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Vasque Snow Junkie Insulated Winter Hiking Boots

manufactured by:
Philip Werner
Version:
2014
Price:
139.95

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On March 7, 2014
Last modified:August 26, 2016

Summary:

The Snow Junkies are amazingly comfortable and feel more like trail runners than hiking boots. They're very lightweight (2 pounds 9 ounces for a pair in a size 10.5 mens) and there is zero break-in period. However, the sole is still fairly stiff with a TPU instep plate, good for snowshoeing, and they have a very solid toe cap that provides good protection. Heel lock-in is enhanced by a wrap-around ankle girdle tied into the lacing system with a grid-textured fleece liner for added comfort around the top of the boot and tongue. In addition to waterproof insulation, the inner boot is also lined with a UltraDry waterproof and breathable membrane, similar to Gore-tex.

Vasque Snow Junkie Insulated Winter Hiking Boots
Vasque Snow Junkie Insulated Winter Hiking Boots

Vasque Snow Junkie hiking boots are lightly insulated, waterproof boots that are good for snowshoeing and hiking on packed snow trails. Insulated with 200 grams of Thinsulate insulation, these boots are good for warmer winter and early spring conditions where you are likely to sweat more and don’t want the extra insulation of a heavier winter boot, a pack boot or a mountaineering boot.

Comfortable Lining and Fit
Comfortable Lining and Fit

The Snow Junkies are amazingly comfortable and feel more like trail runners than hiking boots. They’re very lightweight (2 pounds 9 ounces for a pair in a size 10.5 mens) and there is zero break-in period. However, the sole is still fairly stiff with a TPU instep plate, good for snowshoeing, and they have a very solid toe cap that provides good protection. Heel lock-in is enhanced by a wrap-around ankle girdle tied into the lacing system with a grid-textured fleece liner for added comfort around the top of the boot and tongue. In addition to waterproof insulation, the inner boot is also lined with a UltraDry waterproof and breathable membrane, similar to Gore-tex.

Tread Pattern
Tread Pattern

The tread pattern on the Snow Junkie not very aggressive, so you will want to use it with additional traction like Kahtoola Microspikes on ice and packed snow. Similarly, if you snowshoe  off trail or hike in powder, the Snow Junkies have a gaiter ring at the base of the tongue that you can attach gaiters too.

As spring approaches, if you’re looking for less-insulated boot for transitioning from winter to warmer spring hiking conditions, but still need an insulated waterproof winter boot, give the Vasque Snow Junkies a try. I’ve quickly grown attached to my Vasque Snow Junkies and expect to use them a lot for early spring hiking.

Disclosure: Vasque provided Philip Werner (SectionHiker.com) with a sample pair of Snow Junkie boots for this review. 

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13 comments

  1. What temp range would you say these are good for?

    • About 15 degrees up to to about 35 or 40 – you can regulate how far down you take them using different socks. But these aren’t boots for standing on a cold surface like ice for a long period of time. You will want to keep moving and that’s really what they are intended for.

  2. Thanks for the recommendation!

    This winter was my first attempt at hiking anything outside of CT. I limited myself to Monadnock, mainly because I didn’t have the gear necessary for much past that (I know my Merrell Moabs wouldn’t cut it!), but I’m slowly piecing it together, hopefully in time for next winter. Always appreciate any other suggestions!

  3. I know you get some of these products sent to you to test but I’m most interested in the failures after long-term use—like maybe a year of hiking or backpacking and about 100 nights out. How will these boots do? Are the laces round or flat—as often round laces have to be double knotted to keep from coming undone.

    • These are day hiking boots and with the insulation are not appropriate for 100 days of continuous use. I’d be lucky to put that much wear on them after 5 years. As for the laces, they are round, but I always double and sometimes even triple knot my laces, so I can’t say if they come undone or not with a single knot.

  4. Good to hear they’d do well on Monadnock, but would they be acceptable on larger mountains in good weather? I don’t plan on anything too crazy, but would like to branch out on nice winter days.

    • I think they’re fine for a half day hike above 15 degrees as long as you keep moving. You’ll need traction aids of course, but you’d need them regardless of the boot you use. if there’s a reasonable risk that you’ll be out longer or in colder temperatures, then I’d look for a more technical boot with more insulation. For example, I’m climbing Mt Lafayette and Mt Lincoln tomorrow (both 5000 footers) and will be wearing a mountaineering boot rated to -30 degrees for temperatures forecast to be -2 and an estimated hike duration of 8 hours.

  5. Phillip a big thank you for all your honesty and discolsures in your review…The boots look interesting but you say they are more for a dayhike than say a week long hike? Is that what I am understanding you to say?

    • You could definitely use them for a week long hike. That’s just 7 long day hikes. They’re certainly comfortable enough for it. But we need to be more specific about temperatures. For example, If temps were below freezing but above 15 degrees then these would be good boots for a 7 day backpack as long as you had a good way to dry the insides at night (because they will probably get wet with foot dampness even though they have a breathable membrance, because the membrane can’t keep up with the 1/2 cup of sweat your feet produce when hiking all day). At those warm temps, you probably wouldn’t want to use a vapor barrier liner. But drying would be a problem for a winter day hike regardless of the footwear you choose. If temps are above freezing, I’d just use a trail runner and a thicker wool sock, even if I had to wear microspikes all day and walk in snowmelt some of the time – which is what I did on the TGO in scotland last year because we had so many stream crossing each day.

      Long answer…if you like wearing boots for say spring backpacking (with snow and snowmelt), then I’d prefer these boots over leather ones that never dry. But if there is a chance you will get the fleece collar of the boots wet and temperatures are expected to drop below freezing at night (meaning your boots will freeze solid) then you probably want a soft insulated boot that doesn’t have a fleece collar, unless you believe that you rgaitrers will keep the collar dry.

  6. Just bought the last pair of 9 1/2’s at CCOutdoorstore in Waterbury VT. Fit is true to size. Maybe a bit wide for narrower feet as mine are ‘ee’ width and I am wearing a thick wigwam hiker’s sock. Nice and snug, but not tight. Heelbox fits perfectly.

  7. Love the snow junkies. All day hikers at 20 degrees and water proof to. Don’t confuse these with mountaineering boots. These boots are made for mild winter days and colder springs. They fit awesome with a pair of Dr scholls, very comfortable. These boots run narrow best is to try them on. Hope this helped out. Steve

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