The Coldsparks are great everyday winter hiking boots. They might not be sturdy enough for serious winter excursions, but for light hikes and snowshoeing, they are ideal and provide the best warmth-to-weight ratio of any of the boots we tested.
Support & Stability
The Vasque Coldspark UltraDry boots provided good support and stability through a variety of terrain. They were flexible enough to move with our feet when we were active, but they didn’t have the snug, wrap-around security that some of the other boots in the test had. And while the flexible midsole is good for everyday winter activities, it might not be sufficient for serious excursions. The tread wasn’t as aggressive as some of the other boots in the test, but Vasque’s ColdHold dual density construction worked exceptionally well and provided solid footing even on icy surfaces.
Quality & Construction
The Coldsparks are thoughtfully designed and crafted from high quality materials. The wraparound rind isn’t as rugged as some of the other boots in the test, but it is more than adequate for the vast majority of winter activities including snowshoeing. The boots feature a D-ring at the bottom of the laces to make it easy to secure gaiters and there’s a thick molded TPU yolk on the heel that provides extra support and protection. The Coldsparks are definitely designed for winter wear with insulation and a fleece collar in the ankle for added warmth. The breathable fabric doesn’t seem to be quite as durable as the thick leather in some of the other boots in the test, but it showed no signs of wear after a season of hard use.
The Coldsparks had a little play in the boots and the material near the ball of the foot tended to bunch up uncomfortably especially when kneeling or squatting down, but other than that, the Coldsparks provided a comfortable fit even after wearing them for hours. Where these boots really outshined all the others in the test, however, was the warmth they provided. From the 200g of Thinsulate insulation to added touches like the fleece collar on the ankles, these boots kept our feet warmer than any others in the test.
At just shy of 3lbs., the Coldsparks fell right in the middle of the boots as far as weight. They certainly are not heavy for a winter hiking boot, and the warmth-to-weight ratio they provide would be hard to beat.
Although the fabric in the uppers of the Coldsparks didn’t provide as much protection as some of the other boots in the test, these boots did a good job of protecting our feet from the elements on the majority of our winter excursions. The UltraDry waterproofing kept feet dry in heavy snowpack and even slush, and the thicker leather on the toe along with the molded TPU on the heel kept the front and back of our feet well protected, especially while snowshoeing.
Christopher Cogley is a freelance writer who spends as much time as possible biking, hiking, camping, and exploring the outdoor playground of Western Colorado where he lives with his wife and two boys.