Wolverine Gauge Boot ReviewMarch 15, 2013
- Very comfortable, with good traction on rocks, snow and ice
- Very warm and waterproof
- Light for an insulated boot
- Nice features for snowshoeing
- The high tops (8 inches) aren’t ideal for hiking boots
- Feet can get clammy during high activity levels
- Use of eyelets for laces which made it harder to get on and off or adjust
- The price is a bit high
Given the high cut and overall soft flex, the Gauge probably wouldn’t be your first choice for a winter backpacking or scrambling boot, but it works very well for things like snowshoeing, snowmobiling, or working and standing around in frigid weather.
Quality and Construction
The high top Wolverine Gauge looks a lot like a work boot. It features a molded TPU exoskeleton construction and 400-gram Thinsulate insulation, along with a gaiter loop on the laces, and ridges built on the back of the heel to retain snowshoe bindings.
The Gauge has eyelets all the way up the high cuff – no speed hooks – and doesn’t have pull loops. Given that I have a high instep, this made it a bit difficult to get the boots on and off, especially when they were snowy and/or icy. Another drawback is that fine-tuning the laces was more difficult. Once I had the lacing dialed in, it snugged up well, and the overall fit was slightly high-volume, offering extra room for thick wool socks.
I wore them on hikes in snow and cold weather, and wore them for pre-season work at the ski area. They were warm, even when I was standing around in single-digit degree weather.
There wasn’t much information available about the waterproof membrane but my feet got a little damp when I worked long and hard, so my sense is the breathability isn’t as good as some other membranes. The sole offered good traction on snow and ice, and uses two different rubber compounds to provide for traction (softer) and durability (firm). The traction on rocks, ice and snow was very good. Finally, the TPU exoskeleton and EVA midsole provided good protection against rocks.
Support and Stability
Though the boots were very comfortable and light, they weren’t as supportive as I would have liked for uneven terrain or scramble: the sole flexed easily and the uppers were fairly soft.
The 8-inch-high tops were great in deep snow, but weren’t totally comfortable for hiking. I liked them a lot on even ground and for general working, but they weren’t at their best in rough territory.
I’m not much of a snowshoer, but I borrowed a pair to try the boots with and I found they worked really well: the ridges on the heel kept the bindings firmly in place. The Gauges were also great for riding a snowmobile around on patrol—the high tops, warmth, and waterproofing were very welcome there.