Columbia Bugaboot Review: Worth Buying or No?

Columbia Sportswear is a well-known outdoor gear brand that was founded way back in 1938. It remains a leader in outdoor gear, with these apparel lines being particularly well-known and popular.

They might not be considered as prestigious as expensive, high-end outdoor clothing brands but you can count on them to reliably produce tough gear that is going to last. While the company dabbles a little in all types of apparel, its footwear is quite impressive.

Good winter boots should be a combination of warm, comfortable, durable, and built to last. Columbia’s Bugaboot is an excellent example of a great all-around cold-weather boot. It has the look of a classic duck boot, the strength of full-grain leather, and the latest technology to keep your toes toasty.

If you’re a leather lover and looking for a good pair of winter boots that can handle some abuse, the Bugaboot should be on your list to try out.

Specs and Features of the Bugaboot

Before delving into why you may want these boots, here are the details on construction you’ll want to consider.

First off, the very basics include:

  • Lace-up style insulated winter/cold weather/snow boot
  • Available in men’s sizes from 7 to 17, with half sizes up to 11.5
  • Two-color options – Grizzly Bear/Collegiate Blue and Black/Black
  • The average weight of roughly 2 lbs 10 oz for a pair
  • Boot height of 6″ with a heel height of 1 ½”

It’s worth noting that women who fall into the size range find that these boots are quite comfortable for them. Men with narrow feet also find that these boots work well due to the snug fit.

Materials used in construction:

  • Insulation – 100g Omni-Heat insulation
  • Upper – Full Grain Leather
  • Midsole- Techlite EVA foam
  • Outsole – Omni-Grip non-marking rubber
  • Removable insole
  • Lining – Omni-Heat Reflective
  • Collar and Tongue – Corduroy textile
  • Heavy-duty metal lacing hardware

Main features:

  • Omni-Grip rubber is a seriously high traction, despite the lack of an aggressive look
  • Designed with completely sealed seams for waterproofness
  • Omni-Heat technology uses thermal reflection to “bounce” body heat back and trap it
  • Omni-Heat has the best heat retention of all synthetic footwear insulations
  • Corduroy and full-grain leather looks beautiful and is tough
  • Bugaboot tongues are gusseted to keep out water, snow, and debris
  • Cushioned insole and midsole offer plenty of shock absorption

The Bugaboot may look like a traditional winter duck boot but there is a lot more going on in its construction than meets the eye. If you like the look of more understated boots, these workhorses will give you the best of both worlds.

Advantages of the Bugaboot

Based on the feature list it’s easy to see why the Bugaboot is such a well-liked and popular boot. There are 3 major advantages to this model. They are:

  • Water- and Cold-Resistant
  • Overall Very Durable Construction
  • Comfortable and Very Warm

Highly Durable: Being a full-grain leather and having sealed seams, you’d have a tough time getting your feet wet in these boots. The rubber is incredibly resistant to punctures and the boot is high enough that you’ll be fairly well protected from snow falling into the boot.

Some people think leather requires more care than completely synthetic boots but the Bugaboot is surprisingly easy to care for. Applying a quality leather condition before each winter season is enough to keep these looking and feeling great.

Smart Insulation: The Omni-Heat insulation and lining help to trap in your body heat by reflecting it back to your feet by 20%. The cuff and tongue design help with this as well. Columbia states that this insulation is the best synthetic insulation (for footwear) on the market. It is surprisingly warm, especially paired with the right socks.

Breathable: Despite being a full-grain leather boot, the Bugaboot is quite breathable compared to, say, a nubuck leather insulated boot. You’re not going to want to wear these in warm weather but once things start getting a little chilly, you can wear them comfortably. For maximum breathability, wear a wicking sock with these boots. No cotton!

Very Comfortable: Comfort-wise, the Bugaboot is excellent. The Omni-Heat technology is going to keep you warm while the cushioned insole will keep your feet from getting sore.

This insole is also removable which is great for people who already have a favorite insole they like to wear in their boots. The midsole also keeps your feet, ankles, and legs from feeling jarred while traversing difficult terrain.

The special Techlite technology even gives a bit of a spring to your step for maximum energy return.

The tongue and cuff are thick enough to provide some extra warmth and stability. The metal lacing hardware also makes cinching up the boots smooth and comfortable. The lacing extends from the top of the cuff to almost the toe box.

The lack of lacing over the toe box means wearing thicker socks is more comfortable, especially for those who already have wide feet.

Easy to Use & Manipulate: These boots are really just very user-friendly, simple and do exactly what you would expect them too. There are too many winter boots on the market that seem to have some problems with the design. Maybe they are very warm but uncomfortable or vice versa.

The Bugaboot doesn’t have these problems which is why you will find tons of 5-star reviews from all kinds of different users.

Downsides of the Bugaboot

The reviews for the Bugaboot are overwhelmingly positive but there is one drawback. These boots are not comfortable right out of the box and need to be broken in.

Requires Breaking in Period: There is only one downside of the Bugaboot and that has to do with breaking in the boots. If you’ve always been lucky enough to wear synthetic insulated boots that were comfortable right out of the box, you might be disappointed with these.

Since these boots are very durable and made of rigid materials like leather, it’s going to take at least a few days of regular wear before you want to wear these out on a winter hike. The top of the boot is particularly prone to chafing at first but after the shoes start to fit your feet, these boots will feel almost custom to your foot shape.

Watch the Socks: Another consideration is that these boots are true to size on their own so this means if you plan to wear thick socks as most people should do in winter conditions, they could be too snug. For insulated winter boots, you should try a half size bigger, and the same applies to the Bugaboot.

At first, these boots may feel snug, especially around the cuff, but as long as your actual foot doesn’t feel pinched you should be fine.

The Final Lace

Columbia’s Bugaboot are attractive, extremely well-built, and are durable enough to last winter after winter. They feel lighter on the feet than many others and comfortable enough that you’ll enjoy wearing them around town as much as on the trail.

Where to Buy the Bugaboot- Bugaboot Discounts

Amazon: These boots originally retailed for $150 but you can often find them on sale for $50-$60 less as of this writing.

Columbia Website: If you’ve found that the original Bugaboot isn’t the right choice for you, check out the new models in Columbia’s Bugaboot lineup available here. There are plenty of options in the Bugaboot line that will meet and exceed your expectations.

Still Stuck? Read more on how to find the right hiking boots.

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