We were happy to review both a men’s Korkers Polar Vortex boots and a women’s version called Snowmageddon. Dr. Dan wrote the majority of this review, with some comments from me as well. Dan tested the boots in snowy and icy conditions in Breckenridge, Colorado. I tested the boots on a snowy day in Denver, Colorado. We both agree that these boots are awesome. These boots perform well for anyone needing boots for tough winter conditions. The women’s version even has a cute faux fur trim at the top, and they are warm and cozy for both genders.
Anyone that lives and works in a cold and snowy climate knows the value of a great pair of boots. Survival in any harsh winter climate depends on surefooted stability in slick conditions. If you live in an area where snow and cold sticks around for months, you understand the struggle associated with lacing up tying and untying those boots every time you come in the house. No one wants to drag snow, slush or road grime inside the house. It’s great to be able to get a pair of high cuffed boots on and off in seconds. Thus, I was eager to try Korkers Polar Vortex 600g Winter boots with the BOA M2 lacing system. No more time spent tying and untying up a tall cuff. No more dangling untied or broken laces. No more deciding if you have the time to re-lace your dirty boots when you need to head inside for a pitstop.
First of all, we can’t say enough about the value of the BOA lacing system. Over the last few years I have come to depend on the BOA lacing on my footwear designed for cycling, fly fishing, & snowboarding. The system has performed flawlessly. The quick on / off along with the problem free dialed in fit provided by BOA has made it hard to imagine purchasing a pair of sport specific footwear with traditional lacing. In addition, Korkers has been my go to brand of wading boots for the last several seasons. It’s great to see this technology transferred to winter boots. The rugged reliability and innovative interchangeable tread system keeps Korkers at the top my fishing gear list.
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to test out a pair of winter boots that integrated the best features I have come to depend on in my sport footwear. A good pair of winter boots needs to be warm, waterproof, sturdy, and stable.
Korkers Polar Vortex 600 boots boast 600g of 3m Thinsulate insulation. This insulation worked! My toes stayed warm in outdoor temps down to 15 degrees Fahrenheit when vigorously shoveling snow, snow shoeing, or walking the dog at a relaxed pace. Based on my comfort at 15 degrees I have no doubt they would be appropriate to Zero degrees Fahrenheit. The boots have labeling that says -40 degrees. I hope that I never have to test them out when it is this cold and have my doubts about this extreme comfort rating. A version of these boots is also available with 1200g of 3m Thinsulate insulation for less active pursuits such as ice fishing or snowmobiling.
Korkers advertises the Polar Vortex boots as having “100% waterproof construction including a waterproof/ breathable bootie, waterproof leather, webbing, and stitching to keep the foot bone dry.” When working in wet and slushy conditions I had no problems with water penetration. The breathability of the liner seemed effective as my feet didn’t feel damp and steamy when I pulled off the boots. Some waterproof boots trap in sweat and moisture leading to cold damp feet. This was not an issue with the Korkers.
After several weeks of using the boots they appear to be holding up well. Time will tell if this pattern of reliability continues. Based on my past experience with Korkers wading boots I would expect several seasons of reliable performance. The BOA closure system has provided flawless performance for many years on my cycling and wading boots. I have no doubt this will carry over to winter and work boots.
The most unique feature of Korkers boots is the OmniTrax interchangeable sole system. OmniTrax interchangeable soles let you choose traction; switch between a rubber lug for snowy winter weather and a rubber lug with carbide studs when extra stability is needed in icy conditions. When I first tried Korkers wading boots I was skeptical about the reliability of an interchangeable sole. I was concerned with a sole peeling off in a slick or muddy riverbed. After countless river trips I have never experienced any issues with OmniTrax. It’s great to have a winter boot that allows you to easily adapt the boot sole to meet your traction needs. The Polar Vortex boots come standard with 2 soles (rubber lug & rubber lugged with carbide studs). Korkers has 8 different winter boot soles available for purchase on their website. The variety of soles should meet most anyone’s needs. I found Rubber Lug fine for most days, but the carbide studs were a great addition when conditions got extra slick. It takes less than a minute to securely change out soles.
Fit & Comfort
Not only did the interchangeable soles provide an interesting feature, but sizing was consistent with other boots and shoes. The heel cup did feel a bit large for my average foot shape, but the boa system kept my foot stable and secure. The 11” cuff height was comfortable and kept snow and muck on the outside where it belongs.
In summary, overall the Korker Polar Vortex 600’s performed flawlessly and we would recommend them for anyone needing a pair of reliable winter boots with some unique features not found on other brands.
Full disclosure: Korkers sent snowgrrl the boots at no charge, but all opinions are truthful. We are under no obligation to give a positive review. If they didn’t perform as advertised we would tell you. They have some great features and are worth the money!