Once I got past the sticker shock (retail price is $325!), I picked up the User Manual (apparently when boots are this high tech they require their own instruction book!) Inside the footbed are two heat pads that are charged by a USB plug, which can attach to a wall outlet or your computer.
I charged them up, and took along the Bugathermos on multiple snowshoeing trips… so are they worth it?
Best Features of the Columbia Bugathermo Boots
- Warm! This is the first pair of boots I’ve ever worn that have rechargeable heat pads built into the boots. I’ve used Grabber Toe Warmers many times in the past, and while those are definitely the affordable option compared to a $325 pair of boots, they have to be thrown away after each use, can get bulky on winter backpacking and camping trips, and the temperature can’t be regulated. The Bugathermos have 3 settings: High, Medium, and Low. The button is on the outside of the boot, so you can adjust it as you hike.
- Waterproof! The Bugathermo’s are definitely waterproof! My socks and feet definitely stayed dry. The rubber bottom definitely kept moisture out, and the seams are sealed well.
- Comfortable. These boots are heavy (1 pound 11 ounces), yet comfortable. They come up higher on the calf than other winter boots I’ve worn. The heel fits snugly, which is hard to find in some brands. I have a narrow heel, so the snug fit around my wool socks makes the fit quite nice.
What Could Be Improved?
- USB Charger? Really? If I had designed these boots, I would have made them compatible with a car’s cigarette lighter. When I’m out snowshoeing, I definitely don’t have a laptop with me! I always have my car with me at the trail head… so it would be nice if these could be plugged in to be re-charged that way.
- Price! I’m sure the Columbia Bugathermo‘s are expensive to make because of this unique technology, but this is definitely a steep price for most of us hikers to pay for a nice pair of winter boots. They are about the same price as a pair of super high quality mountaineering boots.
If you have the cash to spend, your feet with thank you! Otherwise, a more affordable option are the Kamik Sutton winter boots, which are far less high tech, but will keep your feet dry and relatively warm this winter!