Vasque Women’s Pow Pow UltraDry Boot Review
Cold feet while snowshoeing or winter hiking are a thing of the past, thanks to the Pow Pow UltraDry Winter Boot by Vasque. The Pow Pow’s feature not only a waterproof UltraDry lining, which will keep snow and sleet out, but also feature 400 grams of Thinsulate synthetic insulation. Thinsulate is an excellent source of insulation because it is not bulky and keep you warm even when it is not 100% dry. For those of you unfamiliar with insulation values, products that contain Thinsulate, the amount used is measured by the weight of Thinsulate incorporated into the garment or shoe, given in grams. Therefore, boots on the market range from 100 to 1,000 grams; the higher the number, the warmer the boot should be due to the additional insulation. The Pow Pow’s utilize 400 grams of Thinsulate, which is inline with other boots on the market geared towards being active in the outdoors. You don’t want too much insulation (1,000 grams) if you are in more moderate winter temperatures, as it may cause your feet to sweat early on and then chill/freeze after you stop the activity.
The amount of insulation in these boots seemed just about right as they kept my feet plenty warm, but allowed the boots to feel and perform like a hiking boot rater than a large-clumsy snow boot. To add to the warmth factor, the Pow Pow’s also feature faux Shearling lining at the top, around the ankles, to keep the heat you may generate inside the boot. There is no warmth rating on these boots and this is a highly subjective area as it is difficult to test this feature due to variability–with that said I was comfortable during active pursuits with temperatures as low as 0-10F.
The Pow Pow boots feel like a hiking boot with insulation, rather than a winter boot trying to mask as a hiking boot. I found that the boots offered a comfortable foot bed, a smaller heel cup–specific for women, and were not overly wide. I ordered the same size of boots that I would typically wear for summer hiking and found them to be true to size. These boots also took no time to break in, which is a big bonus in my book. On day one I put in about 8-10 miles and did not develop any hot spots or blisters. The boots have a higher rise at 9 inches which was great as it helped to keep the snow out when you find yourself post-holing or in deep snow. These boots are softer than a typical hiker, so the added height didn’t feel restrictive either. The Pow Pow’s do feature a lace up design, which helps you get a snug fit, but is a bit time consuming if you are looking for a boot to just slip on and off.
The Pow Pow’s feature a sticky rubber outsole that is a bit beefier than standard hiking boots. This outsole provided adequate traction on flat packed snow, however I felt that they lacked a bit with traction on inclines and declines. Fortunately, Yak Traks or any other traction devices can fit on these boots to offer a bit more control when the conditions warrant it. These boots also worked well with the two snowshoes that I own for deeper snow conditions.
As for styling, the Pow Pow’s feature waterproof coated leather that is available in three different colors: brown, black, and gray. My husband seems to think that they are probably the most unattractive hikers that I own, but I didn’t really mind the plane styling. I tested out the Turkish Coffe/Rumba Red combination, think brown, and thought they didn’t look to shabby with the pantlegs pulled down when worn with hiking pants or soft shell winter pants. They do look a bit burly if worn with tighter fitting pants or if you choose to wear with jeans.
Overall, I really enjoyed Vasque’s Pow Pow UltraDry Boots on my testing days and look forward to more hikes in the Colorado high country this winter. With a MSRP of $140, this is a fare price tag for warm toes all winter long!