Steel-spiked soles will keep you from slipping on ice, but you don’t need them on softer trails. That’s why Korkers—a company best known for making wading boots with interchangeable soles—developed the Snowjack. It comes with two different sole options—one with rubber lugs for mud, dirt, and soft snow, and one with carbide-studded lugs for slick terrain and ice.
The tread swaps out easily: Nylon hooks click into mating holes in the shoe’s rubber bottom, and a heel-wrapping rubber flap snaps on at the Achilles. After a season of switching back and forth, the attachments—which we feared would be flimsy—remained secure. The highcut Snowjack is best for snowshoeing and trail hiking because its leather upper—insulated with 400 grams of Thinsulate—is on the soft side, without the structural support for tricky terrain or loads over 30 pounds. “The uppers are thin, but the insulation makes them plenty warm,” said a Vermont tester after tromping through freezing slush on a daylong traverse of the Worcester Range.
Hiking on rocks instead of snow? The shock-absorbing EVA midsole has a full-length nylon protection plate. Even after prolonged exposure to the elements, the waterproof leather didn’t wet out.
Downside: In extremely wet slush and mud, testers got some ice and debris buildup between the boot and sole, which caused a lumpy feeling underfoot.