I love getting the chance to plug my home state in a product review, and when I got the chance to test out the Vasque Lost 40 boots – I knew I couldn’t pass it up. The namesake, Lost 40 comes from an accidental surveying error early in Minnesota’s history. In 1882, a land surveyor by the name of Josiah King and his three-man crew were responsible for mapping the northern portion of the state, as an aid to logging companies who were interested in purchasing land. Maybe it was the extreme cold, or the fact that they were wrapping up their month long project – but the crew accidentally mapped what is now known as the “Lost Forty” as a lake. At that time, swamp and wetlands were of no interest to logging contracts, and the parcel of land was overlooked. Today, it’s a state treasure.
I took my family for an extended winter vacation to Northern Wisconsin, about 250 miles Southeast of the actual Lost 40. We spent the week hiking, snow shoeing and ice fishing. Because I suffer from often numb extremities in cold conditions, I decided to put the Vasque boots to the test during a day-long ice fishing excursion with my son in 10ºF weather. And, while the fishing was luke warm – I can tell you that my feet stayed toasty all day long. (Sorry for the dad humor)
Here’s what I loved:
The Vasque Lost 40 boots take a design cue from a classic Mukluk boot. It’s higher and softer than most traditional men’s winter boots. Compared to what I’d consider a cold weather boot, the Vasque Lost 40 boots are flexible. This isn’t a rigid high top, mainly due to the removable Wool Felt liner. For all of it’s flex, this interior wool bootie is really the heart of this boot. As you might know, the 50 Campfires team loves wool – and the execution inside this Lost 40 boot is no exception. Awesome!
The Vasque Lost 40 boots are light. Don’t get me wrong – these aren’t flip-flops, but they definitely don’t add unnecessary bulk to your feet in the winter. I often feel like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man – but these boots kept the bulk to a minimum.
The Vasque Lost 40 boots are built for snow and ice. I mean built! They’re centered over the Vibram Icetrek traction compound outsole, and feature an underfoot insulation and thermal barrier that keeps the cold off your feet. Like I mentioned earlier, I wore these boots ice fishing – and didn’t loose any feeling (which is rare for me).
What could be improved:
One of the upsides of this boot, is the height. You can plow through snow banks without worrying about freezing your ankles. On the flip side, it makes these boots difficult to get on – especially if you wear a larger size like I do. I’ve got a size 13 foot, which meant that by the time my toes touched the footbed, I had a hard time making the “turn” into the boot. A friend with the same size foot had an easier time – meaning that this issue is pretty specific to foot size and arch.
Overall, these are the boots a Midwesterner’s dreams are made of. Warm, light – wool. If you’re in the market for a solid pair of winter snow & ice boots – you might’ve just found your dream pair.