< Go to Winter Boots - Women's
Hands-on Gear Review
Cons: Expensive, a little more techy looking
Manufacturer: UGG Australia
An extremely comfortable and cozy winter boot, the UGG Adirondack II scored among the top five boots that we tested. A former award winner, this boot offers stellar all-around performance: it's cute enough to wear out to happy hour, but lightweight and comfortable enough to wear on light winter hikes. Our favorite thing about this boot, though, is its plush shearling insulation. This boot is also designed with a cuffable suede shaft: roll it down to expose a fluffy sheepskin cuff or roll it up for extra protection against the elements. We liked the built-in versatility that this feature offered, as well as the unique style that it added. Although some women loved the look of these boots and would definitely wear them with casual outfits, others thought they were decidedly less stylish. If you like the look of these full-grain leather boots and are looking for high quality footwear that will perform outdoors, then the UGG Adirondack II may be just what you're looking for. At $225, it is a bit of an investment – in fact, it is significantly more than most of its competitors – but we predict that it will to meet your winter boot needs for years to come.
Experiencing some price shock? Consider our Editors' Choice winner, the $160 Sorel Tofino or our Best Buy Award winner, the $90 Kamik Momentum. If you're looking at the Adirondack for its prowess as a winter hiker, also be sure to consider the Vasque Pow Pow II, which won our Top Pick for Winter Hiking. All that said, don't let the $225 price tag on the Adirondack scare you away! We've loved testing it for the last three years!
RELATED: Our complete review of winter boots - women's
OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
At first, we loved the UGG Adirondack II for its cozy sheepskin lining and comfortable footbed. Then we started using it outdoors and noticed that we could ford shallow puddles, cruise over boulders, and employ the roll-up cuff for extra protection from the snow. A little more rugged looking than boots like the Sorel Tofino or the Baffin Loki, the Adirondack II still features such luxurious materials as buttery full-grain leather.
This boot is lined with 17 millimeters of table grade sheepskin, which did a decent job of keeping our toes warm and cozy. In our final warmth tests, we stood still for five minutes in 4 degree temperatures with feet buried in the snow. After comparing every piece, we decided to give the Adirondack II a six out of ten in our warmth metric. We found that the Vibram sole provided plenty of insulation along the bottom of the boot but we noticed that cold slowly started permeating the toe box. If you want a boot that offers a little more warmth, but a little less comfort, consider the Sorel Tofino or the Sorel Tivoli High II.
Although this product was not the warmest boot that we tested, it's important to remember that it was also one of the shortest ones in the review. Even with its cuff rolled up, this model was shorter than many of its competitors, which makes a surprising difference in calf and foot warmth. That said, when we started moving in the UGG Adirondack II, even in single digit temperatures, our feet quickly warmed up. This model is also fairly breathable, which keeps your feet from sweating profusely and then getting cold from the moisture. This was especially noticeable in comparison to products like the Sorel Conquest Carly, whose rubber toe box left our feet super swampy and slimy.
Comfort & Coziness
Slipping into this boot for the first felt like what you would imagine putting your foot into a cloud shoe might feel like if clouds were made of super plush, fluffy sheepskin. Unlike many of the boots in this review that have faux fur cuffs that reach an inch or two down into the boot, the sheepskin lining on the Adirondack II continues throughout the entire shoe. UGG has even fitted the Adirondack II with a removable insole that is coated in sheepskin. Although we noticed that the sheepskin around the insole started to become a little compressed through our testing process, it still feels super cozy against the foot (with or without socks!) and continues to provide warmth.
Not only is the lining of this boot amazingly touchable, the footbed is comfortable and supportive. The Adirondack II doesn't provide quite as much ankle support as the Vasque Pow Pow II or Columbia Bugaboot Plus III Titanium - Women's, but it provides significantly more support than boots like The North Face Nuptse Purna. As we mentioned above, this boot is also relatively breathable. This not only plays a role in warmth, but also in comfort, as slimy, sweaty feet are quite uncomfortable. Finally, we found this boot to be cozy whether we wore it with the cuff rolled up or down.
We also wanted to take a moment here to discuss UGG Australia's approach to animal ethics. Many of the boots in this review have some type of leather, whether it is full-grain leather, suede, or nubuck; however, the UGG Australia Adirondack II is the only piece that uses leather and sheepskin. Some consumers and animal rights activists are careful not to purchase products that contain animal byproducts like leather. If that is the case for you, we would like to direct you to boots like the Tecnica Moon Boot and the Kamik Momentum. On the other hand, some of us don't mind purchasing leather products, but we may get a little hesitant when manufacturers start talking about sheepskin.
If you feel this way, we've got you covered. We did some research and found out that UGG is owned by Deckers Outdoor Corporation. This company does not raise sheep itself, but states that it is committed to ethically sourcing sheepskin solely from farmers and organizations that are raising the animals for their meat. UGG states that it only believes in using this material when it is a byproduct of the meat industry and never purchases sheepskin from organizations that raise animals solely for their pelts. Additionally, UGG has openly released statements denouncing the inhumane practice of mulesing. We really appreciate UGG's commitment to animal ethics and the transparency that Deckers demonstrates by posting its policies on its website.
With its full-grain leather upper and waterproof rubber outsole, this boot is ready to take on rain, snow, and slush in style. This boot will keep your feet dry in puddles up to three inches deep and its rolled down cuff does a great job of keeping out snow. When you wear this model with the cuff rolled up, it provides extra protection from deep snow on the backs and sides; however, the tongue doesn't come up flush with the top of the rolled-up cuff, so there is a little gap in the front where deeper snow could potentially get you wet. Finally, this boot is fitted with a mud guard around the front of the toes and at the heel.
Over time, you may need to maintain the waterproofing of these leather boots. We would recommend using Nikwax's Conditioner for Leather to help restore the shine and richness of the leather, as well as its weather resistant qualities. We would also recommend hitting the seams, especially those out of sight underneath the laces with Sno-Seal or Nikwax's Waterproofing Wax for Leather. Be cautious about using these products on the visible parts of your boot, however, since they can alter the appearance of the leather.
Style & Fit
In our social media poll, the UGG Adirondack II scored right in the middle of the pack – just above boots like the Ahnu Northridge. The Adirondack II is definitely a more techy looking boot, but we like to think of it as "rugged-chic." This boot's full-grain leather toe box and upper are rich and buttery. While one of our testers constantly wore this boot with the sheepskin cuff rolled down, another almost exclusively wore it rolled up. We liked this versatile feature not only from a practicality perspective, but also from a style perspective. The convertible cuff gives you more options to switch things up. The one thing that we didn't love about wearing the cuff rolled up was that the tongue isn't flush with the top lip of the boot, which isn't the most natural look.
If you're looking for a shorter-cut boot with a little more style than the Adirondack, consider the Keen Elsa, which has a cute patterned upper.
UGG Australia fitted the Adirondack II with a Vibram sole for extra traction and grip. This outsole has horizontal treads that aren't quite as deep as those on the Kamik Momentum or Vasque Pow Pow II. Although the Adirondack II certainly performs on slick snowy surfaces, it isn't quite as grippy as these other competitors. We did, however, like that the soles on the UGG model were not quite as thick as those on the Pow Pow. The soles on both of these boots wrap up slightly over the tip of the toe box, adding a bit of extra traction where it matters most.
Ease to Take On & Off
Overall, these boots were easy to pull on and kick off and the continuous sheepskin lining almost made the interior feel slick, making them slip on and off smoothly. The boots are also fitted with a back pull tab to help ease the process.
We liked the UGG Adirondack II for everything from light hiking to around town errands. We biked all around Boulder in these beautiful boots (and found they had great traction on our bike pedals). They were also great for exploring the outdoors or shoveling the sidewalk in less than 4 or 5 inches of snow (with the cuffs rolled up). Although they weren't the warmest, if you are moving, these woolly sheepskin boots will keep you plenty warm on cold days.
One of the most expensive models in our review, the Adirondack II rings up at $225, which is around $65 more than our Editors' Choice winner (the Sorel Tofino), and over $130 more than our Best Buy Award winner, the Kamik Momentum. The first thing to consider when deciding whether or not to purchase this winter boot is whether or not you like its "rugged-chic" look. We think the leather on this boot is beautifully crafted and we loved the fluffy roll-down cuff, but this look does not suit everyone. If this boot is your style and you are seeking a piece that will meet needs that vary from light hiking to outdoor winter chores and errands around town, then these boots are absolutely worth the money, especially because you might not want to ever want to take them off. Seriously. After trying out the Adirondack II, our testers now want sheepskin lining in all their footwear. Moreover, we have known friends and family to get years and years of use out of their UGG boots.
If you are looking more for a hiking specific winter boot and don't mind a rugged look, then the Vasque Pow Pow II is a great deal at only $150.
This ultra-plush boot may just change your whole perspective on winter. With its beautiful leather upper and touchable sheepskin lining, the UGG Adirondack II is a treat to wear. Although this model is not ideal for women who live in areas that get feet upon feet of snow, it can handle drifts up to eight inches deep and puddles up to three inches deep. Whether you opt to leave the cuff rolled down or decide to roll it up to increase warmth and snow protection, this boot will leave you feeling glad that winter has finally arrived.
Adirondack II Tall- Women's
— Amanda Fenn
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: December 21, 2015
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