Are your vacations spent lounging around on the summit of Mt. Everest? Or do you have plans to fly to McMurdo Station in Antarctica and then mush your favorite dog sled team to the South Pole? Well, if you do, I know just the boot for you.
|The Baffin Shackleton Boot for Men. More info & prices at Amazon.|
That boot is called, rather appropriately, the Shackleton and is made by Baffin. The Shackleton boot is part of the Polar Series by Baffin and is designed not just for annoying cold, or merely frigid, but for, shall we say, extreme cold weather. The type of extreme cold that freezes exposed skin in an instant and is only found at the North and South Pole, on oxygen lacking mountain peaks and in an experimental deep-freeze cooler found at a University laboratory near you.
The temperature rating for the Shackleton boot is a rather astounding -148 degrees Fahrenheit. Granted, this rating—like all temperature ratings—depends on several factors, not the least of which is using the proper winter sock (or two, or three). But the temperature rating is also affected by an individual’s metabolism, circulation and other personal health factors.
Still, it is -148 degrees. And that leaves a lot of margin for error when it comes to determining whether the boot is warm enough for you. Think about it, at a rather balmy -40 degrees Fahrenheit, the Shackleton boot provides a margin of error of more than 100 degrees. That’s one toasty boot.
As imagination might dictate, the Shackleton is designed a wee bit different than other mere "snow boots." The rubber outsole consists of a specialized Polar Rubber that won’t crack like more ordinary rubber can when exposed to extreme cold weather. Nine layers of insulation with a Thermaplush lining keeps the foot comfortable and toasty warm. The Thermaplush also pulls double duty, functioning as a sock liner by transferring perspiration off the foot—thus keeping the foot dry. Finally, and unique among all snow boots I’ve come across, the sole of the boot contains a special "air bubble." While that doesn’t sound too exciting, that "air bubble" provides prevents extreme cold from working up from the sole of the boot and reaching your feet. Or, perhaps an easier way to look at it, the "air bubble" acts like a double pane window does—helps prevent cold air movement between the sole and the inner insulation of the boot.
So, who is the Shackleton boot for? To state the obvious, it is designed for people who wander off and luxuriate in extreme cold weather. However, anyone who spends considerable amount of time outdoors in "merely cold" weather likely will appreciate the boot. People who have chronically cold feet, perhaps due to poor circulation, will likely treasure these boots—and perhaps come to curse them due to keeping their feet too warm.
Now, it needs to be stressed here, that despite the wonderful insulation and design of the boot, you’ll ruin it all by wearing a cotton sock. Why? Simple. With your foot tucked safely away among all the glorious insulation and specialized Polar Rubber outsole, your foot will perspire. If you wear a cotton sock, the sock will become wet. And once a cotton sock becomes wet, it will coat your foot with a nice layer of sweat. Since a sweaty foot is a wet foot (not to mention a very smelly foot), and a wet foot is a cold foot, if you wear these wonderful boots with a miserable cotton sock you have no hope whatsoever of reaching anywhere near the temperature rating of this boot.
Indeed, if push comes to shove and the only sock you have in the house is a cotton sock, it will be far, far better to just go barefoot. By going barefoot, the Thermaplush lining in the boot will transfer the perspiration off your foot, keeping your feet dry—and thus warm.
Of course, going barefoot is a fine recipe for blisters, not to mention an invitation for weird comments from friends, family and enemies alike. So, if you buy the Baffin Shackleton boot, don’t be cheap. Pick up a quality winter sock, one that is made from merino wool or pretty much anything else that contains absolutely no cotton. If you need a recommendation, my vote is for the Smartwool Hiker or Smartwool Mountaineering sock.
Where to Buy & Prices
The Shackleton is available online at quite a few outdoor shops. Offline, the boot is much more difficult to find due to its "specialized nature." The Shackleton boot is almost always available in all sizes and colors at Amazon.
The Baffin Shackleton is generally priced around $250, although Amazon usually sells them for less.
Basic Boot Information
- Temperature Rating : -148 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Colors Available : Changes yearly, but you don't buy these boots for stylish colors.
- Weight : 2 lb11 oz.
- Snow Cuff : Yes - nylon pulled tight by a bungee cord.
- Bottom : Specialized Polar Rubber.
- Upper : Leather wrapped by Nylon.
- Waterproof? : Yes
- Replaceable Liner? : Yes
- Sizes Available : 7 to 15, whole sizes only.
- Other Notes : For Men only.
Advantages of the Baffin Shackleton Boot
Some of the advantages of the boot include:
- Designed for the most extreme cold. No better boots than the Polar Series of Baffin boots for cold weather protection.
- Boot is rated to an astounding -148 degrees Fahrenheit. Just remember to use the right winter sock.
- Surprisingly lightweight, considering the amount of insulation packed into the boot.
- 100% waterproof
- Height of the boot and the bungee cord drawstring snow gaiter are effective in keeping all snow out of the inside of the boot.
- If you get cold feet in below freezing weather, or plan to visit the South Pole sometime soon, the Baffin Shackleton is hard to beat.