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Hands-on Gear Review
Columbia Minx Mid II Omni-Heat Review
Cons: Not waterproof, thin outsole, unstable fit
Bottom line: This snow boot feels more like a slipper with decent traction and a lightweight design; it's perfect for walks around town.
The Columbia Minx Mid II Omni-Heat boot stands out for its super lightweight design and one-pull lacing system. We love its super soft and silky inner liner that doesn't pull out when taking it on or off, and the cozy feeling of wearing a slipper around town! Though this boot has many perks (including an affordable price), it also has its drawbacks. First, we are unhappy with Columbia's claim that this boot (constructed of a woven synthetic textile) is waterproof. When subjecting it to our slush bucket tests, our foot became soaked after marching for a couple of seconds in 2.5 inches of water and snow.
Second, even though Columbia claims that it stays warm down to -25 degrees Fahrenheit, we experienced cold toes at about zero degrees Fahrenheit. That said, it's not a top performer in these two key metrics, but it did do well in all the rest. Many of our testers reported that they liked the style of the boot and they felt like it was quite versatile, making it easy to wear with most outfits. If you're in the market for a lightweight boot that protects you while running errands around town or walking the dog, this may be a great, affordable option for you!
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Columbia Minx Mid II stands out as an affordable, lightweight winter shoe makes it feel like you're wearing slippers all day long!
Even though this boot keeps keep warm until the temps reach zero, it was rated the coldest boot of the lot. It features 200g of insulation, but proved to get much colder then boots like the Northside Kathmandu that feature a similar amount of insulation. This is largely attributed to the thin sole and woven textile upper that doesn't provide nearly as much protection as others with a burlier upper (like leather) or thicker sole (like the Kamik Momentum). This boot performed well during regular winter days, but when the temps dipped to the the double negative digits, we would reach for a warmer boot with a thicker sole and longer, more insulated fleece shaft - like our Top Pick for Severe Weather, the Sorel Joan of Arctic.
Even though this boot shines for its lightweight design, it doesn't score highly in weather protection. Columbia claims that this boot is waterproof (it's even written on the boot itself), but it's far from it. When stepping into the river, we were surprised to learn that water didn't penetrate the upper for about six inches.
However, when we added a marching movement in our 'slush test' the boot became saturated and leaked within a few seconds through the upper in just 2.5 inches of water. The only real "waterproof" part of this boot is its rubber outer. When it comes to snow, this boot does a decent job, protecting against 11 inch snow drifts. However, even though it has a "mini" fur collar, it doesn't protect against serious snow drifts like the Sorel Tofino II or Sorel Joan of Arctic will. That said, if you're in the market for a more weather proof boot with a similar design (and no fur!), check out our Editors' Choice winner, The North Face Shellista II Mid.
Comfort & Coziness
Imagine slipping your feet into a pair of fleecy, lightweight slippers. Now add a rubber outsole, and you've got the Columbia Minx Mid II. This boot stands out for its uber lightweight design that keeps it comfortable and cozy. The fleece is nice and soft, on par with the Sorel Tofino II. We really liked how the fleece extends down the boot into the footbed. The footbed is also removable, which makes it easier to take out to dry.
It lost some points in the comfort category because once it's saturated, it takes the most time to dry (of all the boots tested). If you want a boot that dries quickly, take a gander at the Sorel Joan of Arctic, as it features a double boot that can be removed and conveniently dried. Though, if you're in the market for the coziest and comfiest boot out there, check out the cloud-like liners of the Ugg Adirondack II boot, or The North Face Shellista II Mid (our Editors' Choice) - both feel like you're walking on memory foam all day!
Scoring middle of the road, we appreciated the widely spaced lug design of the Minx Mid II winter boot. The outsole features a rubber toe box, complete with Omni-Grip non-marking traction rubber.
The lugs are deeper than all of the Sorels, and a touch deeper than The North Face Shellista II Mid. In comparison to the Shellista, the rubber isn't as soft and grippy, and we found ourselves slipping and sliding on super icy surfaces. If you're interested in a boot with the best traction, check out our Top Pick for Winter Hiking, the Vasque Pow Pow II Ultradry or our Best Buy winner, the Kamik Momentum.
If you want to guarantee a non-slip experience, look into getting a pair of YakTrax. They are adaptable to most boots and shoes.
Many of our testers liked the Minx-Mid II's 'no frills' and lightweight design, but it wasn't a top scorer in this category. Even though it's not nearly as cute or mountain-chic as the Sorel Tofino II or The North Face Shellista II, it's still streamlined and looks great over a nice pair of winter tights. Because it doesn't feature a large faux fur collar, it also fits nicely under all types of pants.
The fit of this boot felt small and a little sloppy. The one pull lacing system hugs your legs from all around, bringing the boot together, though the fit still feels unstable. The footbed is pretty narrow and our testers mentioned that they felt like they were wearing a cheap pair of narrow slippers outside. The foot bed is not nearly as supportive as The North Face Shellista, nor is the foot box wide and tall enough to wiggle your toes, like we found in many boot models like the Northside Kathmandu. All these points contributed to its lower score in this category. However, if you really want to feel like you've got slippers on your feet in the snow all day, then this product may be just the ticket!
Order a half or full size up, as this boot runs narrow and small.
Ease of On & Off
We love the fact you can slip this boot on and simply pull the laces once to get a nice, tight fit around your foot and calf. In fact, we almost gave it top marks in this category until we tried to put the boot on without using our hands.
Given its flimsy shaft, it was nearly impossible, so don't plan on trying to put these on while trying to hold an armload of groceries. They are super easy to kick off, even when fully laced up. If you're in the market for something that is even easier to put on and take off, check out the Kamik Momentum, our Best Buy award winner. Or, if you prefer something a little more stylish, we'd recommend The North Face Shellista II Mid boot.
Given the Columbia Minx Mid II's lightweight design, but lack of weather protection and warmth, we'd recommend this boot for quick around town trips when the days aren't too wet or too cold. Given that it fits nicely under a pair of pants, it's also a great boot to wear while commuting to work. We also liked wearing it while driving! If you're looking for a winter hiking boot, check out the Vasque Pow Pow II Ultradry.
Pay only $40 more and go from the lowest rated boot in the review, to our Editors' Choice, The North Face Shellista II Mid. The Shellista II Mid earned top marks for versatility and earned our coveted Editors' Choice award.
With a sticker price of just $120, the Minx Mid boot is one of the more affordable options out there (and there are many deals online!). However, if you're looking for something that is incredibly lightweight with decent traction and a plush interior, this may seem like an amazing score in your eyes! However, during our testing, this is one of the lowest scoring products that wasn't at the lowest end of the price spectrum. If you want a product with better quality, consider our Best Buy award winner, the Kamik Momentum. Or if you're into faux-fur stylings, check out the Northside Kathmandu.
This lightweight winter boot will keep your feet toasty when it's not too cold or too wet outside. Even though this boot claims to be "waterproof", our testing found that it was not. This competitor is constructed with a water-resistant upper and waterproof outsole. We loved its traction and comfortable inner lining and felt this boot did best in mild climates where slushy streets are limited.
— Amber King
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