You are, no doubt, aware of Columbia (the brand, not the country). In fact, I remember quite clearly the Bugaboo 3-in-1 jacket that I picked up in college, and still use to this day for snow clearing duties. Well, they of course have all manner of outdoors gear. With weather turning sloppy and cold, you might be considering a new pair of boots. If so, you might want to have a gander at the Columbia SH/FT collection.
These are some boots that I stumbled across quite by accident, via an ad (look at that, advertising CAN work!) The SH/FT collection packs in a bunch of stuff that elevate it from the standard hiking boot (or sneaker-style boot) that you’ll find at your local store. For example, let’s see what the SH/FT Waterproof Hiking Shoe brings to the table:
- SERIOUS GRIP: Ultra-resilient rubber outsoles built to traverse concrete jungles and trailheads.
- WATERPROOF LEATHER: Crafted of waterproof full-grain leather, this versatile hiker blurs the lines between pavement and path.
- UNDERFOOT COMFORT: SH/FT™ cushioning for best-in-class energy return, rugged durability, and all-day comfort.
For the cruddy winter weather, it’s the grippy outsoles and waterproof leather that will no doubt be handy. Then you’ve got the mid-soles, which is where the SH/FT technology comes in. When they’re saying energy return, I’m reading that as a springiness. It’s not that the shoe absorbs the impact of your foot striking the ground, but it returns that back into your step, helping your foot lift into that next stride. Sounds interesting, and they’re good-looking boots, coming in at $120.
For serious winter weather wear, though, you might be looking for warmth over other considerations. Here, Columbia is no stranger either, as their OmniHeat shows up in many products. I’ve not experience it myself, but I’ve got a buddy with a hoodie lined with it, and raves about how warm just that single layer can be. Well, fold that into a boot, and you have my curiosity, as my feet seem to always be cold. In this case, it’s showing up in the $150 Columbia SH/FT OutDry Sneaker Boot.
If you’re just simply locking in heat, that means you’re going to lock in moisture as your feet sweat, and that will undo any insulated warmth in a hurry. Here, their OutDry construction comes into play, offering construction that manages to be waterproof, breathable, and warm. How warm? Well, with the 200g of insulation, these boots are actually rated to -25F/-32C. In other words, well warm enough for anything that I’m likely to encounter. They’re also grippy, and with the SH/FT tech in the midsoles, should be springy as well. What amazes me here is how warm it can manage to be while giving the appearance of a hiker/sneaker hybrid.
These are the two options in the SH/FT lineup (there are men’s and women’s styles), which you can see the whole range of right here . As I’ve said, the OmniHeat-equipped ones are the most intriguing for me, but they’ve got a wider range, as well as different styling choices available across the range. We’re working to see about getting a sample in for a hands-on review (Winter is coming); in the meantime, if you’ve experience these yourself, please do let me know. columbia.com
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