NorthFace Chilkat Tech Boot
When I moved out here the extent of my winter boots were a pair of rubber rain boots that are a half size too big that I bought at a Walmart off 81 because it had snowed on Thanksgiving and I wanted to play. I wore them for two years at Radford, sledding at midnight and losing all feeling in my feet because there is zero insulation in those boots. When I moved out here I realized that that probably wasn’t going to cut it... When we took our guided snowshoe in 2016, we were able to rent boots with the snowshoes. Those boots were so warm and comfy (and weren’t cracking along all of the seams), I dont know how I ever went without a proper pair of winter boots.
The boots we rented were an old version of the NorthFace Chilkats. They were so perfect that when we bought our own pairs of snowshoes last year, I knew I wanted to own a pair of those boots too. They didn't sell the exact version that we used, but I was really happy with the ones they had for sale: The NorthFace Chilkat Tech Boots. They're selling a slightly different version now, but you might still be able to find these in stores or on third-party sites! Though, the new ones look just as good (if not better), they just don't come in black.
These boots are exactly what I need out of my winter boots. I mean, for starters, they're insulated. They use a GoreTex Duratherm technology that makes them both waterproof (also an essential feature because, snow) and gives them breathable insulation. These are a shell boot, but they're not as big and chunky as some shell boots can be; the shell itself is "foam-backed, abrasion-resistant [and] provides protection without bulk." The soles are Vibram IceTrek and I can definitely vouch for their traction capabilities - when we hiked to Calypso Cascades we did 99% of the hike in just our boots with no problem. They're also true to size - I wear a 9.5 in almost everything else and the 9.5 was perfect in these.
Here's what I like about these boots: the insulation keeps my toes toasty warm. They're really easy to put on and tie while wearing gloves. The traction really is as great as it claims to be - I am so unsteady on my feet when it comes to snow and ice and I feel confident when I'm wearing these boots. I also really like the height - they're 5.5 inches and sit perfectly above my ankle (and the shell helps prevent me from twisting my ankles when I'm being awkward in snowshoes). Plus they're really comfortable. I never take the time to break in my boots; I try them on once to make sure they fit, and then I take them for a hike. I did get some soreness because of that with these boots (more on that later), but overall they were fine to wear straight out of the box.
Here's what I don't like: if we're going on a longer hike/snowshoe, the backs of these boots will start bruising my calves. I'm not sure if it's the way I'm walking or what, but sometimes when we're going over 6 miles they really start to bother me. I also don't like the weird flower details? You can really see them in the picture above. I just hate that women's gear always has to be so definitively "girly." Other than that, these boots really are perfect. Logan has the Chilkat Evo's, the men's version of my boots. They are still selling those, so if you know your mens size, it might be worth it?
NOTE: the views and opinions in this post are mine alone, and I did not receive any compensation to make this post.