Columbia Bugaboot Plus III Titanium Omni-Heat Winter Hiking Boot (where do they come up with these product names) is a 600 gram insulated winter boot rated down to -65 fahrenheit. If you get cold feet on winter hiking trips or at home, these boots are for you.
While these are high boots that come up over the ankle onto the lower calf, they’re good for winter hiking with a comfortable rocker that makes them easy to hike with. Although they do look a bit like pac-boots, they’re not: the fit around the ankles is snug and they don’t have removable liners. (see The Problem with Pac Boots for Winter Hiking)
In addition to 600 grams of insulation, the inside of the Bugaboot III Titanium is lined with the aluminium reflective liner that Columbia has been including in their cold weather clothes and footwear for the past five years or so. The tongue is gusseted to prevent water from entering around it when you step into shallow streams or deep puddles, and the wraparound rand of the boot is completely sealed and waterproof. The front of the boot is covered by a robust toe kick that provides excellent protection and won’t collapse onto your toes (and potentially cause hot spots or blisters when the boot is worn with crampons or microspikes.
The boot uppers are made with leather and reinforced synthetic fabric covered by OutDry, Columbia’s proprietary waterproof breathable membrane. There’s a gaiter ring at the top of the toe box that you can hook a hiking gaiter to and two pairs of speed hooks at the top of the laces. The boot lugs are articulated for traction on ice and in slushy conditions, with a distinct heel and forefoot, so you can route a gaiter strap or cord underneath the boot.
I’ve found that the fit of these boots runs about a 1/4 size large and a bit wide for my “normal” feet. I fill in the gap with a thicker sock, but still have plenty of room in the toe box, which you want in a very cold weather boot to promote blood circulation. The weight of a pair of size 11 US men’s Columbia Bugaboot III Titanium Omni-Heat boots is 3 pounds 2 ounces, which is pretty lightweight for such a well-insulated pair of waterproof winter hiking boots.
While I find the Columbia Bugaboot III Titanium Omni-heat boots too warm for vigorous winter hiking, I suspect people who have chronically cold feet will find them to be a good match for their needs. They are seriously warm. A women’s “pinked” model is also available.
Disclosure: Columbia provided the author with a sample pair of boots for this review.
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