I’ve been bragging a lot lately about the view from my new “office” in Dillon, Colorado. Now that the Live Outside and Play van is parked for the winter, I (Ben, one-half of the Live Outside and Play road team) spend my days high off of the ground, crampons strapped to my feet, in towers made of solid ice with a breathtaking view of the Gore Range. I recently joined the build crew for the Dillon Ice Castle. It’s a strange gig that I’m starting to love despite the hard work and long hours that regularly leave me covered in water and ice until late into the winter night. I also shovel snow as a second job and usually work both jobs on the same day. My friends fondly refer to me as a snow relocation specialist. It’s not uncommon for me to be outside, in the cold, and on my feet for up to 15 hours at a time. Going into days like that unprepared is a recipe for a miserable time that would have any employee of the outdoor industry running back to a warm cubicle where you can bet Janet from accounting will be waiting for the TPS reports.
Working outdoors during the wintertime in the Colorado Rockies is a rewarding experience but it takes a certain type of individual and some solid gear. During my first week on the job, I was wearing an old pair of “waterproof” leather backpacking boots that promised to keep my feet warm and dry. They did a fairly good job, until one day, they didn’t. Water inevitably soaked through the leather uppers and my feet started to freeze. To this day I have little feeling in both of my big toes. Frostbite, even frostnip, is no joke. This experience served as a wake-up call and sent me on a search for the ultimate wintertime, waterproof boot that would be comfortable enough to wear all day, durable enough to hold up on the job site, and warm and dry enough to keep my feet safe from the elements. My search led me to Bogs’ Bozeman Mid Men’s Insulated Winter Boots.
The best gear is the kind that you don’t even notice when you’re using it. If you’re not thinking about it, the gear is doing its job. Now, I can spend twelve hours on the job and my feet are the least of my worries. The Bozeman Mid Men’s Insulated Winter Boots are made with a seamless construction ensuring that they are 100 percent waterproof. They also come with a comfort rating of -72 degrees making them some of the warmest boots on the market. When you look at the Bozemans they look like a simple rubber boot, but after giving them a test run in some rather extreme conditions, it’s clear that these boots were built with purpose.
Even if you don’t work outside the Bozeman Mid Men’s Insulated Winter Boots are an excellent choice for anyone looking for a warm snow boot to wear while walking the dog or shoveling snow. They will also come in handy during the spring mud season before the high country trails dry out for the summer.
Pros: These boots are warm and dry. Plain and simple. With a comfort rating of -72 degrees Fahrenheit and a design made with seamless construction, these boots are guaranteed to keep the moisture out and the warmth in. Speaking of moisture, they come lined with EveryDry and Bogs Max-Wick to evaporate sweat and keep your socks dry even in warmer conditions. They absorb shock very well which is important to me when I’m on the job. Sometimes the only way to get down from an ice tower during a build is to jump. The Bozemans ensure a comfortable landing every time and they stay light underfoot even after long days of standing. They are a breeze to put on and take off. There is a little rubber ledge on the outside of the boot above the heal that makes them super easy to slip off when you’re in a hurry. For their size, they are surprisingly lightweight! If you prefer a taller boot you can also take a look at the Bozeman TALL which gives you three extra inches of leg coverage. These boots are roughly 30 percent lighter than comparable boots on the market and they are more durable. Lastly, for every purchase, BOGS will donate 2 percent to outdoor education. Their goal is to provide scholarships and grants to allow all kids to grow and learn in nature.
Cons: These boots are designed to be very warm, and as a result, they are large and can feel a little clunky at times. The upper section of the boot is too large for me to wear both pairs of gaiters that I own. I suspect this would be the case for most gaiters on the market as well. The Bozemans are pretty tall, which negates the need for gaiters in most circumstances, but in my line of work, I’d prefer to have gaiters preventing snow from falling down into my boots, which has happened on a few occasions. The sole on this boot is also pretty rigid and the upper is softer. The Bozeman’s aren’t ideal for donning strap-on crampons, but you can still get them on.
Where I took it: On the job at the Dillon Ice Castle build site and shoveling snow all over Summit County, CO.