Aside from down booties, nothing is more important to me on winter trips than comfortable, insulated boots. I’ll get into the details below, but if you’re not the sort to read a full review, I’ll sum it up succinctly: If you’re looking for boots with enough flex to handle long hikes, stiffness to handle crampons, and warmth to handle Father Winter, your search is over.
I wore the Nytros right out of the box on an early winter trip to Mount Whitney, and even without the silk sock liners or aftermarket insoles I normally use (to reduce friction and customize the fit, respectively, inside my boots), I wore them for 22 miles in two days without an issue. At first, they felt a little narrow for my wide feet, but after a few switchbacks, they felt just fine.
This is the first winter trip I’ve been on when my toes never felt cold. You could try to give credit to the faux fur collars or proprietary insulation blend, and to be fair, they kept my feet warm even when I was just lounging in the 20&Deg;F temps around camp. The boots are rated down to -13&Deg;F (assuming you’re being active), and although I didn’t come across any conditions close enough to those temps to test it out, I would confidently say these would serve you well easily down around zero. In addition to the insulation, the rubber toe and leather did a superb job of keeping the snow out.
But the real impressive feat was how well the boots breathed; even after a full day of pounding uphill under a cloudless Sierra sky, my boots were as dry as when I pulled them out of the trunk of my car. The Clima-Dry waterproof/breathable membrane gets full marks for this performance. All I had to do was put on a fresh pair of socks when I got to camp, and I was comfortable for the duration of the evening.
The midsole--made of several layers of EVA foam—has ample support for my average winter excursions. Not only was I able to comfortably carry a 56-pound pack, but the boot has enough rigidity to accommodate strap-on crampons, which I did for a couple of days of Class III winter exploring in the southern Sierras.
Bottom Line: Whether you care for faux fur or not, there’s no disputing the superior winter performance of the Nytros.