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Hands-on Gear Review
Bogs Classic Ultra Mid Review
Cons: Warmth, traction, some quality control issues
Bottom line: Due to the incredible ease of taking off and putting on, it is our favorite boot for around the house, or town, chores.
The Bogs Classic Ultra Mid has its origins rooted in the pastures and barnyards. Farmers spend a lot of time moving in between mucky ground and slippery surfaces, so there was a need for a boot that could handle these conditions Since most of us are not, in fact, farmers, but do find ourselves wanting warmth, traction, and comfort in a boot to be worn during winter months, this makes for an excellent everyman boot. It excels around the yard, out sledding, or running errands. This is still somewhat of a niche boot, and for the fantastic ease of use and comfort that it offers, it was not quite as warm as some other models. Our Best Buy winner, the Kamik NationPlus, was warmer due to the type of insulation used. That said, there is no other boot that is even remotely close to offering the incredibly easy slip on, slip off versatility of this boot, and so we awarded it our Top Pick for Ease of Use.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Winter Boots for Men of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Bogs Classic Ultra Mid has long been a reviewer favorite, receiving top marks for its ease of use and comfort. We have given this award to the Bogs boots for several years in a row now, and while other models have challenged the Ultra Mid in areas such as water resistance, we love this boot for its overall utility and function.
With 7 mm Neo-Tech neoprene insulation that is blended to create a four-way stretch inner bootie, this boot is a durable improvement to the typical uninsulated galoshes or rain boots used in farm work. While this boot is warm enough for cold winter months, most of our testers felt cold when the temps were well below freezing, despite Bogs claims of comfort down to -40F. This is likely due to the combination of both the rubber and neoprene's inability to allow perspiration to pass through the barrier it creates.
Without a membrane to allow perspiration to pass through, boots can allow the foot to get wet even from in inside. By using neoprene as the insulative material in the Ultra Mid, we find performance similar to a wetsuit made from the same material; warmth is offered despite the insulation being wet, though the material allows the foot to become moist and clammy. There is no doubt this boot is not as warm as the Sorel Caribou or the Kamik NationPlus, but we have also worn it on many long days of shoveling deep snow off of roofs. 5 out of 10 points.
These boots performed admirably in our ice bath test, providing complete waterproofness for the duration of our eight-minute submersion. The hand-lasted rubber outer fully resisted any leakage and kept our socks dry without fail.
Previous reviewers, as well as consumer reviews have hinted at some potential quality control issues in these boots, noting a seam that allows water in. We went into this review concerned about this, but despite thorough testing in the ice bath, did not experience any of the leaking issues noted elsewhere. If for some reason your boots do indeed leak, return them to Bogs as these issues seem to be isolated and not widespread.
Fit and Comfort
We ordered all of our test boots in size 11, and these boots seemed to fit true to size. This model is only available in whole sizes though, so you may find going up or down a half size necessary if you are used to ordering the half size. Bogs hand-lasts these boots, which is the reason for its good fit right out of the box. This is necessary as the rubber outer and neoprene inner bootie will not conform to your foot over time; it will stretch but stay the same shape. Keep this in mind if you try on this boot, and it does not fit your foot well; unlike a leather boot, there is no breaking this boot in. As it was, we felt that for a slip-on model without any laces, we had a secure and comfortable fit without any noticeable heel lift.
Other testers reported a rather loose and sloppy fit, although this was corrected by adding a custom footbed insert. These boots feature easy to grab handles and are readily kicked off at the door when covered in muck or snow. We appreciated having a quality insole included in this boot, which is something other loose-fitting winter boots, such as the Sorel Caribou, omit. The insole gives more cushioning and insulation if you have to spend a lot of time on hard surfaces. We spent a lot of time standing at trailhead parking lots in the winter while testing these boots, chilling after a day of skiing, and having the extra support gave this model an edge in comfort over boots like the Salomon X Ultra Winter CS, which felt flatter overall. 7 out of 10.
Ease of Use
This was hands down the easiest boot to use out of this review roster. With large handles on either side of the boot top that easily accommodate gloved hands, we were able to pull these boots on effortlessly. The smooth neoprene stretch bootie lining the interior of the boot lets thick pile socks slide in without resistance, unlike the softer fabric of the Columbia Bugaboot Plus III Omni-Heat, which required more effort at getting the foot into the boot.
Even with this simple design and quick pull-on system, this competitor fits comfortably enough to walk around town with, thanks to the effort in hand-lasting the rubber outer. This model features a small heel counter on the back to help in kicking the boots off at the door, though we still found it easier to reach down and pull them off with our hands.
The grippy rubber sole is optimized for use on wet surfaces. The bi-directional lugs are rather low profile, which helps eliminate the tracking of mud and snow inside, but the lug pattern is adequate enough to provide positive traction on muddy surfaces as well. Because the lugs are long, running the width of the sole, there are no small or pointy lugs to help engage the sole in packed snow and icy surface conditions.
Although these boots were among our favorites for slipping on to take the shuttle bus up to the ski resort, care needed to be taken to avoid slipping while walking on the icy footpath leading up to the lifts. Not all users will have to deal with snow and ice where they plan on wearing these boots, and many users have reported excellent traction while wearing this model hunting, working in wet and slippery marine environments, and out in mucky pastures. For a genuinely durable sole that will give impressive traction on snowy surfaces, check out the Kamik NationPlus. 6 out of 10 points for traction.
This Bogs model is a great boot for day-to-day life in most temperate regions. From going out sledding in the snow to walking the beach on the Washington Coast, the Classic Ultra Mid is durable enough to be used daily for applications where you need protection and warmth. It's also versatile enough that you can use them for many purposes even if you only pull them out of the closet a few times a year. Like most slip-on boots, we don't recommend them as a hiking boot, and wouldn't wear them snowshoeing.
At $130, this boot is right in the middle of the price range for our winter boot review. While a boot like the Kamik NationPlus, our Best Buy award winner, is noticeably less expensive, we feel that the extra durability and ridiculously easy use of this boot are worth the additional investment. Requiring no care besides adequately drying the interiors out and storing them in a dry place, this boot should last you for a very long time. And thanks to the hand-lasted rubber outer that retains its shape over years of use, there is no worry that it will pack out or lose structure, making it quite a good value. On the other hand, with quality control issues and poor construction that leads to leaks, some buyers may want to think twice before investing that kind of money.
For months on end, our expert reviewers wore our selection of winter boots. While each model received attention, we consistently grabbed the Bogs Classic Ultra Mid. Their ease of use and excellent weatherproofness endeared them to us and they have a special place next to the front door for trips outside when the weather is foul and we do not want to bother with lacing up boots or stressing about leaky seams.
— Ryan Huetter and Andy Wellman
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