Like so many outdoor enthusiasts along the Front Range of Colorado, I’ve been cursed by the snow gods this season. And I mean seriously cursed. When I’m home in the Boulder area, there’s no snow. When I travel to winter havens like Aspen and Lake Tahoe, the snow either just melted or hasn’t arrived yet. It’s always snowing somewhere, just never where I happen to be, which has made testing out Vasque’s beautifully-designed, new Pow Pow III, UD Women’s Hiking Boots an extremely difficult task. It seems like I’ve brought snow drought and sadness to each and every mountain community that I’ve traveled to with the boots over the past few months. But on a recent trip to Grand County, Colorado, I finally found some snow. Not amazing snow, by any means, but enough snow to lace up the boots and tromp around in for a few days. After months of (not-so) patiently waiting to use these boots, I’m glad I finally got the chance. They cover all of the bases when it comes to a proper pair of functional winter outdoor footwear, and they’re comfortable to boot. From the insanely cushiony footbed, to the UltraDry waterproofing system and the super-grippy traction, Vasque’s Pow Pow IIIs really are a step above the rest.
Pros: So. Comfortable. The Dual Density EVA footbed (an injection molded dual insole) creates a level of soft cushioning that is hard to come by in winter footwear. And unlike most winter boots, the Pow Pow IIIs are very flexible and mold to your needs. Weighing in at just 2 lbs and 13 ounces, these boots are lightweight, yet versatile — providing stability when needed while still allowing a broad range of movement to stay agile on the trail. And perhaps the best feature for this klutzy outdoor enthusiast is the super grippy outsole. Made with Vasque’s ColdHold Compound technology, the Pow Pow IIIs are the kind of grippy that you only fully understand when you’re walking on slick patches of ice for extended periods of time. Rounding out the comfortable/grippy/warmth trifecta that any good winter boot should have, is 400 grams of Thinsulate Ultra Insulation that combined with a merino wool liner at the top of the boot, and an on-point exterior UltraDry Waterproofing System, creates a comfortable level of warmth, and a very dry and cozy foot.
Cons: Although durable, the laces on the Pow Pow IIIs could stand to be a little longer. When I had the boots all laced up around a snug pair of thick wool socks, I wasn’t able to lace the boots up to the top, leaving room in the top of the boot for some rouge snow to sneak in during some deep, powdery sections of the trail. And because there wasn’t enough shoelace to securely lace the boots all of the way up to the top, it caused the thick laces to constantly come loose and undone, with no way to firmly fasten the laces for good.
Where We Took It: Snowshoeing, ice fishing and exploring around Rocky Mountain National Park and Grand County, Colorado.