Baffin Impact Review
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|Pros||Extremely warm, relatively durable||Great traction, excellent fit, very comfortable, warm, affordable||Weather resistant, easy to slip on and off, durable||Relatively inexpensive, great performance across the board||Great traction, very comfortable, inexpensive|
|Cons||Not waterproof above rubber shell, heavy, bulky, expensive||Other boots are warmer, relatively low water-resistance height||Expensive, loose fit, clunky, poor traction||Clunky, style isn't the best, questionable construction quality||Not that warm, fabric eyelets, low height|
|Bottom Line||These ultra-warm boots are huge, making them suitable only for those who spend lots of time in the extreme cold||These boots are the total package, with warmth, comfort, a great fit, and a fair price||These easy-to-use boots are protective and durable, perfect for winter chores or quick jaunts into snowy weather||These affordable boots nearly match the performance of the best models but without straining your wallet||This very comfortable and inexpensive winter hiking boot has excellent traction, making it perfect for winter walks and treks|
|Rating Categories||Baffin Impact||The North Face Chil...||Muck Boot Arctic Sp...||Columbia Bugaboot III||Merrell Thermo Chil...|
|Weather Protection (25%)|
|Comfort and Fit (20%)|
|Specs||Baffin Impact||The North Face Chil...||Muck Boot Arctic Sp...||Columbia Bugaboot III||Merrell Thermo Chil...|
|Maximum Puddle Depth Before Major Leaking||4"||8.5"||13"||8"||6.5"|
|Measured Shaft Height (from bottom of sole to top of shaft)||15"||11"||13"||10.5"||7.5"|
|Measured Weight (per pair, size 13)||6.42 lbs||3.86 lbs||5.09 lbs||3.69 lbs||2.74 lbs|
|Appropriate Activity||Chores||Town, errands||Chores||Hiking, town, chores, errands||Hiking, town|
|Fit Details||Roomy||True to size||Roomy||True to size||True to size|
|Lining/Insulation||Removable Comfort-Fit Liner||400 g Heatseeker Eco||Fleece, 5mm neoprene||200g synthetic||200g M Select|
|Upper Material||Nylon||Waterproof leather & suede||Rubber||Waterproof leather||Waterproof polyurethane-coated leather and mesh|
|Outsole||Polar Rubber||Surface Control rubber||MS-1 molded rubber||Omni-Grip Rubber||Rubber|
|Company Claimed Cold Weather Rating||-148 F||Not listed||-40 F||Not listed||Not listed|
|Sizes Available||7 - 15||7 - 14||5 - 15||7 - 17||7 - 15|
Our Analysis and Test Results
We have never worn a warmer pair of winter boots. We have also never worn boots that are so heavy and bulky. Don't plan on doing anything that involves foot precision while wearing these boots, including driving.
The Baffin Impact is a very warm boot. It has two significant layers of insulation, one being the removable synthetically insulated liner and the other being the thinner fixed lining on the inside of the shell. The sole also features a honeycomb pattern platform to capture air underneath the foot, making this well-insulated boot even warmer. We never felt cold feet while wearing these boots, and we can't imagine the temperatures necessary to defeat the insulation here.
The inner liner is removable for drying purposes, but don't try to wear these boots without the liner, as the foot cavity is too large to be useful. The insulation fixed to the shell's inside isn't thick; about the thickness of the neoprene layers on the inside of most slip-on winter work boots. Combined, the two insulation layers make the warmest boot we've ever tested. But they also make the boot thick, unwieldy, and heavy.
Upon first glance, these boots look extremely waterproof. They feature a rubber shell around the foot and an incredible shaft height of 15 inches. They even have a drawcord hem at the top of the shaft, sealing out snow and cold temperatures from above. And in the well-below freezing temperatures that this boot is meant for, these boots effectively shield the foot and calf from snow and wind.
However, a closer look at the boot's construction revealed a major flaw in the waterproofing, which was verified when we submerged these boots in the deep end of the local swimming hole. The seam between the rubber shell and the leather panel around the ankles isn't sealed, and the stitching isn't tight enough to pull the leather close enough to the rubber to make it waterproof. After about ten seconds of submersion, we started to feel a leak, and after a minute, water had fully soaked through the removable liner.
This only happened on one foot, but our closer inspection of the boot's construction gives us reason to think this will occur to any user of these boots. Beware of wearing these in above-freezing temperatures or wet environments!
Comfort and Fit
Unsurprisingly, the Impact are a chore to wear. The insulating liner is soft and cozy, and our foot itself never felt uncomfortable or pressured. But, due to the huge amount of insulation and thick shell materials, these boots are wide and unwieldy — we felt like we were wearing space boots. They also weigh in at nearly six and a half pounds per pair, over three pounds per boot, making them very difficult to wear if walking any distance. The shaft has two tightening straps secured by large plastic clips, and these clips do an ok job at making the boot feel tighter. However, they are so wide already that we rarely took the time to tighten them; we just slipped our feet inside and started walking.
It's not that the fit of the Impact is off — in fact, our feet felt cocooned, cozy, and didn't slide around much. But these boots are so darn wide that it is hard to imagine doing anything other than standing around or performing very basic work or chores, like brief shoveling missions. Users in the coldest winter climates at arctic latitudes may find themselves in need of these boots, but for everyone else, they are so bulky that they are hard to use.
The Impact has a good tread pattern with sharp lugs that bite into snow effectively. There is enough negative space to provide purchase in powder, but not enough to absorb dry surface irregularities like rocks and gravel if used off of paved surfaces. We didn't slip on any surface covered with snow, which is a good sign for those hoping to use these boots for shoveling the drive or for highway work.
There is a circular lug pattern on the heel and ball of each foot, which we couldn't understand, and it seems gimmicky. And, there is no tread under the foot's arch, only negative space. We would like to see full-length tread with patterns like those seen on snow tires, which would improve this boot's traction on unpaved surfaces.
Overall, this boot is built to last. They feature thick, hard leather lugs that won't wear down anytime soon, especially in the deep snow that they are designed for. The seams are all double-stitched for redundancy, and a toe cap helps protect the front of the boot.
The weak spot in the armor is the plastic hardware used for the front clips and the cinch cord at the top of the boot shaft. These components are flimsy and will be the first things to go. We've all broken plastic clips before, and it's no fun to deal with. One side of the front clip is fixed, so if that clip breaks, you'll have to send the boots in to get professionally repaired. Furthermore, these clips are in a high-impact area of the boot. The drawcord itself is also a weakness, which seals the boot cuff. Over time, drawcords get frayed from the sliding cinch mechanism from scratching along the surface, and they can eventually snap.
Should You Buy the Baffin Impact?
The Baffin Impact is an incredibly warm winter Pac boot, but it isn't waterproof. It's also so huge that it makes walking hard. It is cozy and comfortable against the foot, but we can't imagine using these boots unless temperatures drop below zero and we had to spend a lot of time standing around outside in the winter. But for extreme cold, they are the best option. These boots are expensive! If you need boots this warm, they could be lifesavers and are probably worth the money, but that is such a small segment of the population that we have a hard time saying that these are a good value.
What Other Winter Boots Should You Consider?
If you don't need the absolute warmest boot going and you need a little more precision, then the Baffin isn't the best choice. For outdoor chores, we prefer the slip-on comfort and style of the Muck Boot Arctic Sport Mid that isn't as warm but is easier to maneuver and offers more flexibility for outdoor shoveling and such without the bulk and weight of the Baffin. If your goal is outdoor fun and you don't need a boot as tall as the Baffin, the The North Face Chilkat V 400 is a well-rounded boot that can keep you warm and dry for all-day activities.
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