When Snowshoe Magazine offered its readers to demo Columbia Bugatech Lite Omni Heat Boots, I jumped at the chance. Snowshoeing isn’t normally thought of as an urban sport, but there are a lot great places in Chicago and it’s surrounding areas to get outside, that don’t require hours in the car.
Chicago has a great lakefront, city golf courses and parks that provide a different snowshoe scene. I love the Morton Arboretum, just outside Chicago, with tons of trails (and off trail areas), it’s more of your traditional ‘winter wonderland’ snowshoeing environment. I was pumped for my new boots.
The boots fit really well. I have a wider foot and there wasn’t any pinching. They’re sturdy with good arch support. The boot itself is a little stiff. The extra stiffness wasn’t an issue when snowshoeing, but was noticeable when kicking around town. I had to adjust the laces, not tying them all the way up, so they had a little more give, but this didn’t change the fit.
They were a little difficult to get into my Atlas snowshoe bindings, but it just took some practice. They performed awesomely! I was amazed at how lightweight they were, they didn’t feel bulky when I picked up my feet.
I was skeptical about the warmth because my feet are very sensitive. Looking for the ultimate test and adventure, I set out on a day when the temps were in the low teens. I wore a thick pair of Smartwool socks, and hoped for the best. (I packed some toe warmers, just in case.) We went out for over two hours and hiked a couple miles, no cold feet. It was a miracle!
Overall: They may be a little stiff and not the most stylish, but the function, performance, and warmth made me a believer in these boots.