High quality materials/construction for durability
A bit stiff for those who place a premium on comfort in town
Mid-cut makes gaiters necessary in deep snow
The Trident is a true performance winter hiking boot, not a snow-shoveling boot that also likes to walk the dog. It's most impressive on chilly snow hikes on variable terrain (rocks, sidehilling, etc.) due to the sturdy foot and ankle support, and high-traction rubber outsole. The boot is relatively stiff, which boosts its stability, but may make it a little less comfy to wear around town.
The Trident immediately stood out from the array of soft, fluffy “winter hiking” boots out there. It’s stiff and stable enough for real hiking and snowshoeing, and clearly built to withstand rugged, cold winter hikes on unstable terrain.
On Snow During the first field test (20-degree night hike on snow up 1,000 feet, with lots of sidehilling), I immediately appreciated the soft fleece liner that lines the entire inside of the Trident. It’s a new fleece-backed Gore-Tex liner, putting a layer of cozy fluff between your sock and the boot’s waterproof membrane. The fleece liner softens any would-be pinch points, adding comfort to extended hikes—though there is no additional insulation besides the fleece. My feet were very warm when active (although there was somewhat of a different result when inactive: see below).
The midsole is thick and protective, keeping the foot higher off the snow keeps it warmer and smothers sharp rocks. The outsole traction on packed snow and ice is noticeably reliable, despite the relatively unaggressive outsole tread.
The boot has a snug, performance fit—tighter than expected (especially in the instep, but also up through the ankle), which provided much-needed foot and ankle support, especially on steep sidehills. The soles are relatively stiff, which also reduced foot and ankle fatigue on rocky, unstable ground. This will prove excellent for longer, more technical hikes when your ankles can get fatigued.
Despite the meaty feel to these boots in motion, they’re light on the feet—just 17 ounces (per boot) for a women’s 7 (which is impressive).
The Trident has a high cut for a hiking boot, but as far as traditional winter boots go, its just-above-the-ankle height may make gaiters necessary in deep snow.
Waterproofing The Gore-Tex laminate runs as high as the top of the tongue gussets, so this boot had no problem in our dunk test. The breathablity is standard for a laminated boot—a little clammy during extended exertion, but my feet stayed acceptably dry (from within) during field testing.
Cold Test The final test was to assess the insulation at rest. With no extra insulation (no socks), I submerged my feet in an ice bucket (just above the ankle) for about 25 minutes. The result: my feet actually did get quite cold. The warmth was comparable with multi-layered, non-insulated hiking boots. There isn’t enough insulation in these boots for idling in temps well below freezing, but plenty for mild activity. If you are stuck in freezing weather waiting for a tow truck or something, just do jumping jacks.
Overall, the Trident seems like it will be happiest on a long, aggressive chilly hike on unstable ground, on terrain ranging from soft snow to loose rocks (think: hiking a 14er in June or October.) The great foot and ankle support, thick midsole, and full insulation make it one of the top lightweight winter hiking boots I’ve tested.
The fact that the Gore-Tex liner extends to the top of the gusset in these boots, and the overal high-quality of materials and construction, make this boot stand out. (5 bonus points)ex