Columbia Bugaboot Plus IV Omni-Heat - Women's Review
Cons: Aggressive and techy look, not cozy, less arch support
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Columbia Bugaboot Plus IV Omni-Heat - Women's
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|$56.19 at Backcountry||$119.95 at Amazon||$59.98 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Warm, wider-forefoot, waterproof, fantastic traction, stability and support||Protective and durable, very warm, breathable, excellent traction, great for hiking, high value||Comfortable, waterproof, protective, warm||Affordable, excellent protection, super stylish, easy to get into||Warm, breathable, comfortable all-day wear, cute and protective, great price|
|Cons||Aggressive and techy look, not cozy, less arch support||Not the most stylish||Style is questionable, not as versatile as a shorter boot||Poor leather durability, thinner construction isn't super warm||Leaky at upper seam, heel is uncomfortable to some, half size too small|
|Bottom Line||A great winter hiker, perfect for slippery trails and long days||An affordable and high performance winter hiking boot||This is a really comfortable, waterproof, and protective boot that's ready for the most wintery days||A stylish and high value boot built to take on snowy weather and tall snow banks||Another high value boot with great all-around performance|
|Rating Categories||Bugaboot Plus IV Om...||Keen Revel IV Polar...||Shellista III Mid||Kamik Ariel||Kamik Sienna 2|
|Weather Protection (25%)|
|Comfort & Fit (25%)|
|Ease Of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Bugaboot Plus IV Om...||Keen Revel IV Polar...||Shellista III Mid||Kamik Ariel||Kamik Sienna 2|
|Maximum Puddle Depth Before Major Leaking||6 inches||7.5 inches||4 inches||5 inches||5.5 inches|
|Measured Weight (one boot, size 9)||20 oz (size 7)||22.7 oz||22 oz||20.2 oz||22 oz|
|Type of Boot||Hiking||All-around winter||All-around winter||Casual winter wear||All-around winter|
|Fit Details||True to size||True to size, wide||Runs 1/2 size too small||True to size||Runs 1/2 size too small|
|Measured Shaft Height (from bottom of sole to top of shaft, size 9)||7.5 inches (size 7)||7.5 inches||11.5 inches||12 inches||11 inches|
|Lining/Insulation||Omni-Heat reflective lining, 200 grams of insulation||200 grams KEEN.WARM Recycled PET||200 grams PrimaLoft Silver Insulation Eco||200 grams Thinsulate, fleece lining||200 grams 3M Thinsulate|
|Footbed||Techlite EVA||EVA||Injection-molded waterproof TPR shell||EVA||Molded EVA|
|Upper Material||Leather, nylon||Mesh and Leather||Waterproof, BLC-compliant nubuck leather upper, knit collar||Leather & breathable membrane made from Nylon||waterproof leather, water resistant flannel|
|Outsole||Michelin winter compound rubber||KEEN.Polar Traction||Winter Grip rubber outsole with IcePick temperature-sensitive lugs.||EDITH, rubberized traction||Rubber|
|Cold Weather Rating (company claimed)||-25F||-25F||Not stated||-4F||-4F|
|Sizes Available||5 - 12||5 - 12||5 - 11||6 - 11||6 - 10|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Bugaboot Plus IV Omni-Heat is a winter hiking boot with incredible traction, perfect for moderate conditions.
This boot is lined with 200 grams of Columbia's Omni-Heat insulation, which they claim reflects heat and saves bulk. They certainly kept our feet comfortably warm in cold temperatures. The laces are easy to pull tight, locking in heat, while the Omni-Heat technology does a great job of maintaining warmth without making you sweaty. The soles are burly thick rubber, insulating the feet from the cold ground. Perhaps most importantly, there is plenty of room to wiggle those toes.
We put the Bugaboot in an ice bucket and regularly took its internal temperature with a laser thermometer for 20 minutes. It lost a whopping 21.8 degrees, which is a lot compared to other boots in our review. We attribute this poor performance to the boot's thinner insulation, and also to the type of insulation. Columbia's Omni-Heat works by reflecting insulation. Without feet in the boots, there was no heat to reflect. This boot is intended for heat-generating action, and we found it to be warm in the field. The only downside to the Omni-Heat lining is that it's not the most breathable. While our feet were warm in motion, it doesn't offer much in the realm of moisture escaping, which led to colder feet when standing still. Unfortunately, this boot isn't exactly cozy. Some of the other winter hikers we tested have faux-fur or soft wool around the ankles, adding an extra level of comfort. This one has neither.
This boot is quite waterproof and kept us dry in 6 inches of frigid water. The outer material is rugged. The bomber construction sheds snow and water efficiently. For deep snow and drifts, however, you may want to extend the boot's 7.5-inch height with gaiters or snow pants.
Comfort & Fit
The Bugaboot Plus IV is roomy and comfortable. The heel cup holds feet in place, and the toe box is wide enough to allow for plenty of toe wiggle, helping feet stay nice and warm. That said, the outer material is sturdy and very stiff. It feels a bit like a shell. One tester compared it to a lightweight ski boot. As a result, the fit isn't very forgiving. If you have a wider forefoot, it may feel very restrictive. While the footbed doesn't have huge arch support, it is firm and supportive for long hikes. Overall, we like the comfort and fit of this boot and rate it above average.
Ease of Use
Columbia made some nice improvements for this iteration of the Bugaboot. One of these upgrades is the lacing system. We love the closed metal eyelets that make tying the laces a breeze, even with cold hands. The boot is roomy, and it opens up wide when untied, making it easy to slip on and off. As with all hiking boots, you will want to tighten the laces for a precision fit, and you can't get them off without untying them first, but we found these boots among the easiest to use of their type.
Utilizing a variety of lug shapes and sizes and sporting Michelin Winter Compound Rubber, this boot provides fantastic traction over a variety of surfaces. We tested it over snow and ice on both level and steep terrain. We walked across snowy ridgelines and up icy valleys. It did well in all conditions, grabbing on snowy and steep ascents, but it really shines on the slippery stuff.
The lugs are less faceted than those on the other winter hiking boots we tested, and the heel rubber extends wide beyond the shaft of the boot, especially on the heel. This gives it a particularly aggressive look and also provides more surface area on slippery trails or sidewalks. As a result, it trounced the competition and stood out for its amazing traction. All of the winter hiking boots have excellent traction and are great choices for cold, snowy terrain. However, when ice was part of the trail equation, the Bugaboot really excelled with its softer rubber composition.
This is the least expensive winter hiker we tested. It is comfortable, warm, and really performs well, especially for the price. While we don't love the style, those that'll find the most value in it are those seeking a technical winter trail hiker with awesome traction. Not a stylish winter boot.
The Columbia Bugaboot Plus IV Omni-Heat is a solid winter hiker with exceptional traction. Take it on your next winter hike, or strap it onto a pair of snowshoes, you'll be glad you did.
— Laurel Hunter