Kamik Ariel Review
Cons: Poor leather durability, thinner construction isn't super warm
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Kamik Ariel has us feeling stylish and protected, all at a great price. This cute boot offers 100% protection all the way up to the 12-inch cuff. Built to take on extra tall snowbanks and sloppy surfaces, it's best for casual commuters and town walkers.
Built with an outer composed of suede and leather and an interior packed with 200g of Thinsulate material and lined with fleece, this boot not only insulates, it breathes exceptionally well. It's not the warmest in our fleet, but it'll keep you pretty cozy, even if temperatures drop, and a winter storm is what you need to face. We found it sufficient for most cold-weather situations.
We wore this boot while teaching all day outdoors in cold weather. Our forest school spent time tromping through streams and plunging into snowy banks when the temperatures were well into single digits. We also wore them during negative temperatures during a surprisingly cold late Fall day. Our feet stayed warm through it all, especially when we were dressed properly - -however, we had to be in motion. When standing still, we could feel the boot cool down.
This boot (for a size 9) reaches 12 inches, with a zippered side for easy access offering additional protection from cold weather. This is a great height if you prefer to wear a pair of leggings with a skirt. The materials are thin enough to fit underneath a pair of wider pants too, making them easy to layer and thus offering more winter warmth overall.
The interior fleece will wick away moisture while the thinner design breathes, ultimately keeping your foot warmer, especially when walking a good distance. There are suede reinforcements at the front of the laces to prevent wind from ripping through the material, with a higher rise towards the boot's back. Overall, the Ariel is quite warm for most moderately cold weather. However, because of its thinner construction, it's not one we'd recommend if you're out all day in super cold weather and are sitting still. It's rated to -4F.
Built for most weather conditions, this boot is versatile and will protect in deep snow and through wet weather. The tall shaft (12-inches) will keep snow out of the tops of your boots while the leather and rubber outsole will protect your feet. Unfortunately, it's not completely waterproof through the shaft, but it will protect from water where it matters most. That said, it's not designed as a hiking boot.
The sole and lower portion of this boot is constructed from leather, which proved to be solid in our water leakage tests and field experiences. The boot's shaft is constructed of suede, which isn't waterproof, especially in really deep puddles or streams. In our river tests, when the water level got past the seam where leather and suede meets, water started to pour in. Not just a small leak, but almost a stream of water. The zipper is supposed to be waterproof, but it leaks. As a result, this boot isn't entirely waterproof, but water-resistant
For snow, the suede construction does exactly what you need. It'll keep snow out of your boot and dries surprisingly quickly (given its thinner materials). The zipper also does good work to keep the snow out, as do the laces. Overall, for snowy conditions, this boot is a pretty bomber, but if you're dealing with deep puddles, know it will only protect up to 5-inches — any deeper, and you'll have a foot full of water. That said, for regular wear around town or for most winter days, this boot is just fine. For long days outside or exceptionally wet weather, you might look for a different option.
Comfort & Fit
This boot fits quite comfortably and is true to fit. The width throughout is normal, with a neutral fit. There's no specific arch support, but a little extra lift in the heel that our testers found comfortable. The platform underfoot feels supportive, built with responsive EVA foam.
This is a boot we would recommend for all-day comfort, and we know because we did it! We wore it for weeks, all-day, and found our feet to be comfortable all day long. The fit is large enough to accommodate a thicker pair of socks, and it breathes well enough to use while doing easy hikes as well. The boot has a nice cozy fabric throughout the shaft, so it wears well with a pair of leggings, skinny jeans, or next to the skin. What's more, the boot shaft is nice and wide. Ladies with either skinny or heftier calves will be able to get their feet inside with ease. Plus, the material gives a little.
The only use we wouldn't recommend the Ariel for is for very long days standing or sitting around in the snow because it's not warm enough. Aside from that, we'd recommend wearing it all day long!
Ease of Use
This boot crushes in this metric because of its two-way entry inside. You can easily slip it on and off once you've tied it up thanks to the zipper down the side — a feature we'd love to see more of in other stylish lace-up boots.
In our testing, getting this boot on takes all of five seconds. You do have to reach down and pull your foot into it, so it's not a no-hands boot. The zipper glides well and never caught on the teeth in our testing. We also appreciate the pull-on tab at the back of the boot, making it easy to put your foot inside.
If you don't use the zipper, the laces do take a little extra work. Eyelets are used to hold the laces in place, and you will need more than one pull to get it all cinched tight. So, getting the laces adjusted to your needs does take a bit of time. Though, once you've got them set to your favorite level of tightness, you're good to go for the rest of the winter!
Over snow and mud, this boot does a good job. The traction pattern isn't aggressive or heavy, but flat and simple. It'll easily fit a pair of yak tracks or micro spikes for those especially slippery days, but don't expect it to hold on to incredibly slippery surfaces on its own. For most winter days, though, this boot will do okay for the casual commute or walk around town.
This is one of the best value options on the market, in our opinion. The price is relatively low for a winter boot, and the performance is great — the Ariel scored higher than most boots at this price point. That said, we did note some wear and tear after just a day or two of testing, specifically at the toe. We ended up with some serious scuffing here, showing that the leather on the boot isn't the highest quality. To ensure longevity, we'd recommend sticking to sidewalks and the daily commute. Also, be sure to treat both the leather and suede to ensure it maintains its weather protection.
This high-value contender isn't just stylish, but performs well too! Rock this 12-inch boot easily with a pair of skinny jeans or leggings for protection all winter long. The leather and suede construction offers great weather protection but is limited for super deep puddles. This is a tremendous value for the casual commuter or the walker that loves to explore town while looking good. Enjoy the Kamik Ariel all winter long!
— Amber King
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