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Garmont Momentum

Choosing Winter Boots: Garmont Momentum Snow GTX

What I look for in outdoor gear can be summed up simply: I want my cake, and I want to eat it too.

I don’t like compromising. For example, a choice between gear that is lightweight and weatherproof is not acceptable to me. I want both. Or, more to the point, I want it all. My gear should do everything I need it to, no matter how unreasonable I am about it!

You would think this approach to outfitting would lead to a lot of disappointment. But with a little research and patience I can often find a piece of gear that fits my exact needs.

Winter boots however, have long been the exception.

Irreconcilable Differences?

I HATE big, bulky footwear.

I HATE cold feet.

That right there probably sums up why I have been unsuccessful in finding the right winter boots. I want a lightweight boot that will keep my feet warm.

And I don’t mean a boot that is light compared to other boots, I mean I want something that is more sneaker than boot. And when it comes to keeping my feet warm? I am not talking about preventing chilly toes here… I am talking about saving my poorly circulated piggies from frostbite.

In the world of winter boots, I am just not sure how much middle ground can be found between warmth and bulk.

But I was determined to give it a try, so off I went to several local outfitters to give it a go.

Requirements

0 Degrees Fahrenheit

I kid you not when I say that my feet freeze up on cool summer nights. I suspect if I could ever be bothered to get them checked out I might find that I have Raynaud’s phenomenon or some other devious disorder. And while I know that manufacturer’s temperature ratings are equal parts marketing and voodoo, I have to start somewhere, so to address the frozen toes issue I decided I would only consider boots that were rated zero degrees Fahrenheit and below.

3.5 pounds

That is really pushing it, ideally I want something less than 3lbs… a lot less. But for this initial search I figured I would cast a wide net. Also, at least as far as I am concerned, when it comes to avoiding “bulk” in footwear it has as much to do with the feel and fit of a boot as it does the actual weight. I would choose something that feels and moves more like a trail runner over a stiffer, bulkier boot even if the latter were technically a few ounces lighter.

The Candidates


The North Face Slot

-40F, 3lbs 2oz

I decided to give the slot a try after ruling out The North Face’s more popular Baltoro boot (due to weight). With 400 grams of Primaloft Eco insulation, and a comfort range of -40F, this boot certainly has the warmth requirement nailed. The fit was “boot-like”, but comfortable, and generous enough for larger socks. It also comes with some nice “extras”, little features that I could tell I would appreciate with use. Such as a molded lip on the heel of the boot designed to hold snowshoe or crampon straps in place, and a large, reinforced loop on the back of the shoe to assist you in pulling them on. However, despite coming in under my weight requirement, it didn’t take long before realizing that this was going to be more “boot” than I wanted. It is larger than I prefer, and has a stiffer fit than I prefer. You would never confuse this boot with a lightweight hiker.

 


Salomon Snowtrip TS

-18F, 2lbs 8oz

The Snowtrip was recommended to me as a hybrid hiker/winter boot, and for the most part it seemed to fit that bill. With 200 grams of Thinsulate it gets a comfort rating of -18F, and it weights and feels more like a high top hiker than a classic winter boot. I generally love the way Salomon shoes fit my feet, and this was no exception. Comfortable, with a very cushy collar and plenty of room for larger socks. The Snowtrip is clearly a step in the right direction when it comes to bridging the gap between bulk and warmth.

 


Salomon Beluha WP

-13F, 2lbs 12oz

When I first saw the Beluha in the store I remember thinking to myself, “this is it!” It had the look of a substantial winter boot that was somehow squeezed into the package of an ordinary hiking boot. When the information tag mentioned a proprietary blend of insulation and a comfort rating of -13F I was even more convinced. However, the fit and feel quickly dashed my hopes. Whereas Salomon’s generally cradle my feet perfectly, this boot seemed too narrow around my heel and mid-foot before opening up in the toe area. I couldn’t quite figure it out, but the effect was that I felt pitched forward in them. They also turned out to be a little less giving and flexible than I prefer. Unfortunately, the Beluha, like The North Face Slot, was going to be too “boot-like” for me.

 


Garmont Momentum Snow GTX

-35F, 2lbs 8.5oz

When I tried on the Garmont Momentum I immediately knew that this was the fit and feel that I was looking for. Nothing about it felt like a winter boot. It is light, nimble, flexible in the right spots, feels like it would be a breeze to break in, and was a pleasure to walk around in. Easily the most comfortable “winter” boot I have tried on, and even more comfortable than some of the high ankle summer hikers I have worn. But I had questions about the warmth rating. Could something this comfortable and light REALLY be rated -35F? My skepticism started to get the better of me. I held the Momentum in one hand, and the large hulking North Face Baltoro in another. One is more like a pack boot, the other more like a sneaker… and there is only a 5 degree difference between the two? How? I handed them both to a salesperson at Eastern Mountain Sports and basically said, “I don’t believe it”. They just shrugged, which didn’t help much in alleviating my doubts. However, a quick look through the manufacturer specifications revealed that Garmont did pack 400 grams of Thinsulate into this boot. That is the same level of insulation that some of the warmer models I looked at were using, so in the end I settled on trusting the comfort rating (well, as much you can trust any comfort rating, that is.)

The Winner

Garmont Momentum Snow GTX

In the end, it was a bit of a no-brainer. The most comfortable shoe I tried on was also one of the lightest, and one of the warmest. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I may have just found that no-compromise winter boot that has eluded me all these years. It will take me a solid month of an Adirondack winter before I am completely convinced that a boot that feels this light on my feet can actually keep me warm through negative temps, but I have already taken them for a spin in snowy conditions and temperatures below freezing and so far I am impressed.

Keep an eye out for a full review once the mercury dips for real.

25 Comments

  1. Garmont Momentum Snow GTX – $99.99 | Towns and Trails
    Garmont Momentum Snow GTX – $99.99 | Towns and Trails11-23-2010

    […] spent a few weeks researching and trying on different boots earlier this month, and the Momentum was the clear choice. They have lived up to my expectations in several pre-winter hikes since, and I am preparing a […]

  2. Ronnie
    Ronnie11-24-2010

    Dave…..based on your review, I want to purchase these boots…however, my chronic cold feet are skeptical…seem too good to be true….soon the snow will be deep here(South Dakota) and the temp will remain below freezing for weeks…I don’t even want to talk about the north winds!….my main outdoor activities will be shoveling snow and ice fishing…. any gaiter recommendations? …..Ronnie

  3. Dave
    Dave11-24-2010

    Hi Ronnie,

    I still haven’t had the chance to test them in negative temps, but I have worn them on 4 or 5 hikes that involved below freezing temps, snow, ice, and wet trails. These were not arctic condition type hikes, but they were hikes that would have made my feet very uncomfortable in the past. With these boots my toes were just fine, a little toasty even. So I am feeling pretty good about the product still and my skepticism about their warmth is all but gone.

    While I have never been ice fishing, I would say these are a fantastic option for everyday winter chores – shoveling and the like. I am sure mine will get some double duty in that department as well.

    As far as gaiters go, I have never found it necessary to spend a lot of money here. As long as the strap looks solid and the length is right, I usually go with whatever I can find on sale. My current ones are an old (non-gore-tex) EMS model. If I had to buy a new pair today, I would probably go with something simple again, like these for only $35: http://www.rei.com/product/778002

    Good luck, and let me know how you make out if you do end up getting these boots.

    Dave

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  5. KB
    KB12-07-2010

    Dave,

    Appreciate the review! I’ve been in search of a winter hiker capable of taking on freezing temperatures and overnights in the Adirondacks. I agree with your ideas of a “perfect boot.” Light, nimble, WARM, and breathable. However, I also need the capability for use of snowshoes and crampons. I think i’ve narrowed it down to Merrell’s Isotherm 8 and Garmont’s Momentum. Did you try the isotherms at all? Any ideas?

    • Dave
      Dave12-08-2010

      Hey KB,

      I didn’t consider the Isotherms… but only because none of the outfitters I went to had them for me to try on. In terms of their specs they fit right in with what we are looking for. 3lbs, -40 degrees. I like their style too. But from the photos they do look they could run a little stiff to me. Mainly due to that extensive rubber molding that makes up the bottom third of the boot. Looks can be so deceiving though, as I found out while trying on all of these other boots. They do sound like they have plenty of cushioning in there and could be quite comfortable, but these are definitely ones I would want to walk around in before buying.

      I found this video where Merrell does a little introduction and explains some of the features of the isotherm line, it might be worth a watch if you haven’t seen it yet: http://www.backcountry.com/merrell-isotherm-8-waterproof-boot-mens (bottom of page)

      Some of the specs he talks about in that video do not seem to line up with the specs on that product page though… I think he mentions 200g of insulation, whereas the specs say 400g. I might have misheard, or maybe there are multiple versions of the boot.

      Anyway, good luck! And stop back and let me know what you decide to go with.

      • KB
        KB12-08-2010

        There is an isotherm 6 which has only 200g. A friend of mine has the previous model “thermo 6” He loves them, comfortable and warm. We do some serious hiking in the dacks so I’m just trying to do my research! Thanks for your input!

        • Dave
          Dave12-08-2010

          Yeah, we stopped by the EMS in Lake Placid tonight and saw both models. The 6 and the 8. I realized that must have been the difference.

          I thought about walking around in the 8’s for a little bit so I could give you an actual comparison, but it was close to closing time for them. I did inspect them a little bit and the molding doesn’t feel as stiff as it looks in those images… definitely not as stiff as some of the other boots in this category. Like the Slot or the Beluha. Breathability might be an issue given the construction, if that is a concern for you. But overall, from just holding them and poking and prodding, I would say they are pretty comparable to the Momentums. A little heavier, a little bulkier… but not by a whole lot. And that fleece padding was pretty nice.

  6. PHeller
    PHeller12-08-2010

    Dave,

    Liking this site. You seem to have similar gear opinions as I. In today’s economic climate, its hard to go out blowing money on multiple sets of shoes (or any other gear for that matter).

    Any thoughts on the Garmont’s might be during the warmer months? Would they be way too hot?

    • Dave
      Dave12-08-2010

      Hi PH

      For me, these would be way too heavy in the summer. But I like to go as light as possible, avoiding “boots” and leaning more toward trail runners when there is no snow. This is my current summer shoe, just to give you an idea: http://www.townsandtrails.com/review-salomon-xa-pro-3d-ultra-gtx

      That said, these Garmont’s have been fairly nimble and breathable for me so far this winter. I am not sure I see a huge difference between these and other ‘high top’ type summer hiking boots. If that is what you typically hike in, these might be ok. Certainly not ideal in warmer weather, but I think you could get by in them for sure.

  7. PHeller
    PHeller12-08-2010

    Dave,

    I too have gone to trail runners as my main hiking shoe during the summer.

    But, its always nice to have options.

    When you have a chance can you take some pictures of the what the book looks like with a pair of jeans over them?

    • Dave
      Dave12-08-2010

      You bet, actually heading out tonight for Jess’ birthday dinner… I’ll be sporting “Adirondack Formal” attire. You know, jeans and flannel. Hahah. I’ll be sure to wear these boots and get a photo for ya.

    • Dave
      Dave12-09-2010

      Here they are with jeans. Excuse the dirt and mud, they have gotten some use!

      They look like nice sneakers to me. I personally wouldn’t hesitate to wear them around town.

  8. Eric
    Eric12-11-2010

    Hi Dave,
    Just curious if you found that the Garmont Momentum boots run true to size? Purchasing online as a gift, so I’d like to make the best size guess possible (old shoes are the Garmont Nagevi in size 9). Thanks for the review!

    • Dave
      Dave12-11-2010

      Hi Eric,
      I am a 10 in almost all footwear, and that is what I went with on these. They do seem to have a little bit of extra room built in – but this was true of all the boots I tried on in this category. I can only assume it is to allow for thicker winter socks. Since I tend not to wear thick socks, I miiiiiiight have been able to go with a half size smaller in this boot. But the 10 has been just fine for me and I’d say your safest bet is to buy them as if they are true to size.

      • Eric
        Eric12-12-2010

        Thanks Dave! You’ve been incredibly helpful – greatly appreciated!

  9. Eric
    Eric12-11-2010

    Also, I’ve read confllcting info about them being leather-free. Are they? Thanks again.

  10. Dave
    Dave12-11-2010

    The tag on mine reads:

    Synthetic and Fabric Upper
    Fabric Lining
    Rubber Sole

    The only thing that looks/feels a little leathery to me is the material that comprises the toecap and runs along the bottom or the shoe (just above the sole) and reinforces the lace area. Not sure if that material is obvious from the photo. But it almost feels more rubbery than leathery, maybe that is the “synthetic” they refer to on the tag.

    Hope that helps some.

    • Eric
      Eric12-12-2010

      That was just the information I was looking for; thanks for taking the time to share what the tag says. You are definitely Santa’s helper this year (the boots have been ordered)! Happy Holidays!

  11. KB
    KB12-27-2010

    Just wanted to give ya a quick update. Ended up picking up a pair of Merrell Snowmotion 6’s. Found them at the Merrell Outlet for under $100. They feel very similar to a typical hiking boot. Lightweight, but a soild feel. Extremely comfortable. And to top it off 200g of polartec and 400g of primaloft rated to -25*. I originally really wanted the snowmotion 8s which is what turned me on to the isotherm. These I feel are much more rugged with a gaiter d-ring and a snowshoe strap ridge. I’ve been wearing them around town and they certainly are toasty and they have that fantastic Merrell comfort. I’m heading into the peaks next week for a few days. Hope they serve me well!

    • Dave
      Dave01-18-2011

      Hey KB, hope you had a good time in the mountains. How did the Merrell’s work out for you?

  12. GL
    GL01-05-2011

    Dave,

    Thanks for the great review! I’m in the process of doing a comparison on the same boots you picked out. Since you’ve had the boots for almost 8 weeks now, I was wondering if you had an update or comments on the Garmont after some use. Thanks!

    • Dave
      Dave01-18-2011

      Hi GL, apologies for the delay in responding.

      I’ve been able to wear them quite a bit around town, on a few hikes just below freezing, and on a short hike when it was 10 degrees F. While wearing them I have yet to encounter cold feet like I am used to this time of year, so either my feet have become more tolerant to cold or these boots are doing their job in that department. My money is on the latter.

      I haven’t had the opportunity to wear them with snowshoes or crampons yet, but I have worn with them Microspikes. They fit fine and performed well with that traction device, no problems at all.

      If pushed to talk about a negative so far, the only thing I would mention is that they were not entirely out-of-box broken in the way I originally though they would be. Around town and for low impact activity, no problem out of box. But on the first few moderate hikes I took with them I could feel some rubbing and pressure… especially in the heal area on ascents. I don’t believe this is a sizing issue as the boot fits great otherwise. It could be a lacing issue though, sometimes I get sloppy. Either way, it took a couple of summits before I would say they were 100% broken in and comfortable for that activity.

      Overall, very very pleased still and I was not surprised at all to see these listed in Backpacker Magazine’s gear guide issue as “most versatile” winter boots.

  13. Justin
    Justin02-03-2011

    I had a pair of The North Face Hedgehog GTX Trail Shoes which I was not happy with at all. So I decided I needed better footwear for snowshoeing and seen the Garmont’s at REI so I picked up a pair for roughly 107 bucks. The weather today in CO Springs, CO was -21 with wind chill and he boots worked amazing well. In fact my feet were so warm I definitely didn’t need a thicker sock. I am very pleased with the boots and your responses Dave. Thank You.

  14. walt Babcock
    walt Babcock04-19-2013

    Dave, how did the boots work out after a winter? I am hoping to use mine for dog sledding. I only run four dogs so I am pretty active behind the sled. WB

    • Dave
      Dave04-19-2013

      Hi Walt, I’ve got two winter’s now with these boots and they have been as advertised in terms of their warmth. Outside of plastic mountaineering boots, these are easily the warmest hikers I’ve worn.

      That said, I have found them VERY hard to break in. The first winter they really tore up my feet, particularly the heal. They turned out to be stiffer and less forgiving than I thought they would be, especially around the ankles. Some people may actually value that aspect of them, but unless they fit you very well right out of the box… that stiffness can be the source of some pain.

      I still wear them casually now, but when it comes time to lace something up and go for a hike… I no longer wear the GTX’s.

      So I would say I am still in the market for the perfect winter boot. Have a few in mind, and will report back if I find something that works for me.

  15. Tim Summerfield
    Tim Summerfield11-27-2013

    Garmont Momentum Mid Gore-Tex Snow Boots are lighter and still have a -15F comfort rating and are currently on clearance at campsave for just $75

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