Hands-on Gear Review

Columbia Bugaboot Plus III Titanium - Women's Review

Price:  $170 List | $170.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Great traction, supportive footbed and shaft
Cons:  Stiff shaft is less comfortable, not as warm as close competitors
Editors' Rating:   
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Shaft Height (from bottom of sole to top of shaft):  8 inches
Maximum puddle depth before major leaking:  7 inches
Upper:  Leather and nylon
Manufacturer:   Columbia

Our Verdict

The Columbia Bugaboot Plus III Titanium Outdry Omni-Heat boot is a good all-around winter hiker that scored well across several of our metrics and earned our highest score in traction! This product offers good support though the ankle and has a comfortable footbed with plenty of room for the toes to wiggle. Although it lacks a cozy lining, it does provide a surprising amount of warmth given its low bulk. The Bugaboot has a mid-cut shaft that provides good protection from puddles and decent protection from snow drifts.

All that said, it wasn't our favorite for outdoor adventuring — instead we preferred the Vasque Pow Pow II, which took home our Top Pick for Winter Hiking. Overall, the score differences between these two boots are relatively small — a point difference for comfort, warmth, and traction — however, the shafts of the two boots fit quite differently. The Columbia is much stiffer and takes a while to break in, whereas the Vasque's shaft is more supple and comfortable right out of the box. We ultimately suggest choosing the boot that fits you best and feels most comfortable on your foot.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Women's Winter Boots of 2018

Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Amanda Fenn

Last Updated:
Monday
December 21, 2015

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A waterproof winter boot that is ideal for winter hiking, the Columbia Bugaboot Plus III Titanium Outdry Omni-Heat offers great traction and a fair amount of warmth. It has a stiffer shaft that provides quite a bit of ankle support, but slightly decreases the overall comfort.

Performance Comparison


A great winter hiker  the Bugaboot Titanium will keep your feet dry and warm while headed out on the trail.
A great winter hiker, the Bugaboot Titanium will keep your feet dry and warm while headed out on the trail.

Warmth


We were pleasantly surprised by the amount of warm provided by this winter boot, which is lined with 600 grams of insulation. It's not super bulky, but it kept our feet relatively comfortable while moving in cold weather. That said, the Pow Pow II was noticeably warmer despite having only 400 grams of Thinsulate insulation.

Amanda looks a little chilly  but her feet are warm! This boot has 600 grams of insulation!
Amanda looks a little chilly, but her feet are warm! This boot has 600 grams of insulation!

Comfort & Coziness


Although the Bugaboot is lined with Columbia's shiny Omni-Heat insulation, the interior is soft and fleecy to the touch. The footbed doesn't provide much arch support (for more support in a winter hiker, be sure to read about the Ahnu Northridge) but there is plenty of room for the toes to wiggle. In our size 9.5 test model, we also found that there was enough room for the heel to slip a bit. Finally, we found the shaft to be slightly less comfortable due to its extra stiffness.

If you're looking for a boot with extra ankle support, then this product might be great for you, but we found that the extra stiffness decreased its overall comfort.

Weather Protection


This boot measures 8 inches from the bottom of the sole to the lowest point at the top of the shaft, plus it can withstand puddles up to 7 inches deep. In fact, our feet were bone dry even after 30 minutes submerged in a 3-inch deep puddle. While it wouldn't be our first choice for shoveling a foot of snow, it provides good protection for less snowy adventures. However, its relatively sleek shaft will easily fit under a pair of snow pants!

This product offers great protection from the elements thanks to its waterproofing and its shaft.
This product offers great protection from the elements thanks to its waterproofing and its shaft.

Style & Fit


Style was not the strong suit of any of our technical boots. If you're looking for a more stylish boot that you can still wear out hiking, consider the Ahnu Northridge or the UGG Adirondack II. The Bugaboot runs true-to-size, but our tester found the fit to be a bit wide for her lower volume foot. Her heel also didn't stay 100% in place.

As with all hiking boots, we recommend trying on a couple of pairs whenever possible.

Traction


We were truly impressed by this boot's performance in our traction metric. It was a show-stopper on ice, slick rocks, and even packed snow. It could have been just a touch better on loose terrain, but overall, we felt cool and confident when rock hopping in these boots!

The Bugaboot (front) outscored the Pow Pow II (back) in our traction metric by just one point!
The Bugaboot (front) outscored the Pow Pow II (back) in our traction metric by just one point!

Ease to Take On & Off


This model is one of the more difficult ones to take on and off primarily due to the extra lacing at the top of the shaft. It does have relatively large hooks to catch the laces, though and we really liked the textured shoe laces, which help keep them tied securely. Finally, because this boot has a bit of a wider fit, we found it easier to slip off.

Best Applications


This is a great option if you like to venture out in the snowy, icy winter wonderland! Although we liked the Vasque Pow Pow II just a little bit better, the Bugaboot is also an excellent option, especially if it fits your feet. We don't recommend this boot for times when looks matter or for braving deep snow drifts, but otherwise, it's a solid choice.

Stopping to re-power during a test hike. The Bugaboot is a supportive boot that will allow you to hike happy all day.
Stopping to re-power during a test hike. The Bugaboot is a supportive boot that will allow you to hike happy all day.

Value


With a list price of $170, this boot is quite pricey. The Pow Pow is $20 cheaper and earned higher marks in our metrics, so be sure to consider that boot if you're looking for value.

Conclusion


Made with a combination of leather and nylon, this beefy boot is ready to rock and roll across all types of winter terrain. The Columbia Bugaboot Plus III Titanium Outdry Omni-Heat boot boasts excellent traction, but earned slightly lower points than its closest competitors in terms of comfort, warmth, and style.

We hiked in the Bugaboot (left) and Pow Pow II (right) side-by-side to determine which was most comfortable. Our opinion: Pow Pow wins.
We hiked in the Bugaboot (left) and Pow Pow II (right) side-by-side to determine which was most comfortable. Our opinion: Pow Pow wins.
Amanda Fenn

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: December 21, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
  • 1
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  • 5
 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 100%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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