Last year I finally bought myself a pair of BOGS class high handle boots. I had coveted a pair for as long as I can remember. This is because I really wanted a pair of easy to put on, no fuss, no extra buckles and laces super warm winter boots. They seemed to fit the bill and didn’t look like 90% of the ridiculous excuses for women’s winter boots out there, that made me wonder if their manufacturer’s had ever spent a week in the life of Canadian Mom in the middle of winter with her kids.
So when I came across a good sale on them, I walked out of the store with pair all excited to see if they would live up to the hype. Well, it’s been over a year since I bought them and let me tell you I had really gotten a chance to use them as last winter was the worst winter we’ve had on record in 50 years. Seeing as our winter is most likely around the corner (don’t hate the messenger, you know it’s true) I thought it was high time I share my thoughts on them.
I should preface the following by mentioning that is NOT a sponsored post. BOGS did not send me a pair of boots to test out. They never asked me to write about my experience. I am however that person that always searches for product reviews on products I am interested in buying, so whenever I get a chance to do a product review, it’s something I really enjoy writing about because I know I appreciate it when others write them. And for the record even if this was a sponsored post, I still would say the same things I am about to say. I may be a blogger, but I am also a consumer and at the end of the day, I want to get good value for my money just as much as you do.
So onto the boots.
My pair are women’s BOGS Classic High Handle Boots. That shot was taken last year around the time of our first snowfall.
Here are the liner notes about them directly from the BOGS website:
- 100% Waterproof
- Natural hand-lasted rubber and a four way stretch inner bootie
- Constructed with 7mm waterproof Neo-Tech insulation
- Non-slip, non-marking and self-cleaning outsole
- Aegis antimicrobial odor protection insole
- Easy-on pull handles
- Comfort rated from temperate to -40˚F or sub-zero conditions
- Height: 15”
- Circumference at calf 15″
- Weight 3lbs per pair
- Available in sizes 6-12
This is what my pair currently look like.
Out of all of the boots in my closet, including my beloved Kamik rain boots that I reviewed and wear endlessly in the Spring, these boots were undeniably the pair that I turned to the most during Fall and on and off during Winter.
They have been on pumpkin farms in muddy and dirt filled puddles, in deep ponds of melted brown icy slush at grocery store parking lots, on playgrounds full of gravel and sand and on bumpy terrains at different outdoor venues and parks. They are waterproof and really well made. And if you look at them above, they are in mint condition after what I’ve put them through. No rips, no tears, no leaks, no cracked soles. Nothing. I also found that they are pretty true to size. I wear a size 10 in most winter boots and these are a 10.
I look forward to wearing them this year. They have become my “go to” boot because I absolutely love how easy they are to put and off. The handle grip. Best thing ever.
I mean I have kids. Getting kids out the door in the morning to school is hard. Getting kids out the door during winter to school is a theatrical production. I do not have the time or patience to sit there and do up row upon row of laces and then deal with the Oscar winning performance of my kids getting their snowsuits on. I need simple and easy. I need boots that I slide on that I can go shovel the snow off the driveway and the car for half an hour just to get my kids into the car to get to school. These did the trick. Most days.
But not all of the days.
This is where you scratch your head and go “Hang on, she just said she loves her boots, what do you mean most days?”
Well it all changed when we had a real snowfall. See, if you live in a cold climate, be it Canada or elsewhere, you know what a real winter is. There is no joking around when it comes to our winter. There are layers of clothing, scarves and the complete terrifying panic that you suffer when your backup pair of winter gloves rips in January because you know you’re not going to find a new pair anywhere without spending $50 in Shipping and Handling fees from a store online.
This is me during an average winter outing. You can’t even see the thermal layers underneath my North Face parka (which needs its own post too).
Back to the real snowfall.
We were at an outdoor Christmas event in our community towards the end of November and it was a really cold snow night. I naturally wore my BOGS as I had been wearing them from October to November and was so far very happy with how they performed.
To make a long story short, after a mere two hours outside in the festival waiting for my kids to drink their hot chocolate and meet Santa, by the time we got back home my feet were purple and frozen. I was wearing what I always wear under my winter clothing, a pair of long johns, my knee socks and my wool work socks and the cold just penetrated the soles of my feet and my toes and I was like “Oh no, not my BOGS.”
I thought maybe it was my socks. But it wasn’t. The colder the days got, the less helpful the boots were. Now, on days where there was packing snow and when I wasn’t outside for a long time, they were fine. But on the deep cold days where the sidewalks were sheets of ice and your face would freeze in seconds, I couldn’t wear them. They’re supposed to be rated to keep you warm up to -40 but I can’t even imagine how that is possible. I also discovered another issue.
The whole non slip sole. It slips. A lot.
I remember very clearly the night the ice storm that hit us last December where my husband wound up pulling our kids in a sled over to our friends home because everything was a sheet of ice.
I also remember me trying to take several steps outside my house in my BOGS and not being able to even stand on the ice without falling. Even when I managed to step off of my front porch onto the heaping piles of icy snow on our front lawn thinking that would help me out, they did not grip properly at all. My husbands winter boots worked fine. So I had to hold the side of our home and make my way back indoors, go change into my alternate pair of winter boots and then I was able to go back outside and walk. Ice storm aside, even after it passed, any time there was an icy day during the winter and the sidewalks had ice on them, I couldn’t wear my BOGS that day because they just caused me to slip. And by slip I mean fall on my ass.
After reading this you’re probably asking yourself two things:
1) Would I still recommend my BOGS?
2) What boots do I wear during the coldest days?
Yes, I do recommend the BOGS. I still really like them as a Fall, not super cold day of Winter boot. They’re great errand boots because they don’t cause your feet to overheat inside a store after you come in from the cold.
But I wouldn’t recommend them as a stand alone winter boot if you are looking to purchase them solely as a winter boot. I think if BOGS offered boot liners it would help the whole frozen foot issue immensely. That’s what I wound up doing with mine on some of the colder days. I bought some generic sock style fleece liners and felt insoles and that helped my feet to retain some heat. It’s definitely something I hope BOGS releases in the future to compliment their boots as I think it would be a great addition. The non slip sole on the other hand, that is a disappointment. I really thought they would have a better grip and would love to see this part improved.
The boots I wear during the brutal harsh icy sidewalk winter days, are a pair of Vintage (fancy way of saying old) Sorel Snowlion Boots that I rescued from Value Village for $17. They are the original ones from back in the day when SOREL still made their boots in Canada. When I found them they looked like they were run over by salt truck but I tossed them into washing machine, cleaned everything and now they look and function as good as new.
I’ve walked on ponds that have frozen over with these and I have never had any issues with the grips on the soles. They are like Kryptonite to the icy roads. I would like to make clear that I cannot speak for the current Sorel boots on the market sold in various stores as those ones are no longer Made in Canada and from the reviews I’ve read, people have varying opinions on their performance since then.
I also want to add that BOGS makes winter boots for kids and I have several friends who buy them for their kids every year and are extremely devoted to them. Some have mentioned that their kids have said they’re the best boots they have ever owned and have made even their pickiest kids happy and kept their feet warm. The kids line is full of great colours and patterns that they can choose from. Unless you’re my older daughter, who insists that she wants a pair of solid black BOGS just like I have.
But, as there is always a but, we have had one of our friends have a bad experience where both their daughters feet froze (ironically the same night of the Christmas festival – I told you, it was cold that night) and they contacted BOGS to complain about the boots and I believe that BOGS sent them a new pair for each of their kids.
This is because BOGS have a guarantee that if you are not happy with your boots, you can return them for a replacement or a refund. Just contact their Customer Service through their website. And this is something they really stand behind.
If I had to buy them over again I would because I do enjoy them and they fit my lifestyle. Living in a four season climate, I know all too well of the ridiculousness of Canadian weather where one day you’re wearing flip flops and shorts and the next week you’re in winter boots. I have yet to find a shoe or boot that can truly take me throughout an entire season and all its unexpected elements.
Like today for example, I wore flip flops. There are pumpkins and Halloween decorations in stores. I’ll bet by the time I publish this post snowflakes will hit our roof top. So if you live in a “Canadian” winter style climate, go get your winter gear now, so that in January you’re not panicking.
Because that ripped glove story, that was my last January. On that note, anyone have some glove recommendations?