Say what you want about winter footwear, convenience and comfort is where it’s at.
I’ve been trying out a pair of Kamik Champlain boots for about three months now, and I have no reluctance to say almost anyone who spends time outdoors should have a pair of these.
I wanted to try them just for their overall convenience. Living here in the Arctic Circle where winter lasts up to eight months or so a year, you can soon grow very tired of constantly lacing up and untying a standard boot. It likely takes me about five – 10 minutes to get ready to go out when the weather is seasonably cold as it is, and every bit of time saved grows more important as the winter wears on.
Also, since people where I live expect your to remove your footwear during the winter when you visit, a zip-up boot certainly gets full marks for convenience as compared to tying and untying.
I suspected the Champlains would be an excellent all-around boot that I could use for anything from going to work to a little light snowshoeing.
It turns out they’re way better than that.
While they’re not quite as good for long-distance snowshoeing as a lace-up boot, the Kamiks can easily be used for anything from one to three hours at a time.
They’re warm, comfortable and offer a surprising amount of support for the weight. They’re also snug enough that my foot doesn’t rattle around in them, particularly after I added an extra insole.
It took a few weeks for me to loosen them up sufficiently, in fact, to be able to zip them up properly. I was not really expecting that, and that’s one reason why they’re so usable as snowshoe and hiking boots. I expected a looser, sloppier fit, and didn’t get it. Thumb’s up to Kamik for that one.
The Champlains have become the boots I wear most frequently now, which means I save my lace-up boots almost exclusively for longer-distance hiking, walking and snowshoeing activities on the weekends.
The grip is also excellent on these boots, although, like anything, not entirely foolproof.
While the appearance of the boots are secondary to practicality for me, it sure doesn’t hurt that the basic black of the Champlains and a slim profile make them perfectly well-suited to work purposes.
If I had to pick one thing to improve on the boots, it would likely be to beef up the support just a little. I also have a pair of Kamik Snowcliff boots that don’t offer as much support as they could, so this is likely something that Kamik could take a look at.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to jump into my Champlains just to hear my back and hands thank me…