Review by Susie; Product provided for review by Baffin
Santa came early for this cold footed Maine girl. And his last name is Baffin. In his sleigh were the Kiki Womens, one of Baffin’s more casual, lifestyle boots. When I first set eyes on the Kiki Womens on Baffin’s website, I was very interested in them as I spend a lot of time outside with my daughter in the winter and often spend my work day walking between two schools regardless of the weather. Finding a winter boot that doesn’t leave me with ice cubes for toes while still being stylish for wearing to work has been a challenge. Often I’m stuck with a stylish boot that requires me to wear really heavy sock to keep warm and, even then, they aren’t typically up to the job of keeping up with a toddler.
The Baffin Kiki Womens, however, seems to be a potential solution to my winter footwear woes. With a temperature rating of -40C/-40F, they are designed to handle the coldest temperatures that I would need to handle in New England. They get their warmth from a “removable, multi-layer inner boot system”. The base of the boot is made from an “arctic rubber shell, EVA midsole, [and] polar rubber outsole” and is topped off with a “waterproof suede leather upper.” When I checked out the tread, it seems more than capable of tackling the elements for most everyday adventures; not too aggressive, yet you won’t find yourself skidding around. To add a bit of fun, Baffin added a few decorative white flowers to the tread pattern.
As for the stylish side of the Kiki, the side features a “side lace and loop fastening system” that I would consider to be a toggle closure. Initially, I was skeptical about it because it seemed to be an easy way to lose heat. Now that I’ve worn them, I have come to appreciate the toggle closure as it allows the calf portion to stretch to my leg. A common complaint for any higher boots is the calf size, so this was a welcome change. I didn’t notice any tightness at all and I don’t exactly have petite legs. As for my warmth concerns, the inner lining actually prevents that from happening as the split is more towards the front (as shown in the photo). To top it all off, the Kiki also boasts a faux-fur collar and side piece that reminds me of other boots in the stylish (yet not all that warm) realm.
I have had the Kiki in hand for less than a week and, of course, the temperatures this week have been warmer than last. I did manage to wear them to work on Tuesday so that I could test the fit for hot spots and figure out if I could drive in them. I normally wear anything from a women’s size 8 all the way to a 9 depending on the manufacturer, so I find that ordering by European sizing often leads me to a better fit. I asked Baffin to send along a 39EU, which resulted in a size 9 based on their charts, and I dare say that was the right size for me. Anything smaller likely would have been too tight. As it was, I’m not sure if I would be able to wear anything like a heavy sock and still have them fit. Of course, with a boot rated to -40 degrees, I highly doubt that I would ever need to wear heavy socks anyways! As for the driving component, I was able to safely drive my Subaru around without any problems. I was concerned that the width of the boot in combination with the heavy insulation would prove to be too cumbersome. The only change was that I needed to push down on the pedals a bit more than I was used to and therefore was going a bit under the speed limit at first.
Going forward, I’m especially interested in how easy the Baffin Kiki Womens are to wear on a regular basis. These boots are heavy! But they need to be in order to keep the wearer’s feet warm at such extreme temperatures. Will that extra weight become a nuisance in the end and send me back to the boots I wore last winter? Or will the other benefits out weigh my new leg training routine? It’s hard to tell at this point. Now I’m anxiously waiting for Mother Nature to work her magic and turn Maine into a pretty winter wonderland so I can really put the Baffin Kiki Womens to the test. Be sure to check back here on 4AllOutdoors.org in order to see how they fair. And, if you struggle finding a functional yet stylish winter boot, you just might want to ask Santa to bring you a pair. They seem pretty awesome so far!