by Rich K.
WINTER TREK BOOTS WITH OMNI TECH MSRP $100.00 Columbia Footwear
Columbia Winter Trek Boot
size tested 10.5
color tested: coal, sulfur
Columbia claims Winter Trek was created as an insulated three season boot with the agility and response of a multi-sport trail shoe.
After constant use and abuse everyday I’d call the Winter Trek the most versatile footwear I have ever experienced. I say “footwear”, because I really don’t know how else to define them. Winter trek boots with Omni tech uppers and 200 grams of Thinsulate insulation are both waterproof and breathable. At 2.2 pounds per boot for the size 10.5 tested, they are lighter than most hiking boots. Supportive to the ankle, they feel like high top sneakers. Warm and as dry as many snow boots, yet as agile as a running shoe. Attractive and sporty, Winter Trek comes in two color combinations and is suitable for most casual occasions.
ON THE TRAIL
Winter Trek boots are breathable enough for all day hikes in moderate temperatures, and insulated enough for that same all day adventure in freezing temperatures. Winter Trek easily outperformed my traditional hikers in almost all areas. The soft Omni-grip soles provided adequate traction on most terrain, but proved a little slick on wet, flat surfaces; partially because of an aggressive honeycomb type lugged sole. The Omni Grip tread performed awesome on snow and loose gravel emanating a cleeted feel. Winter Trek felt rigid enough for climbing but had plenty of give on impact with rock. I waded through a half frozen creek and my feet remained dry, with no apparent leaks.
I purposely wore the WinterTrek boots instead of snow boots and winter workboats over the last twelve weeks. I was fully expecting to find the limitations of Winter Trek boots, however, the limitations I found were mine, and if my feet were moving, they were warm. I have had the Winter Trek boots immersed to the ankle in snow, slush, water, mud, salt and even wet concrete. The only maintenance of the boots was the washing of the exterior of the boot with a hose or at the car wash. At the time of this posting, the boots still look great, with signs of wear limited to rubber portions, and the sole. I wore Winter Trek snowmobiling and found them superior to my bulky snow boots as they gripped the snowmobile more effectively and fit inside the cowl better. During a recent winter storm I shoveled snow and ran a snow blower twelve plus hours in comfort. While wearing Winter Trek, I accompanied a couple friends on a ten block trip to and from a local pub, through salt saturated slush on city streets, without the burden of heavy over boots or wet feet. Winter Trek boots are ready for active feet in colder climates right out of the box, with very little break in period. Hike the Appalachian Trail or ten blocks to the bar, either way you will be sporty, comfortable and dry.
Update: July 2010
Columbia Winter Trek Boots
Winter Trek boots were worn almost everyday for eight months, for the purpose of this review. No maintenance was performed or required. Not until temperatures exceeded 70 degrees did the insulated boots become uncomfortable to wear. The picture above of the Winter Trek after this 8 month period shows the durability and value of this versatile boot. The boots have hiked many miles through slush, mud and across frozen creeks. They are now ready for the cooler temperatures and year two!