Saturday, December 04, 2010

Put on your shitkickers

Always liked that tune...

What brings it to mind at the moment though, is the snow around here.

We've had about three feet of snow in the last three weeks; and we're expecting another 12-15 or so feet over this winter (yes, it's a heavy winter. La Nina etc...).

As it happens, my existing hiking boots have proved entirely inadequate to the task, and I didn't have any dedicated snow boots.

Until this week that is:

Outdoor Outfitters had a special sale going on, and I was able to pick up a pair of Wolverine Big Skys, normally $200, for just $99. Vibram ice and snow sole (re-solable, though I PROFOUNDLY hope I never have to wear them enough for that), 1000g thinsulate, composite reinforced toe, and DAMN comfy.

Even better, it was a buy one get one one half off sale, and I managed to pick up a pair of clearance Merrell Shivers, normally $90, on sale for $69, then half price off, so $34.50:

Merrell is another brand of Wolverines, and are similar in quality. The shiver has nother Vibram Ice and Snow sole, polartec, and is fully waterproof. So I have something for the slightly less deep snow in say, my driveway AFTER being plowed. 

So, I stand before you, a well shod man.

Update: Og asked me to do a little comparison with my favorite boot brand, Danners.

Specifically, he asked how I thought they compared to the Danner Canadians; having previously taken my recommendation (still in effect) for Danner boots for general use.

I'll never say anything bad against Danners; they're great boots. I've been wearing them since the day AFTER basic. I own a pair right now (uninsulated though). I will recommend Danners (also Corcorans, Rockies, and Hi-Tecs; but Danner are my favorite) for anyone who has to live in boots all day every day.


The Canadians cost twice as much as the Wolverines, by MSRP, and about the same differential online at discount.

Admittedly, the Canadians are a 10" boot vs an 8" boot for the Wolverines; but they also have considerably less insulation, especially in the shank. Also they're a plain toe, rather than a composite toebox.

The Danners are full leather, while the Wolverines have Gore-Tex and ballistic nylon panels in the shank. The leather is likely to be tougher, while the Gore-Tex is going to breathe better; and if you live or work in an environment where mold or biologicals are an issue, the nylon is easier to disinfect.

I think a closer comparison would be the Danner 42655 Elk Ridge GTX Boots. They're nearly identical to the Wolverines, except they don't have the composite reinforced toebox (which I like for ATVing, hunting, cutting wood etc...). They're also only a few bucks more than the Wolverines, v.s double.

I think having a reinforced toebox is a good idea, but I don't believe in steelcaps anynmore; having seen more than one unintentional amputation because of them. Composite reinforcement is the best compromise as far as I'm concerned.

The toecap doesn't actually cut the toe off; but it does kill the toe, by trapping it in the boot with no circulation. Especially in extreme cold, way out in the woods, or otherwise far from medical care.

I'd rather have steel toes on a construction site close to a major city, than not have them; but I would never wear them in preference to composite toe reinforcement, nor would I wear them anyplace I couldn't get them cut off me and receive medical attention, within a few minutes.

For a similar Danner with a composite toebox, check out the Vandal GTX. They're a little more expensive than the Wolverines, and a little less insulated; but they also have a Vibram sole.

Between the sole, and the composite toebox; both the Wolverines, and the Vandals, are oil resistant and electrical hazard certified, in addition to being great for ice, snow, and extreme cold.

Also, I prefer Vibram soles, especially their ice and snow soles, to Danners "Bob" sole (which is on both the Canadian and the Elk Ridge).

I still think Danners duty boot soles are the best though, unless your command authorizes Rockies or Hi-Tecs. Most commands authorize Danners and Corcorans, but only a few allow Rockies or Hi-Tecs; which are generally more comfortable, but don't offer as much support, and don't last as long under extreme use. Danner also offers a very nice insulated duty boot (as does Rocky).

I think, overall the Danner Canadians are going to be more durable and last longer, but I don't think they're going to last twice as long; and I'm pretty sure the Wolverines are going to be more comfortable to wear for 16 hours. As for the Elk Ridge or the Vandal, I'm guessing they'll perform pretty much identically to the Wolverines, only the Danners are a little more expensive.

Also, I know a lot of guys in Minnesota, and yeah anecdotes don't equal data, but they absolutely swear by Wolverines... and let's just say they know something about cold and snow.