Columbia Newton Ridge Plus II Suede Waterproof
This is a good budget hiking boot. It is waterproof and durable, but not very breathable or supportive.
- water-repellent exterior
- not breathable
- not great support
- low height
Water Properties: Waterproof, with water-repellent leather
These boots are advertised as waterproof, and they are. I have worn them through streams, as well as placed them in a bathtub with several inches of water, and they haven't let any through. The leather is also hydrophobic, even while underwater. Because of this feature, the leather gets wet very slowly, and dries fast.
The water resistance is long lasting too; it lasted a year before one small spot started wetting out and I decided to retreat it. It is very easy to retreat (Nikwax makes products specifically for leather boots). For some reason, these boots feel more quick-drying than my mixed Gore-Tex/leather shoes (Vasque Breeze GTX). Of course, if these boots became soaked from the inside, I imagine that the membrane and leather would take extremely long to dry. I've never done this though, so I may be wrong.
Breathability: Not great breathability.
The boot is not very breathable. Whenever I wear them, my foot feels damp after taking them off. However, this has never caused blisters or made me feel cold, so I don't consider this a huge tradeoff. Besides, a shoe made with suede and a budget WPB membrane is bound to have breathability issues.
Durability: I haven't noticed any major issues.
I've worn mine for at least a year and I haven't had issues. Suede is a durable material, and whatever rubber the sole is made of has worked adequately. No stitching has come undone yet. As a side note, being leather, these boots are essentially spark proof (in the leather parts). I used mine for welding once and they did not suffer any (non-cosmetic) damage. These shoes would probably be less vulnerable to sparks from a campfire than synthetic shoes.
Support/Protection: I haven't rolled my ankle yet!
Due to my lack of experience with hiking boots, I can't really say how supportive it is compared to a "standard" hiking boot. There is a tough, rigid shank that goes up most of the heel. The sides of the heel are not covered by the shank, and are thus fairly flexible.
The leather on the toe feels much stiffer, which protects from toe-stubbing. The foam is adequate. I have mild plantar fascitis, so I occasionally feel uncomfortable in any shoe, even a sneaker. Therefore, I can't say whether my occasional feelings of discomfort are due to my feet or the shoe. I will say that these boots are more padded than my Vasque Breezes.
Grip: Good Grip
I've never had any issues with the grip on these shoes. They work very well in the dirt and mud that most of my hiking takes place in. They also work well on slippery rock. When I've taken them on the icy-muddy Minnesota trails in spring, they've done decent. I don't think I've fallen while wearing these boots yet.
Ease of Use: Simple and easy to use.
The Newton Ridges have no moving parts apart from the laces. The laces are standard.
Fit: Fit as expected.
They fit my size 10.5 feet well.
I haven't used any hiking footwear other than these and my Vasque Breezes. I've used these boots on at least 5 backpacking trips and at least 20 day hikes. They've been my primary hiking footwear for two years, in the Appalachians as well as shoulder season Minnesota and upstate New York.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: bought from Amazon
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