Reviews You Can Rely On

Baffin Escalate - Women's Review

This is one of the lightest boots in our lineup and will keep your legs toasty warm in the coldest temps, but it does lack structure and stability
baffin escalate for women winter boots review
Even with our pants rolled up, the cinched laces sealed snow out of the interior of the boot, though an hour of shoveling created some clumping on the toes.
Credit: Liz Chamberlain
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $150 List
Manufacturer:   Baffin
By Liz Chamberlain ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 19, 2022
74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 16
  • Warmth - 25% 9.0
  • Weather Protection - 25% 7.0
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 7.0
  • Traction - 15% 6.0
  • Durability - 15% 7.0

Our Verdict

After adding the Baffin Escalate to the test group, we were pleasantly surprised at its ability to keep our legs warm, dry, and cozy — all while remaining impressively lightweight. The Escalante offers 12 inches of leg protection supported by B-Tek Heat insulation that is genuinely soft and toasty warm. At a measured weight of just 20 ounces for the pair, the boot is exceptionally light; however, this translates to a lack of stability and structure in the shaft and upper. As a result, this was difficult to slip in and out of at times, particularly if the boot or our sock was wet. That aside, it's a great option for those who live in the coldest climates and want to cover up as much as possible to keep warm and stay dry.
REASONS TO BUY
Ultra lightweight
12" of leg coverage
Bungee cinch laces
REASONS TO AVOID
Tough to get on and off
Minimal structure

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Ultra lightweight, 12" of leg coverage, bungee cinch lacesUltra warm, removable liner, thick rubber outsole, impressive waterproofing, great tractionGood value, ultra warm, great traction, highly waterproofLightweight, supportive yet flexible, grippy, breathableSoft liner, lightweight, decent traction, tough nylon upper, cushy PU footbed
Cons Tough to get on and off, minimal structureSomewhat heavy, bulkier designOnly ankle-high coverage, hiking-specific style, narrow fitLow coverage, thin upperRuns small, not as warm as others
Bottom Line This is one of the lightest boots in our lineup and will keep your legs toasty warm in the coldest temps, but it does lack structure and stabilityA comfortable, true to fit, ultra-warm and waterproof winter boot with a durable and structured exteriorThis well-priced boot hits all the marks with a winter-friendly design that maintains great traction, weatherproofing, and warmthLightweight, supportive, and warm enough for trail or everyday use but a short shaft limits protection from winter elementsThis is a comfortable and durable boot meant for casual use but isn't quite warm enough for the coldest weather
Rating Categories Baffin Escalate - W... Baffin Chloe Merrell Thermo Chil... Salomon X Ultra 4 M... Columbia Minx Short...
Warmth (25%)
9.0
10.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Weather Protection (25%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
Comfort and Fit (20%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
Traction (15%)
6.0
8.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
Durability (15%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Specs Baffin Escalate - W... Baffin Chloe Merrell Thermo Chil... Salomon X Ultra 4 M... Columbia Minx Short...
Maximum Puddle Depth Before Major Leaking 11" 9" 6" 4.5" 4"
Measured Shaft Height (from bottom of sole to top of shaft) 12" 10" 6" 6" 6.5"
Measured Weight (per pair, size 7) 1 lb 4 oz 2 lbs 8 oz 1 lb 13 oz 1 lb 5 oz 1 lb 4 oz
Type of Boot Casual winter wear All-around winter wear Winter hiking Winter hiking Casual winter wear
Fit Details Runs small True to size True to size True to size Runs small
Lining/Insulation Thermaplush, B-Tek Heat Comfort-Fit multilayer foam M Select Warm (200g) Polyester Omni-Heat reflective
Removable Liner? No Yes No No No
Footbed Removable PU EVA Kinetic Fit BASE EVA Removable PU
Upper Material Nylon Suede leather Waterproof PU-coated leather and mesh Leather, textile Waterproof woven synthetic textile, suede
Toe Box Reinforced Hex Rubber Rubber Rubber Nylon and rubber
Outsole Polar Rubber Polar Rubber M Select GRIP Contagrip W rubber Omni-Grip rubber
Company Claimed Cold Weather Rating Not stated -40°C/-40°F Not stated Not stated -32°C/-25°F
Temp Change in Ice Bath -5.6°F -4.1°F -5.2°F -7.2°F -9.7°F
Animal Products? No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sizes Available 6 - 11 6 - 11 5 - 11 5 - 10 5 - 12

Our Analysis and Test Results

We were impressed with the performance of the Baffin Escalate in many of our tests. It is the second tallest boot in our review at 12 inches, and it delivers on keeping the lower extremities completely warm and dry. The cinched bungee laces help to keep snow out of the interior, and we remained upright on tricky snow-laden terrain, though the tread didn't stand out as one of the grippiest. While the boot delivers warmth, coverage, and comfort, it isn't the toughest option in the durability category, and the lack of stability in the upper made us a little hesitant to go off on more intense adventures. That said, we thought the Escalate held its own against some strong competitors in this category, and we would recommend it to anyone in colder, more intense winter climates.

Performance Comparison


baffin escalate for women winter boots review - we stepped over plenty of slippery snow-laden rocks to determine the...
We stepped over plenty of slippery snow-laden rocks to determine the capability of the boot's lugs.
Credit: Liz Chamberlain

Warmth


In our submergence tests, we found that the Escalate was one of the front runners in retaining warmth over long periods of cold exposure. Baffin gives this model their "tundra" rating for temperatures down to -40°F. The coldest temperature we could test in was the mid-teens, which we remained plenty warm in, though we're not quite sure how well the boot would work in sub-zero temps.


During a long-exposure test in snow, we found the interior of the Escalate remained the warmest out of the bunch, losing only 4°F over 2 hours of snow exposure. During our ice bucket test, the boot lost just 5.6°F in temperature. Pretty impressive! Heat retention is noticeably the Escalate's leading attribute. We highly recommend this boot for those who find themselves standing around at winter football games or supervising sledding sessions with the kids.

baffin escalate for women winter boots review - we covered the new boots in snow for 2 hours and took the...
We covered the new boots in snow for 2 hours and took the temperature before and after to gauge how quickly the boot's temperature is affected by cold.
Credit: Liz Chamberlain

Weather Protection


With one of the highest shaft heights in the lineup at 12 inches, the Escalate offers up a full coverage boot in a lightweight, comfortable construction. The beauty of the Escalate is the bungee lace system that not only allows for a tight fit but also creates a sealed closure on the shin and calf to seal snow out of the boot's interior.


In wet conditions, namely rain or slushy snow, the nylon upper of the Escalate retained some moisture and felt damp by the time we took off the boot. In our water submergence test, we found the Escalate sealed out water up to 11 inches high and once again retained a damp exterior but a dry interior. The dampness made it difficult to take off the boot and put it back on without sitting down, which was slightly frustrating. However, this boot gave us all the protection we were looking for.

We trudged through the most recent storm's offerings to get a feel...
We trudged through the most recent storm's offerings to get a feel for the boot's weather protection, waterproofing, and traction capabilities.
For our submergence tests, we walk as far into water as we can until...
For our submergence tests, we walk as far into water as we can until water begins to enter the boot. This is the ultimate test to gauge the boots true waterproofing performance.
We measure the shaft height to compare against the maker's claimed...
We measure the shaft height to compare against the maker's claimed height, which isn't always completely accurate.

Comfort and Fit


The built-in liner of the Escalate is soft, cozy, and warm. We were very pleased with the unending warmth delivered by this boot. The Escalate is lightweight thanks to a nylon upper, and the bungee lace design allows for a tight or loose fit without having to deal with traditional laces coming undone. That said, the bungee lace is long enough that it flings around if you don't tuck it in.


We also enjoyed the footbed of this boot. While stock footbeds often tend to be thin and lack shape or support throughout, this one feels soft and cushy. However, the footbed is built into the interior, so we couldn't take out the footbed liner and evaluate it beyond its' subjective feel.

baffin escalate for women winter boots review - the two way cinch allows the user to tighten specific zones on the...
The two way cinch allows the user to tighten specific zones on the boot. Better yet, bungee laces hold tighter than standard lacing systems that can come untied or loosen.
Credit: Liz Chamberlain

Out of the box, the space in the forefoot felt noticeably tight, and the insulation over the toes felt a bit suffocating. Luckily, the notion of tightness dissipated after about 5 minutes of wear. The boot feels true to size, but at our normal shoe size, it wasn't the perfect fit. We would suggest sizing up a half size in this boot, particularly if you have wide feet or like to wear thick socks.

baffin escalate for women winter boots review - the bungee laces seal the top of the boot over pants or leggings...
The bungee laces seal the top of the boot over pants or leggings when cinched down tight, keeping snow from entering the interior.
Credit: Liz Chamberlain

The Escalate is not the easiest boot to slip into if you're in a rush, but it's quite easy to loosen up and kick off with your other foot, so long as it's dry. Once wet, this became a little more of an issue. Overall, we enjoyed wearing this boot and would recommend it to anyone prioritizing warmth, comfort, and coverage.

baffin escalate for women winter boots review - we had to sit down several times when trying to get the escalate on...
We had to sit down several times when trying to get the Escalate on. The upper crumbles down if you don't slip your foot perfectly down the middle.
Credit: Guy Eriksen

Traction


At first glance, the lug profile of the Escalate is underwhelming. The hexagon-shaped lugs boast a similar design to a Van's shoe or a mountain biking flat. Yet out in the field, the Escalate had no problem charging up, down, and through fresh snowbanks.


This boot felt grippy walking down our wet and slushy neighborhood streets. However, it wasn't entirely grippy on icy pavement, which was a bit of a letdown because the boot doesn't have much structure to enhance stability on icy or uneven terrain.

baffin escalate for women winter boots review - the baffin hexagon shaped litegrip lugs were stiff and unassuming at...
The Baffin hexagon shaped LiteGrip lugs were stiff and unassuming at first glance but they performed great in the field and were grippier than we had guessed.
Credit: Liz Chamberlain

Durability


The construction of the Escalate is not as focused on durability as it is on warmth and coverage. The upper is made primarily of synthetic textiles, which are more prone to tearing on rocks, branches, ice, etc. Although, during our durability test, where we whacked and scraped the boots against rocks, trees, pavement, and ice, the upper only experienced some light scratching and discoloration with no large cuts or abrasions.


The rubber toe stopper is minimal but does the job of protecting toes, though it's not the beefiest option if you're looking for a more heavy-duty boot. While it held up in the thrash tests, several other boots are more effectively designed for the long haul.

baffin escalate for women winter boots review - several scuff marks came from our durability test but no major rips...
Several scuff marks came from our durability test but no major rips or abrasions occured.
Credit: Liz Chamberlain

Should You Buy the Baffin Escalate?


The price tag for the Escalate feels reasonable based on the boot's performance throughout our testing period. It sits in the middle of the price range of the products in this review. The Escalate is quite comfortable and will undoubtedly keep your shins, calves, and feet dry in blizzardy conditions, but the boot isn't necessarily multi-functional. If you're looking for a one-stop shop, do-it-all boot, there may be better options. But if you're looking for a boot that provides maximum warmth, this is a top-tier choice.

baffin escalate for women winter boots review - ready to take on the fresh powder on our way to the ski resort.
Ready to take on the fresh powder on our way to the ski resort.
Credit: Guy Eriksen

What Other Winter Boots Should You Consider?


Warmth and coverage are the key components to the mystique of the Baffin Escalate. If you're willing to spend a little more, the Muck Boot Arctic Ice Tall and the Baffin Chloe are strong competitors and offer up very similar performance capabilities in cold climates. They have tall shaft heights and strong insulating layers. If, on the other hand, you would like to spend less, stick with the Escalate or look into The North Face Shellista IV Mid.

Liz Chamberlain
 
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