, nice for days when it wasn’t too cold.
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I’ve had one pair of Kamik boots and they fell part on the first use, Stay away.

For true crazy cold weather performance I have a pair,of Baffin Shackleton boots http://robonza.blogspot.com/2014/12/review-baffin-shackleton-boots.html . They are unbelievable. I use them for plowing my driveway on my atv, wood chopping and chores in the winter(I live at 9000‘) and have never ever had cold feet. That said they are too big to drive a car with. You’d hit both pedals.
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For a slightly smaller boot I picked up the Hanwag Abisko , they are light and can be hiked with. Heck I even went winter backpacking one time in them.

Another really nice Baffin boot is the Borealis . What I like about these is the double boot design. A super warm liner that fits in a waterproof outer. And unlike junky Sorel boots these are warm, have an aggressive sole and won’t fall apart.
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For the last 8 years or so I have been wearing these amazing Salewa Snow Trainer for most of my winter snowshoeing and dog walking. It is light and very warm. The coolest thing is the built in gaiter. Why they sell winter boots without the. Is a mystery.
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And for going above tree line or when you need crampons I love the Scarpa Mont Blanc GTX Pro.
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-Joe
 

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