Vasque Snowblime UltraDry
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $119
I was hesitant to try these at first, thinking these would be too heavy and tiresome to wear. Boy, was I wrong!
- Crampon and snowshoe compatable
- Great ankle support
I wanted to do some snow hiking and winter backpacking this year, which meant I needed a pair of boots that were up to the challenge without breaking the bank. I didn't want something too clunky and heavy on my feet, but they needed to be durable, warm, and able to accommodate crampons and snowshoes. Enter the Vasque Snowblime!
Even though I'm on my third pair of Hi-Tec Altitude VI's because I love them so much, I am familiar with Vasque's good reputation and quality, so I decided to try their brand of boots. But I could not locate a store near me that had them, so I had to order them off the web. Now the biggest problem with buying shoes online is finding the correct size and if you get the wrong one, then you have the hassle of returning, trying another size, etc. Even so, I liked everything I read about the Snowblime, so I crossed my fingers and hoped that the 9.5 that I wore in the Hi-tec would fit in the Vasque.
When they finally arrived, I was pleased that the fit was perfect. I tried them on after work, after being on my feet a lot to ensure a true idea of the fit. The boots are heavier and stiffer than I am used to, but a few evenings of wearing them around the house after work and I felt they were ready for the trail.
I wore them last weekend on a snow hike at Mt. Pinos in California. There was a lot of snow, most of it very dry and powdery, but some wet slush where people had used parts of the trail a lot. On the hike in I used the boots without crampons. Vasques advertises them as having good traction in snow and they seemed to be doing the job alright, but I was too nervous about falling down (I can't afford to at my age!) so during my lunch break I put on some Kahtoola Microspikes. After that it was smooth sailing down the trail and no worries about falling.
The waterproofness seemed to work as far as I could tell. I did some off-trail walking to investigate some areas for photos, and the snow was almost to my knees. I hiked for three hours total, stopping a few times in deep snow, and the boots never leaked. Towards the end of the hike I noticed that when I stopped for breaks or to take photos, my toes got a little chilly, which I attribute to slight dampness from sweating rather than leaking. It was nothing uncomfortable, and when I was walking didn't even notice it.
The nubuck leather did get some damp spots, especially where some snow collected around the microspikes attachements on the upper foot, so I think a spray of DWR or something prior to an outing might be helpful. The rubber toe caps and heels make the boot durable and there is good protection and stability from the thermoplastic midfoot shanks, and the EVA midsoles offers just the right amount of cushioning.
I carried a 22 lb. pack on this hike to practice carrying a little weight on snow. These boots gave me excellent support and stability. I am confident that these will work well for long days out in the snow as well as multi-day backpacking trips in snow. After three hours, I didn't really want to take them off! They hug my feet nicely and feel really good. I think these boots and I are going to have a very nice winter together.
If you are looking for a reasonably-priced non-technical snow boot, look no further—these are quite simply the best buy out there.