I have lupus and scleroderma, both connective tissue disorders related to rheumatoid arthritis. For the sake of this review, I’ll just say it means that I need gear that keeps me warm, dry and comfortable. So I jumped at the chance to test drive Columbia’s new Bugatech boots with the Omni-Heat thermal lining technology.
I first noticed the lightness of the boots. It was a tight squeeze to get the boots on although not a real problem. The snugness of them hugging my ankles and feet was a nice balance. However, the shoestrings were too short. The dexterity of my hands, lessened by the scleroderma, made it a difficult to tie a double knot.
Without any breaking in period at all, I gave these boots their maiden run. On December 13, we headed up Big Cottonwood Canyon in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah to do the Willow Lake Trail. With sunny skies and 34 deg I had plenty of tests for these boots. The first part of this trail is steep and winding through the aspens, with some breaking of the trail. The boots held fast with no slippage in my MSR Denali Ascent snowshoes. They also held my feet firm, warm (Under Armour socks) and dry. At 8800′ we took a break as skies turned hazy and temps dropped. Heading back down thru untracked snow I was satisfied. The boots had passed.
January 24 found us in Little Cottonwood Canyon and the White Pine Trail. The first part of this trail was in the shade, a cold 23 deg, as we trekked numerous switchbacks. Parts of this trail have some precarious angles, testing my ankles. The Bugatechs performed well as I had good stability, control…and no pain. At 9500′ and even as we headed back down through deep snow, my feet again were warm and dry.
Pros for this boot are stability for the ankles, warmth and dryness for the feet and a comfortable lightweight fit. Cons are no grommets and too short shoestrings. I am pleased with the performance and would recommend them to others.