At first glance, the women's Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped boots are some of the most traditional-looking boots in this review. Brown leather uppers, bright red laces, and clunky looking soles bring Paul Bunyan to mind. After wearing them around a bit, we found these boots to be some of the most comfortable right out of the box. They break in quickly and are great for shorter hikes or if you're getting into hiking. They also come at an excellent price. Because they are mostly leather and quite sturdy, they lack the breathability that is helpful on longer, more strenuous outings. For more support and overall better value, the Best Buy-winning Keen Targhee III is our favorite combination of price and performance, although it's still a large jump from this $80 pair. If you plan on hiking more than just a few times per year, though, the Keen's are the way to go.
Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped - Women's Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Inexpensive, comfortable, good for a wide foot, simple design
Cons: Lacks breathability, lacks support underfoot
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Newton Ridge received its highest scores in the comfort, weight, and water resistance metrics. These boots are comfortable for wearing around town or on shorter hikes, as opposed to long, technical outings.
Where the Columbia Newton Ridge shines is in this metric. These boots are some of the most comfortable we tested right out of the box. Though they look like they would be stiff and hard to break in with all that leather, these boots are quite the opposite. They take very little time to break in and lack the stiffness that other mostly-leather boots have. Compared to the Oboz Sapphire, these boots are very soft. This can be a huge plus initially regarding comfort, but we did find that on longer hikes, the Newton Ridges did not provide the level of support, and thus comfort, we are used to. These boots are comfortable, but not truly designed for rugged or long outings.
Regarding support, the Columbia Newton Ridge boots are decent, but not exceptional. When we tested the rigidity of the soles (by twisting them laterally between two hands, the boots did not hold their shape at all. This implies a flexible, and thus less supportive, sole. It also means that the boots have a decent amount of flex in the forefoot. The Keen Targhee III is much stiffer and more supportive than the Newton Ridge.
Weighing in at 1.75 pounds, the Columbia Newton Ridge falls into the middle of the pack in this metric. Both the Oboz Sapphire and the Ahnu Montara III have similar weights. All of these boots are mid-weight hikers designed for shorter day hikes and travel in moderate terrain. It should also be noted that these boots all have almost entirely leather uppers, which adds a bit to their weight, but also to their longevity.
The Omni-Grip rubber soles on the Newton Ridges provide some traction on moderately rocky trails, but for off-trail scrambling and more technical hikes, these boots do not perform very well. Since they are designed for shorter, more moderate hikes, this is ok, but we found them to be slippery on granite slabs and talus.
Here, the Newton Ridges performed surprisingly well. These boots have very few seams since the upper consists of almost entirely one piece of leather. Columbia claims that the boots are waterproof and seam-sealed, and as far as we could tell, they held up to this claim. After being fully submerged, water will start to leak in through the tongue, but for puddles and rainy hikes, the Newton Ridges will keep your feet quite dry. The Ahnu Montara III performs similarly, which makes sense because they also have almost entirely leather uppers. Regarding breathability, nothing beats the award-winning Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX. The combination of mesh and leather provide a breathable barrier from water.
Throughout our three-month test period, the Columbia Newton Ridges showed very little sign of wear and tear. The leather uppers are durable, none of the seams blew out, and the soles remained intact. That said, these boots are much less expensive than the majority of the models in this review, and unfortunately, that means that they will probably wear out faster. The construction is just not meant to last as long as that of a $230 boot like the Lowa Renegade GTX. That said, for those just getting into hiking or planning on using these boots for occasional or moderate outings, the Newton Ridge is a good option.
These boots are a fine introductory boot for those just getting started in the hiking world. They are stylish, versatile, and provide plenty of comfort with very little break-in time. For longer hikes, the Newton Ridge is not the best option, since they do not provide the support needed for logging lots of miles. For a step up in performance, but also a price increase, check out the Keen Targhee III Mid.
The Newton Ridge boots are the most affordable boots we reviewed. Sold online for $80, the price is hard to beat for an ankle-high, leather, waterproof boot. If they are well taken care of and used mostly on well-maintained hiking trails, the Newton Ridges should last a fairly long time. We think these are a good bargain for an introductory hiking boot, but not on the performance level of high-end models we reviewed.
In conclusion, the Columbia Newton Ridge is a fairly basic and inexpensive hiking boot. The price is right, and there are no secrets or surprises with this boot — you get what you pay for. They are waterproof, stylish, and comfortable, making for a great boot for those who are not planning on logging tons of miles on the trail.
— Jane Jackson