When we mentioned to David from Outdoor World Direct that we were leaving the UK in search of a more adventurous life in the mountains, he very kindly provided us with some gear to review along the way. With nothing more than a 40 liter backpack and snowboard bag stuffed to the limit we didn’t have much space for extra kit, so luckily the items we chose to review have all been very well used so far! You can read Alex’s review of the Jack Wolfskin Vertigo jacket here.
So, on to the boot of the 2014/15 winter season – the Dubois 200 by Hi-tech. Since we arrived in Hakuba I have pretty much lived in this boot. That’s approx 120 days of early season rain in November, record breaking snowfall in December, January and February and pure, deep slush in March. I think I’m as ready as I will ever be to give this product a fair and honest review.
Fit: when I first tried on the boot I wasn’t too keen on the fit. I had opted for a UK size 8 as Hi-tech don’t offer half sizes and it felt quite roomy (I’m normally a 7.5). However once I started wearing them I didn’t notice at all – they’re just so comfy! Any smaller and they wouldn’t fit with ski socks on so I’m happy with my decision. The Ortholite cushioning makes them as comfy as slippers.
Technical Properties: the main thing for me in an apres ski boot is to have warm and dry feet at the end of the day. The Hi-tech boots have been good up to a point. For the day to day walking to and from work/the pub they have been great, but the days it has snowed a lot I have definitely had wet feet! Thought I’m pretty sure this is because of the abnormally large snowfall in Japan and snow coming in over the top of the boot, not a product fault.
Style: I have mixed opinions on the style of this apres ski boot. I’m not a huge fan of the white rubber sole which kind of makes them look like wellies but I really like the leather and quilted upper part of the boot. They look good with jeans and leggings and being grey go well with everything I own.
Favourite feature: the thing that makes these boots stand out for me is the draw-cord fastening. In Japan where you have to take off your shoes every time you enter a cafe, restaurant, house or bar, not having to faff around with laces is priceless.
So in summary, they’ve been a good boot for the season. I would definitely recommend them for ease of use and comfort but it would perhaps be best to get a higher boot to cope in such deep snow!
And that’s it for now, the season is over and it is on to sunnier climates. Goodbye Hakuba, goodbye boots, it’s been a cracking season!