The Columbia Bugaboot II Slip On is a cozy and warm slip on boot that fits small and needs to be sized up. Despite ending up near the bottom of the rankings in this review, we thought it was a worthy slip on model that most people will find more than adequate for around town use or shoveling out the car. Its soft insulation hugs the foot in a way that the Bogs Classic Ultra Mid simply doesn't, and there is no doubt that among the slip on boots that we reviewed, this one provides the foot with the most secure fit. That said, these boots run small, and we highly recommend you size up a full size, if not slightly more if you intend to wear a thick sock in them. Due to the tight fit, we found them a bit harder to slide on and off, and felt like our circulation was impaired, causing our feet to get colder easier than they should. We think these problems will be easily solved with a larger size. One of the best things about these boots is their low price — only $100 — and we would recommend them for someone who wants convenience and doesn't need a winter hiking boot.
Columbia Bugaboot II Slip On Review
Cons: Fit very small, slight leak in our test pair, relatively poor traction
Our Analysis and Test Results
As a slip on boot, the Bugaboot II Slip On most closely compares to the Bogs Ultra Classic Mid and the Merrell Polarand Rove Zip. These boots are designed with ease of use as their primary consideration, and are ideal for people who don't have any need or desire to go winter hiking (or already own a winter hiking boot), and simply need protection against the snow in the winter, whether in their own driveway, running errands, or taking the dog around for a quick walk. With no laces to tighten or adjust the fit of the boot, the upper shaft is predictably wide enough to slide your foot in, with the consequence of a bit of a sloppy fit. The small size of the Bugaboot II Slip On does a good job of holding the foot secure with snug synthetic insulation. We liked the comfort of this boot (as long as you size up), and thought it was warm and dry enough. On the other hand, we found the Omni-grip traction to be among the least grippy in icy conditions.
We thought that this boot was slightly warmer than the Bogs Classic Ultra Mid, although for sure not as warm as the Sorel Caribou or the Kamik NationPlus. With a tight fit on the top of the foot and in the toe box, we found that circulation was impaired a bit, and these areas were where we first noticed the cold creeping into our feet in our ice bucket test. These boots feature 200g of synthetic insulation, and perform much like the other boots in this review with that same amount. 6 out of 10 points.
The outer of this boot is made of a rubber barrier around the foot that transitions to fine suede leather higher up. Both of these barriers are coated with a water repellant application that worked pretty well. In our eight minute long ice bucket test, we did not notice any water leaking in, and without a tongue, the easiest entry point for water is the top of the boot, 7.5 inches above grade. However, upon closer inspection after removing the boot from the ice bucket test, we noticed a small amount of water had leaked in at the seam between the outsole and the upper, although this little bit of moisture was confined underneath the footbed insert. This leak was nowhere near as egregious as those we experienced with the Bogs or the Merrell Polarand Rove Zip Waterproof, but is something to be aware of. 6 out of 10 points.
Fit and Comfort
In terms of comfort, we thought these boots were great. The interior liner feels good against the foot and hugs the foot in a cozy way, securing it comfortably in place. There are no rub points or uncomfortable fabrics. However, when it comes to fit, we have already mentioned that they run extremely small. Like our best overall winter boot award winning The North Face Chilkat 400, this is a boot that we strongly recommend sizing up. In our pair, which was our street shoe size, we thought the boot was short, and lacking in space in the toe box and on the top of the foot. We did notice, however, that the boots packed out slightly over time, giving a less constrictive fit. 6 out of 10 points.
Ease of Use
The tight fit in the ankle of these boots makes them quite a bit more challenging to slip into than the Bogs Classic Ultra Mid or the Merrell Polarand Rove Zip Waterproof. That said, they are still slip on boots, so compared to the Pac boots or the insulated winter hiking boots, these were a breeze. To take them off also required a bit of tugging and pulling, mostly because they grip the foot so well. 8 out of 10 points.
The Omni-Grip rubber compound on the outsole of this boot is arranged into many x-shaped lugs. Despite being relatively soft, we found this outsole to be perhaps the least grippy on steep ice that we tested. Like virtually every boot in this test, they did fine on soft snow and okay on hard packed snow. We think this is because, like the Salomon X Ultra Winter CS, the lug pattern allows for relatively little surface area contact with a hard surface like ice, and this affects the grip. This is a speculative idea, but we stand behind the test results. We wouldn't let this scare you away from these boots by any means. 4 out of 10 points.
As a slip-on boot, these boots are designed for convenience, but are also snug enough to handle walking around town. We think they are great for taking out the trash, shoveling the walk, and commuting about in the winter. We also love them for wearing to and from the ski slopes, as they are easy to put on after removing the ski boots. While they are plenty comfy for walking about, we wouldn't wear them for hiking or snowshoeing, as they are not tight and precise enough.
These boots have a low MSRP of $100. This is second lowest next to the Kamik NationPlus, and the most affordable of any slip on boot. As long as you size them right, we think this presents a pretty good value for this boot.
The Bugaboot II Slip On is a comfortable and simple boot that looks good enough to wear around town. While it didn't stack up against the ultra high performing insulated winter hiking boots that we also tested in this review, we think that for what it is, you can't really go wrong.
— Andy Wellman