Bearpaws For Him And Her

Last month, we brought you a preview of some new boots from Bearpaw, and this month we’re doing a more in-depth article on one new model from the women’s line, and one from the men’s as well. (It’s a crazy week when I can review and write about cycling shorts and snow boots, but that’s just how Utah weather goes)

The Stowe II is equal parts utility, fashion, and comfort. A lugged sole provides plenty of traction in the wet and snow, while the toe and heel both feature sheet rubber for durability and water-resistance. The rest of the upper is leather/suede, with an exposed sheepskin collar. Extending all the way into the boot, that sheepskin is both warm and soft, and just what your feet deserve after a day of skiing, or while shoveling snow. Although Bearpaw recommends going up one full size to accommodate the lining, that will really depend on your sock preference. Thin socks will likely leave too much room between foot and lining, partially negating the insulating effect, so be sure to try them on with your favorite winter socks for the best fit. I’m a recently converted “barefoot” fan, and generally wear the thinnest socks available from Darn Tough, but I’ll grudgingly don a thick winter sock when necessary. Once the sock issue was sorted out, I found the Stowe II to be quite warm and comfortable, without being too hot. I’d happily wear them on the coldest, snowiest winter days, and keep them on until I’m home, sipping cocoa in front of the fireplace.

Mrs. Outsider was kind enough to offer her opinion of the Bristol II.  With its subtle embossed floral pattern, lacing up the side, and wool/sheepskin lining all dyed to match, the different textures add visual interest to what would otherwise be a plain black boot. The suede upper is stitched to a rubber sole designed for traction in snow, without looking like something off a monster truck. A metal Bearpaw logo riveted to the heel is another nice touch. The sizing was spot-on, and after being treated with a good water repellent, could easily be worn from fall into spring, depending on your local climate and personal fashion sense. Although I’ve heard from reliable sources that women will put up with uncomfortable footwear in the name of fashion, the Bristol II requires no such compromise. The nearly flat heel, flexible sole, and sheepskin footbed make for a boot that’s as comfortable as it is fashionable, and would probably fit right in with the crowd at Sundance or Park City.

The Stowe II has an MSRP of $99, and is available in black, cognac (shown) and maple in men‘s size 8-13. The Bristol II also has an MSRP 0f $99, and is available in women‘s sizes 5-12 in black, birch, charcoal (shown)  and chocolate. www.bearpawshoes.com

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