Winter boots are essential in the mountains and the holy grail of snow-proof footwear has always been finding a boot that can perform in all the various weather and adventure situations we find ourselves in. A boot that’s warm out in the sledland but not so warm you need to remove it the minute you get to the bar. A boot that keeps the snow out but still lets your feet breath enough to stay dry. A boot you can drive the truck in or shovel the driveway. A boot for one season – winter — and I think Vasque has made that boot with the Snowburban Ultradry.
I don’t do a lot of gear reviews but when I do it’s important to me to really test out the gear. These boots came in the mail just before Christmas and I have literally put them through the ringer so here are my thoughts on a multitude of boot situations:
1. Driving a Tractor to Plow my In-Laws’ Driveway over Christmas
Driving a tractor requires a really warm boot because you are not really moving and your feet are constantly touching the freezing metal pedals of the tractor. The Snowburban features a solid, dual-density outsole-midsole-footbed combo and 400g 3M™ Thinsulate™ Ultra Insulation that kept my feet warm and happy. They are not too stiff to drive a car in either, which is nice.
2. Walking Through Fresh Pow in -10 degree Snowstorm
A lot of people will only wear a super tall boot in deep snow but if you cinch the Snowburban up properly and pull your snowpants down this boot is fine for deep dry snow. The coated leather upper and single-piece tongue construction keeps those little snowy flakes on the outside. In heavy sloppy spring coastal pow I might recommend a gaiter if you plan to be out for a long time but i trudged through deep blower snow in my jeans and both feet stayed dry.
3. Building a Snow Fort and having a Snowball Fight with a five-year old
You need traction and agility in any respectable snowball war. The Snowburban’s Vasque Venture rubber sole was slip-free on both a thinly-covered lawn and the icy walkways we battled over.
4. Roaming Whistler Village at Après
Call me lazy but sometimes I just want a boot that slips on easily and quickly to get me from the car to the bar after a big day on the slopes. The Snowburban laces are the perfect length – if you don’t tie them up they are short enough to not drag on the ground. Essentially these boots can be slip-on casual or full-support hikers. I’ve read reviews where people complain the metal eyelets on the boot will wear through laces quickly but mine are holding up just fine and I’d rather have a durable metal eyelet than a cheap plastic one that will break one day out in the backcountry when I need it.
5. Going Out for a Fancy Dinner
My wife wasn’t super amped about it, but it was puking snow in Whistler Village so I wore my Snowburbans out to dinner at the prestigious Bearfoot Bistro. They were stylish enough to pass for fine-dining attire and, unlaced, my feet didn’t get too warm over the three hour meal. Some people might not be able to pull this off if their feet are generally warm but it worked out for me.
6. Shoveling Nasty Wet Chunky Snow Banks in Squamish
When it snows in Squamish, BC (which is at sea level) it usually rains right afterwards. Then the snowplow comes by and blocks your driveway with a nice three-foot high wall of icy, chunky, nightmarishly heavy snowbank. During the hour+ it took for me to sweat my way through that mess the Snowburban breathed enough that my feet stayed pretty dry. This was full exertion and the boot performed. Be wary though, the rubber toe piece is durable but these babies are not steel-toed so when you kick that giant two-foot chunk of ice in frustration, it still hurts a bit.
All in all, I found nothing to complain about with the Vasque Snowburbans. Great winter boots and I can’t wait to go snowshoeing in them.
– Feet Banks, Editor, ML Coast Mountains