Whaaaat?!? I got to field test these babies, courtesy of Columbia's new Omniheat product line. I'm sure you've all seen the commercials - hot girl in small clothes is rolling in the snow, and as soon as she puts the jacket on, she is warm. Thank goodness, I was so worried (*Sarcasm). Who knew they were making BOOTS too!!
Pros: Self heating, light weight, waterproof, useful for more than expected.
Cons: Funky button placement, not very stiff, no rear welt.
Would I buy them? Yes
Need more info?
At first I was skeptical: Doesn't the fact that they are electric mean you are cheating somehow?
I am ALWAYS cold. It is freaking awesome to have that little bit of extra comfort. I'm not trying to be Bear Grylls, so if charging my boots up means I'll be able to stay on the ice longer, I'll do it.
They didn't skimp on the lining/insulation though. The trademark shiny dots grace the antimicrobial 200g Thinsulate lining. My ankles/lower calves were very toasty.
My second concern/lament was that they aren't very stiff or crampon compatible. They lack the rear welt that holds your step-ins on. Still, I really wanted to try ice climbing in them. They are, after all, sooooo warm.
So I experimented, and I'm glad I did. Turns out a friend of mine owns a pair of strap-on crampons that are ridged AND have a small screw holding the center size adjusting bar in place. I cinched those babies on as tight as I could and went for it. They were tight enough in the heel/ankle area to hold my feet in and comfortable enough that for the first time on ice I wasn't thinking about pain in my feet. This setup won't be the most technical, but it's warm and awesome for the weekend adventurer. I plan on using them again for sure.
So how do they work?
The side of the boot has a button. When held down it turns on in the "high" setting as indicated by a red light. Push it again, it turns yellow, again and it's on "low" and a green light shows. This button is another Con of the boot: It is RIGHT at my ankle bone. For a while I wondered if I could even wear the boots, but somehow I adjusted and it's been working out fine.
The USB cord can be used with a car charger as well, making me grateful for 4+ hour drives.
If I were to change anything about this boot it would be the stiffness and welt issue. The heated feature makes me want to use them for more than winter trips to the store or shoveling my driveway. Thankfully I found a solution that seems to work. While my Sportiva Nepals are great for ice, I'd never wear them out to walk the dog. With the Bugathermos I can do both.