The Newton Ridge is Columbia's contribution to the leather-synthetic hybrid market. This boot is very inexpensive, which is apparent in a few metrics, but overall it is well built and appropriately suited to the casual user. If one were looking for a high-performance, backpacking/winter climbing/alpine hybrid ultraboot, this is not it. But the Newton Ridge's no-frills approach has some distinct advantages.
Columbia Newton Ridge Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Very inexpensive, light
Cons: Not durable
Our Analysis and Test Results
In terms of standing comfort, or comfort during basic hiking, we were quite pleased. The boot is fairly light and easy to move in, and the boot cinches down tight so we didn't have problems with hot spots or blisters. However, the material is thin. Very thin. We wouldn't recommend using this on talus, while bushwhacking, or anywhere that pointy objects could access your feet. Additionally, the thin material means little insulation, so this boot gets pretty cold in the snow, or even in snowless sub-freezing temperatures.
While the Newton Ridge does use a non-vibram sole, we were quite impressed with its performance. Anecdotal evidence from cold fishing days and winter cragging would suggest that Columbia's Omni-Grip is just as effective as some of the other notable rubber formulas.
The Newton Ridge doesn't offer much by way of ankle stability. The thin material isn't quite as secure as some of the burlier boots we tested, though Columbia does provide some nylon shanks to capture the heel. We appreciated that. But if you're looking for a boot that offers hard-core ankle protection, the Newton Ridge probably isn't it.
It's possible to get lighter, but only by seriously scaling down either the sole thickness or cutting everything above the ankle. It's only a few ounces heavier than the Ventilator. If ultralight's your jam, then you probably still want to look elsewhere, but for a light, above-the-ankle boot the Newton Ridge may be your best option.
Like most boots we tested, the Newton Ridge has a waterproofed upper. The waterproofing was effective, but perhaps because of the boot's composition, largely mesh and other synthetic material, with a thin leather exterior, the boot took a rather long time to dry out. Probably for the same reason, we found this boot froze much faster and at higher temperatures than other boots we tested.
The Newton Ridge boots are not "high performance" by any stretch of the imagination, but they are very inexpensive and useful for the casual day hiker. They are a great first pair of boots. We brutalized our pair, and while we noticed definite room for improvement, they never failed catastrophically or maimed us. That being said, the Newton Ridge is definitely more at home as daily wear or on-trail hikers.
We haven't had our Newton Ridge's as long as some of our other boots, and already metal components are bending or breaking. The material is still intact, though the leather outer has taken some serious hits. Some boots are made for durability, and the Newton Ridge does not appear to be one of them. However, for $90, they're hard to beat.
— Atherton Phleger