Living in northern Utah, a good pair of winter boots is a requirement. We can get a ton of snow and bitter-cold temperatures, and there’s no way you’ll have a good time outside if your feet are freezing. But I got to test out the Vasque Lost 40 boots (available in men’s and women’s versions) and can happily attest to their warmth and performance while trekking in snow.
The Vasque Lost 40 feature:
Removable 7mm wool felt boot liner
200g 3M Thinsulate insulation
Lightweight UltraDry gives 100% waterproof protection
Dual zone lacing allows a more complete fit in the foot & lower leg
Superior underfoot insulation with AeroGel Thermal Barrier
Heel loop for snowshoe strap security
Vibram Overland sole molded in IceTrek compound for grip
I’ve sported the Vasque Lost 40 while walking the dog in the cold around the neighborhood, and hiking on snow-covered trails in the Wasatch. The product description compares them to classic Mukluks, and they certainly do look the part. Wearing them, though, took me back to my childhood. Moon boots were the rage back then, and while the Lost 40 have laces and are actually warm and waterproof, the similarities lie in the fact that they have a soft and flexible upper that goes pretty high up the lower leg. But moon boots fail where the Lost 40 excel with a sturdy, performance sole.
On a recent hike up Neffs Canyon with my little boy riding on my back, I got the ultimate test for these boots. Temperatures were cold in the low 20s. Snow blanketed the trail. And icy patches in high-traffic areas left slick spots. Yet during the hike, my feet never got cold – in fact, my toes, wrapped inside a good pair of wool socks, overheated with the exertion from the hike. Going off-trail, I trudged in deep snow and really appreciated the how far up the calf the boots go. Not once did I wish I had worn a pair of gaiters.
But what REALLY impressed me was the grip on ice. Conditions got super sketchy in some areas that saw sun in the daytime but froze hard overnight. I was worried about slipping and falling with my baby on my back. But the Vibram Overland soles with IceTrek compound worked wonders. I was so impressed that I actually tried to slip on purpose (after putting the baby down of course) and could not. The soles just kept on gripping. I would seriously think these boots would work for ice fishing as well as hiking due to the warmth and incredible grip.
I only have a few gripes. First, is that it can be somewhat difficult to put the boots on. The key is to make sure the laces are as loose as possible, and even then you may pop a vein in your forehead with the effort.
Second, I don’t feel like these boots can be classified as true “hiking boots.” What I mean is that even though the soles are amazing, the uppers are so soft and flexible that they don’t offer much in the way of ankle support. Overall these boots feel a bit sloppy on the trail. While my hike in Neffs Canyon and walks with the dog were all short (no more than three miles) it would be difficult to imagine using them for all-day epics. But for short excursions trekking in deep snow, or snowshoeing through the woods with your morning coffee in hand, they’re perfect.
The Good: Very warm. Super comfortable. Handles deep snow without needing gaiters. Amazing grip on ice.
The Bad: Difficult to put on. Not terribly versatile for multiple outdoor activities.
Final Word: If you’re in need of a winter boot for light-duty recreation on bitterly cold, snowy, or icy days, then give the Lost 40 serious consideration.