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Kamik Ariel Review

A stylish and high value boot built to take on snowy weather and tall snow banks
Kamik Ariel
Photo: Kamik
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $130 List | Check Price at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Affordable, excellent protection, super stylish, easy to get into
Cons:  Poor leather durability, thinner construction isn't super warm
Manufacturer:   Kamik
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 12, 2020
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71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 15
  • Warmth - 25% 6
  • Weather Protection - 25% 7
  • Comfort & Fit - 25% 8
  • Ease of Use - 15% 9
  • Traction - 10% 5

Our Verdict

If you're seeking a great deal with stylish appeal, the Kamik Ariel will have you swooning. This gorgeous 12-inch boot offers a stylish appeal with its leather and suede outer and ornamental details. The zippered access complements the full lace-up design and makes it easy to slip on and off. The 200 grams of insulation keeps feet warm while walking through all types of weather but isn't the warmest when standing still. If you seek a winter boot that is both versatile and stylish, this high-value contender may be what you are looking for. The only caveat is the lower quality leather that scuffed easily in our testing.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Kamik Ariel
This Product
Kamik Ariel
Awards Best Buy Award Top Pick Award    
Price Check Price at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$180 List
$169.32 at Amazon
$145 List$140 List
Check Price at REI
$119.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
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Pros Affordable, excellent protection, super stylish, easy to get intoProtective and durable, very warm, breathable, excellent traction, great for hiking, high valueWarm, wider-forefoot, waterproof, fantastic traction, stability and supportComfortable, waterproof, protective, warmWarm, breathable, comfortable all-day wear, cute and protective, great price
Cons Poor leather durability, thinner construction isn't super warmNot the most stylishAggressive and techy look, not cozy, less arch supportStyle is questionable, not as versatile as a shorter bootLeaky at upper seam, heel is uncomfortable to some, half size too small
Bottom Line A stylish and high value boot built to take on snowy weather and tall snow banksAn affordable and high performance winter hiking bootA great winter hiker, perfect for slippery trails and long daysThis is a really comfortable, waterproof, and protective boot that's ready for the most wintery daysAnother high value boot with great all-around performance and good comfort
Rating Categories Kamik Ariel Keen Revel IV Polar... Columbia Bugaboot P... The North Face Shel... Kamik Sienna 2
Warmth (25%)
6.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
5.0
Weather Protection (25%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
8.0
Comfort & Fit (25%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
Ease Of Use (15%)
9.0
7.0
5.0
7.0
8.0
Traction (10%)
5.0
9.0
10.0
5.0
5.0
Specs Kamik Ariel Keen Revel IV Polar... Columbia Bugaboot P... The North Face Shel... Kamik Sienna 2
Maximum Puddle Depth Before Major Leaking 5 inches 7.5 inches 6 inches 4 inches 5.5 inches
Measured Weight (one boot, size 9) 20.2 oz 22.7 oz 20 oz (size 7) 22 oz 22 oz
Type of Boot Casual winter wear All-around winter Hiking All-around winter All-around winter
Fit Details True to size True to size, wide True to size Runs 1/2 size too small Runs 1/2 size too small
Measured Shaft Height (from bottom of sole to top of shaft, size 9) 12 inches 7.5 inches 7.5 inches (size 7) 11.5 inches 11 inches
Lining/Insulation 200 grams Thinsulate, fleece lining 200 grams KEEN.WARM Recycled PET Omni-Heat reflective lining, 200 grams of insulation 200 grams PrimaLoft Silver Insulation Eco 200 grams 3M Thinsulate
Removable Liner? Yes No No No No
Footbed EVA EVA Techlite EVA Injection-molded waterproof TPR shell Molded EVA
Upper Material Leather & breathable membrane made from Nylon Mesh and Leather Leather, nylon Waterproof, BLC-compliant nubuck leather upper, knit collar waterproof leather, water resistant flannel
Toe Box Leather Leather Rubber Rubber Rubber
Outsole EDITH, rubberized traction KEEN.Polar Traction Michelin winter compound rubber Winter Grip rubber outsole with IcePick temperature-sensitive lugs. Rubber
Cold Weather Rating (company claimed) -4F -25F -25F Not stated -4F
Animal Products? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sizes Available 6 - 11 5 - 12 5 - 12 5 - 11 6 - 10

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.

Performance Comparison


Enjoy this high-value contender that is versatile, cute, and...
Enjoy this high-value contender that is versatile, cute, and protective.
Photo: amber king

Warmth


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.

The interior fleece is warm while the footbed offers enough wiggle...
The interior fleece is warm while the footbed offers enough wiggle room to generate heat. We appreciate the 200-grams of insulation.
Photo: amber king

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 full shaft of the boot offers warmth throughout, but the sole is...
The full shaft of the boot offers warmth throughout, but the sole is bit thin, feeling cold when standing still.
Photo: amber king

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.

Weather Protection


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

This boot is waterproof only around the leather material, which is...
This boot is waterproof only around the leather material, which is about 5-inches.
Photo: amber king

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.

A look at the leather construction that is waterproof. Where the...
A look at the leather construction that is waterproof. Where the seam meets the suede, don't expect it to protect from water. However, it'll do good work to keep snow out.
Photo: amber king

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.

We like that the fit through the shaft is versatile. If you have...
We like that the fit through the shaft is versatile. If you have larger calves, lace it loosely. If your calves are thin, tighten it up. We also love the zipper on the side and find this boot to be super comfortable overall.
Photo: amber king

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.

Lace once and use the zipper to slip them on and off.
Lace once and use the zipper to slip them on and off.
Photo: amber king

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!

Traction


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.


A simple traction pattern, built for snow.
A simple traction pattern, built for snow.
Photo: amber king

Value


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.

Conclusion


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!

For casual walks, hanging around town, or commuting, this high-value...
For casual walks, hanging around town, or commuting, this high-value boot is a great option for winter wear.
Photo: amber king

Amber King

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