The Kamik Force is a waterproof/breathable (WP/B) insulated leather boot that weighs 22.6 ounces/boot (men’s 9). It uses the OutDry WP/B technology, which “casts” the membrane to the inside of the assembled upper before the lining is put in and outsole attached, so there is no “bootie” per se (visit www.outdry.com to view a video on the process). We got a chance to test this technology and the Kamik Force boots in our Lightweight Footwear for Snow Travel project (to be published soon). How well did they perform?
The Kamik Force is an insulated leather boot featuring OutDry WP/B technology.
The Kamik Force Boot has an open lug tread that gives it good traction in snow. It self-cleans very well.
The insulation in these boots is 200 gram Thinsulate covered by a brushed fleece-like lining. I found the Force very comfortable to wear right out of the box, and at a half size larger than my usual size they have plenty of room for my wide feet plus heavy wool socks without being too tight. The combination kept my feet toasty warm while hiking or snowshoeing in cold temperatures down into the teens.
We are seeing an increasing number of boots in a footwear category we call “Lightweight Insulated Boots”, with a weight range of 16-22 ounces/boot for men’s size 9. The Kamik Force at 22.6 ounces/boot falls just outside that range. It could be made lighter by constructing the upper from durable fabrics rather than leather, and that would also allow the boot to breathe better. Nevertheless, the leather upper should make it more durable long-term.
The Force boot doesn’t seem to have a midsole with a forefoot TPU plate for stiffening, so it’s very flexible. This is good for keeping feet warm in cold temperatures because it allows the feet to flex more to generate more heat and maintain circulation. However, the soft outsole is not good for walking on rocky trails.
I snowshoed and hiked a lot in wet snow with the Force to test the waterproofness of its OutDry membrane. The boots’ leather upper readily wetted down to the membrane. I weighed the boots after a typical hike in wet snow and found the leather uppers soaked up 4.5 ounces of water in the two boots. That’s a lot.
When I hiked in colder temperatures and frozen snow, the boots readily shed snow and remained mostly dry. However, when I hiked in very wet snow, the membrane eventually wetted through, and my socks were damp inside in the toe box area. I weighed my socks after each trip and found they contained from 0.5 to 1.0 ounce of water/pair after hiking in wet snow for several hours. To measure the leakage I wore a vapor barrier sock to exclude moisture from sweat.
Bottom-line, the OutDry WP/B membrane is waterproof and performs well up to a point, but it will wet through with longer exposure to really wet conditions. That’s not unusual, outside of a rubber boot, I haven’t found a WP/B shoe yet that doesn’t wet through after several hours in wet snow.
A vulnerable area on the Force is the sides just back of the toe bumper. The boot creases in that area with each step (see previous photo), and will likely crack when the leather eventually dries out and gets stiff, resulting in leakage.
Overall, the Kamik Force is a very comfortable and warm boot for snowshoeing and snow hiking and keeps feet dry the majority of the time. However, it will wet through after several hours in very wet snow, and I have some concerns about the leather cracking in the flex zone on the sides.
Features and Specifications
- Manufacturer: Kamik (www. kamik.com)
- Sizes: Men’s 7-13
- Fabric: 1.8mm Nubuck Leather Upper and mesh Lining
- Insulation: 200 gram Thinsulate
- Features: Tye Oval lacing system, thermoplastic heel counter and toe box, rubber toe guard, nylon injected stability shank, compression molded EVA midsole, Kamik comfort footbed, non-marking rubber outsole
- Weight: Measured weight size 12 is 46.4 oz/pair (1315 g), manufacturer specification 45.3oz/pair, size 9 (1284 g)
- MSRP: $120 US