REVIEW: Vasque Coldspark UltraDry Winter Hiking Boots
With winter just around he corner it’s time to start collecting and organizing the gear that will keep us warm and dry on our cold weather outings. That starts with selecting a proper pair of boots that are comfortable to wear, offer good traction, and provide excellent insulation and waterproofing. That is an apt description of the Vasque Coldspark UltraDry, a surprisingly lightweight boot that was built specifically with winter hiking in mind.
Fit (4) ★★★★
Vasque is known for making boots that are somewhat form-fitting, which often leads to excellent agility and responsiveness on the trail. The Coldspark has a similar design, although the interior of the boot is slightly more spacious than some of the company’s other models. This additional space allows for a thicker sock on cold winter hikes, while still maintaining an athletic look and feel. The size 11 boots that I tested fit true to size, although they were somewhat narrow. The only knock on the Coldspark in terms of fit is that Vasque doesn’t appear to offer them in wide sizes, which would dramatically impact how they feel for anyone who normally needs a wide shoe.
Comfort (5) ★★★★★
If you’re looking for a comfortable boot to wear during winter hikes, there is a good chance the Coldspark UltraDry is what you’re after. The boot requires a very minimal break-in time before it just feels natural on the foot, allowing you to hike for hours and still have fresh-feeling feet. Much of that comes from the fact that the Coldspark is very lightweight, especially for footwear meant for use in the cold and snow. Add in good cushioning and protection on the trail, and you have a boot that will happily keep you moving along on those winder outings.
Warmth (3) ★★★
The Coldspark uses a lightweight, reflective insulation to provide warmth for the foot without the boot becoming overly large or bulky. For the most part, this approach works nicely—provided you’re on the move. But if you stop to take a break , you may find your feet getting a little chillier while standing in the snow. Because this boot was designed to go light and fast on the trail, it performs best when you’re doing just that. This wouldn’t be my first choice in winter footwear for activities that require more standing around however.
Waterproofing (5) ★★★★★
Vasque used its own proprietary UltraDry waterproofing system to keep our feet warmer and drier in the winter. Throughout our testing, the boots performed exceptionally well in this category, keeping moisture at bay at all times. Better still, the waterproof membrane and reflective insulation do a fine job of allowing excess warmth and moisture to escape, which is also crucial for keeping your feet dry. Beyond using these boots in the snow, they have also been tested while crossing small streams as well, with the UltraDry lining performing very well under those circumstances too.
Overall (4) ★★★★
Perfect for active winter pursuits—such as hiking and snowshoeing—the Vasque Coldspark UltraDry is an outstanding boot in terms of comfort, weight, and waterproofing. Warmth could be an issue if you find yourself standing around a lot, but when on the move the shoe performs very well. Traction is good on snow and wet surfaces, but you may want to add microspikes or crampons when encountering ice. Priced at just $149.99, these boots are a bargain too, making them easy to recommend for anyone looking for an agile and fast option for their winter adventures.
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