Rocky hillsides, slippery snow covered leaves, marshy lowlands and cold temperatures were all part of a long weekend in the mountains as I put the recently released Vasque Arrowhead UltraDry winter hiking boots to the test.
They were up to the challenge, keeping my feet dry and warm as I covered at least 10 very difficult miles a day, bushwhacking off trail through wilderness in the Gore Range of the Rocky Mountains.
I was impressed that the boots were both nimble enough for long distance hiking and warm enough to sit quietly for two or three hours at a time with the temperature between 20 and 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
A note on fit: At first the Arrowhead seemed a little narrow for its size but became more comfortable on my wide foot as it broke in during a few days of tough hiking. —Sean McCoy
The Gear: Vasque Arrowhead UltraDry
Where To Test It: Snowy forests, soggy fall swamps and winter outings.
Who’s It For: Those who don’t stop hiking and exploring when fall colors fade to the white blanket of winter; seems like a good choice for snowshoes.
Boring But Important: The laces of the Arrowhead are protected by a zip-close shroud that shields the gussets from ice, snow and water. To put the boots on takes a minute or two; they are in no way slip-ons! The fit runs a little narrow.
Important Specs: Weight: 2lbs 12oz (1256g). The boot is designed around Vasque’s trail running Perpetuum Last with a midsole of molded EVA and a TPU shank. Insulation comes from Thinsulate and a reflective lining. The asymmetrically-zipped boot top covers a single-pull Kevlar lace system designed for snag-free operation with snowshoes. The shoes are waterproof thanks to Vasque’s proprietary UltraDry waterproof/breathable membrane.
Made In: China
Killer! These boots are both light and moderately warm, a tough combination to find. Thanks to a laminate layer, they are also waterproof and breathable.
Flaw: On extremely steep terrain, my foot sometimes moved around inside the boot, putting pressure on the tips of my toes or side of my foot. Not intended for serious mountaineering, they aren’t crampon compatible.
First Impressions: This is a nice all-around winter boot for long distance hiking or snowshoeing. A little stiffness in the upper that pressed in on the sides of my feet was a little off-putting at first but improved as the boots broke in. The Arrowheads are not intended for mountaineering or alpine climbing.
Who Should Buy It: People looking for a good all-around winter boot for logging long miles in cool to cold weather.
Contact Brand/More Beta: Vasque
—Sean McCoy is a contributing editor. Our “First Look” column highlights new gear arrivals at GearJunkie.com. Photos © Monopoint Media LLC