Last Updated: March 4, 2021

Columbia Bugaboot Plus IV Review

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Columbia Bugaboot Plus IV

The Columbia Bugaboot Plus IV boots are purpose-built for colder climates. Not only are they highly water-resistant and offer a great warmth-to-weight ratio, but the sturdy upper combined with Techlite technology in the midsole means that you'll feel sure-footed as you tackle even the toughest of terrain. On top of that, they offer unparalleled traction, making them the perfect après ski or winter hiking boots. View Latest Deal

Columbia is a big name in the outdoor gear industry – whether it’s hiking, fishing, trail running, or skiing that gets you going, it’s got you covered. Columbia has been producing products since way back in 1938 and, since then, its strived to make the outdoors accessible to everyone through its affordable and versatile gear. On top of that, Columbia’s responsible and sustainable practices are further testimony to its trustworthy nature.

…And if there’s one piece of outdoor gear you want to trust, it’s got to be a sturdy pair of winter boots – after all, there’s nothing worse than getting cold soggy feet halfway through a hike. Columbia’s Bugaboot Plus IV Omni-Heat winter boots are some of the most popular boots currently on the market and they’re available for men, women, and even kids, so we can all share the love.

Here, we’re going to delve a little deeper into what these boots are made of so that you can decide if they’re the right choice for your winter explorations.

Pros

  • Michelin outsole provides incredible traction on sippy surfaces
  • Great warmth-to-weight ratio
  • Perfect for all-round winter use (day-today, hiking, après ski)
  • Toe hook for gaiter attachment

Cons

  • Inner soles are fairly flat-footed
  • Rigid leather uppers need breaking in
  • Not fully waterproof (but not far off!)

Product Information

  • Materials:
  • Upper: Leather / Nylon
  • Midsole: Techlite™ EVA
  • Outsole: Michelin® Rubber
  • Insulation: 200g Synthetic
  • Boot Shaft Height: 17 cm (men’s); 16 (women’s)
  • Weight: 24.8 oz / 701g (men’s size 9, 1/2 pair); 20.5 oz / 581g (women’s size 7, 1/2 pair)
  • Cold Temperature: Firm grip to -30°C/-22°F
  • Uses: Après ski, winter hikes

Materials

Columbia Men's Bugaboot Plus IV Omni-Heat Snow Boot, Black, Phoenix Blue, 10

The Columbia Bugaboot Plus IV boots were designed for winter use, but what are they actually made of? And will they stand up to the test of time?

You’ve probably heard of Michellin rubber already – it’s been used on tyres for decades. And what’s one thing that tyres and boots should always have in common? Great grip! And that’s why Columbia has innovatively used premium Michelin® Rubber for construction of the Columbia Bugaboot outsoles. On top of that, it’s also super flexible and is also resistant to abrasions, making for one durable sole.

The upper portions of the boots are constructed from a combination of robust leather, hardy nylon, and some webbing to ensure durability without excessive weight.

Like many shoes built to tackle tough terrain, the midsoles (the areas between the upper and the outer part of the sole that touches the ground, aka the outsole) are made of Techlite™ EVA rubber. This cushions your foot from impacts and lets your foot rest on a steady surface, helping to increase overall stability.

Finally, these boots have 200g of synthetic insulation plus an Omni-Heat™ reflective lining to keep your toes toasty – but more on that later.

Clearly, these boots are purpose-built and meant to last, with a mixture of carefully selected, high-end materials used for each section – way to go Columbia!

Water Resistance

Columbia Men's Bugaboot Plus IV Omni-Heat Snow Boot, Black, Phoenix Blue, 10

Advertised for winter use, we weren’t sure how well the Columbia Bugaboot Plus IV Omni-Heat boots would resist water – snow isn’t the same as water, after all.

However, we were pleasantly surprised to find that, although not fully waterproof, the Columbia Bugaboots are highly water resistant. The use of water-resistant nylon and rubber in the upper stops leaks up top, and this section is joined to the sole via sealed seams that are water-impenetrable.

The shaft of the boots is pretty average in height, offering a decent amount of protection, although some splashes might find their way over the top. The main potential for leaks comes from the tongue – if you find yourself wading through water for an extending period this will be your downfall. However, we absolutely love that these boots come with a metal attachment point on the toe for gaiters, which helps to increase the waterproof rating.

Overall, these boots are lacking Columbia’s Omni-Tech waterproof technology, but they’re highly water resistant nonetheless – and you certainly won’t get wet feet from trudging through a bit of snow on the slopes.

Warmth And Comfort

It’s crucial that any winter boot can keep your feet warm and comfortable as you make your way through snow, slush, and icy puddles – so how well do the Bugaboot Plus IV boots perform in these departments?

Warmth

One of the major selling points of the Columbia Bugaboot Plus boots that they’re constructed using Omni-Heat technology – but what does that actually mean?

The Bugaboots are lined with 200g of synthetic insulation, which might not sound like much for a pair of winter boots. But fear not – the Omni-Heat thermal reflective liner essentially ‘reflects’ body heat as it tries to leave the boots and sends it back inside. This means that the body heat you generate while hiking is stored in the insulation and prevented from escaping via the liner, so you don’t need as much insulation in the first place. This is great because you can be sure your toes stay toasty yet the reduced insulation makes the boots surprisingly light for how warm they are.

The ankle is pretty average-size for a boot, so obviously they’ll retain slightly less heat than boots with taller ankles. Overall, it’s refreshing to see a sturdy pair of winter boots that can keep you warm without weighing you down.

Comfort

The medium-sized ankles are great for keeping in warmth and providing support, yet they won’t rub your shins like taller ankles – and the padding around their edges is super comfortable. Plus, Columbia’s Techlite™ technology on the insoles provides excellent protection against tough terrain. Although the rigidity of the uppers is great for support, it can be a little uncomfortable to begin with – it does get better with time, but they probably won’t be the comfiest boots you’ll ever wear.

Our main gripe, however, is the flatness of the foot soles. This might not be a problem if you’re flat-footed yourself, but if you have high arches or want to use these boots for extended hikes, we’d recommended replacing them with ones that offer better contouring to boost your comfort levels – which might not be the end of the world, but it is a bit of a faff.

Another thing to note is that these boots run ever so slightly on the wide side, so if you have narrow feet make sure you wear an extra-thick pair of socks!

Grip

Are you sick and tired of sliding around on icy surfaces? Well, your prayers have finally been answered! Hands down our favorite thing about the Bugaboot Plus IV boots is their incredible traction. The use of Michelin rubber on the outsoles is genius to say the least. Not only do the soles have impressive tread patterns (including deep cuts on the edges for extra grip – just like tyres) but, unlike cheaper models, they retain their grip at temperatures as low as -22°F.

If you hate toppling over and want to stroll around confidently no matter what the terrain – then these are definitely the boots for you!

Value For Money

Often with outdoor gear, you get what you pay for. Columbia is known for producing above-average, affordable gear, but the Bugaboot Plus IV boots really are an exception – for the price, you get high-end materials and tonnes of carefully thought-out design features.

On top of that, the boots themselves are great allrounders, so you won’t waste money buying several pairs of winter boots. The medium height shaft makes them warm enough for shoveling snow yet comfortable enough for hiking, the thin insulation means they won’t weigh you down while you’re making your way off the slopes, and the incredible traction and cushioning in the sole means you can march on all kinds of cool-weather terrain.

If you only want to invest in a single pair of winter boots, then stop searching – you’ve found the ones!

Rating

With an overall rating of 92, the Bugaboot Plus IV really have come out on top. They scored top marks in the materials and traction department thanks to their general durability and innovative rubber soles – we’ve honestly never come across a pair of boots with a grip this impressive!

Sure, they aren’t quite as comfortable or waterproof as boots designed specifically for hiking, so they lost a few marks there, but that’s not surprising seeing as one of their best features is their versatility. In terms of warmth, the Bugaboot Plus IV offer a great warmth-to-weight ratio usually reserved for higher-end brands.

Overall, these make for one impressive pair of all-round winter boots at a surprisingly low price.

Verdict

Although these boots weren’t made for walking, that’s just what they’ll do… and they’ll also help you get around pre-/post-skiing, tackle any icy driveways, and pretty much anything else you might need to do in the winter months.

Sure, you can pay more for some slightly comfier walking boots, but if you want an all-round pair of winter shoes with an outstanding amount of grip and a fantastic warmth-to-weight ratio, then you won’t find better than the Columbia Bugaboot Plus IV.

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