Friday, January 05, 2018

Gear Closet: Under Armour Fat Tire Govie SE Winter Boots

If you live in the eastern half of the U.S., chance are you know that winter has arrived with a vengeance. Cold conditions have struck the country and the so-called "bomb cyclone" has dropped plenty of snow and ice on the New England states, bringing high winds and nasty conditions with it. If you've been living in those conditions for the past few days, chances are you're in need of a good pair of winter boots to see you through not only those current conditions, but the rest of the long winter that still sits ahead. Fortunately, there are some good options out there, including the new Fat Tire Govie SE from Under Armour, which features the Boa Lacing System.

Built like an indestructible tank, these boots are jam-packed with a lot of nice features, starting with the impressive Boa laces. For those who haven't used the Boa system before, it incorporates a set of thin, stainless steel laces - wrapped in a protective casing – with a set of lace guides on the boot. The steel cables run through a special dial that allows the wearer to set the exact fit they need. You simply pull the boots onto your feet, press down on the dial to click it into place, and twist the knob to tighten the laces to your desired level. Once the fit is adjusted to your specific needs you are free to go about your business without worrying that the laces might come undone or the shoe will loosen up as you wear it. When you're ready to take them off, just pop up on the dial for an instant release.

Boa got its start on snowboard boots and they have transitioned very well to other winter footwear as well. On the Fat Tire Govie SE, the system feels right at home. In fact, I was able to tighten the boot down to meet my personal fit needs better than any other winter snow boot that I've ever worn. While turning the Boa dial, the entire shoe closes up around your foot, providing a snug, but comfortable fit that once set remains firmly in place.

Speaking of fit, when I first pulled the Govie SE on, I thought that they were a bit too tight for my needs. Out of the box they felt a little stiff and I was wondering if I should have gone up a half-size just to provide a bit of extra room. Granted, I was wearing thicker winter socks at the time, but even still it felt a bit confining. But after wearing them for a bit, the shoes began to loosen up some and I soon found they were comfortable and easy to wear for prolonged periods of time. The Boa laces allowed me to continue to get the fit I needed, even as the boot wore in some.

When designing the Fat Tire Govie SE, Under Armour incorporated an outsole designed by Michelin, hence the "Fat Tire" moniker. This sole provides good traction on snow and ice, making it easy to walk on slick surfaces. It also pairs nicely with a set of snowshoes for those backcountry excursions. In recent years, Michelin has begun to give Vibram a run for its money in the outsole department, and its "Wild Gripper" option is put to good use on these boots.

The Govie SE also features a Gore-Tex liner that keeps moisture at bay and an OrthoLite insole for extra padding on the inside. The result is a winter boot that should keep your feet warm and dry in all but the most extreme conditions, including deep snow, puddles, streams, and mud.

What I really liked about the Govie SE is that it maintains Under Armour's sense of athleticism that is found across the company's entire product line. The boot is relatively lightweight, easy to move in, and functions well in a variety of winter activities. You can wear this boot on day hikes for example or take it on a snowshoeing adventure into the backcountry. It is comfortable enough to wear around town or at your winter campsite without compromising comfort in any way.

Be warned however, this boot is definitely designed for use in colder conditions and if your feet tend to run warm, you may find them to be a bit much in temperatures above freezing. That said, they perform well in the cold, particularly if you are on an active outing.

One of the challenges that I often have with wearing winter boots is that they aren to always easy to get off and on. The Boa Lacing System helps in that department too, as it is easy to open the boots up wide, slip your feet in, and seal it up in matter of seconds. The same is true when it comes time to take them off, as it is a simple affair to pop the dial, which automatically loosens the laces, and slip the boots from your feet.

Priced at $220 the Under Armour Fat Tire Govie SE are a bit on the pricey side. Some of that comes from incorporating the Boa system, which always adds a bit of extra cost compared to standard laces. But, if you're an outdoor lover who enjoys the winter as much as the other seasons, these boots are a worthy investment – especially since they can be found online at a decent discount.

This is an athletic boot that provides a lot of warmth and comfort during the season that you need it most. It performs well in a variety of conditions and offers lots of support and traction on all types of surfaces. The Gore-Tex shell insures your feet stay dry no matter where you go, which is something we can all appreciate.

According to the calendar, we still have more than 2.5 months of winter left. If you need some boots to see you through, the Fat Tire Govie SE gets a big thumbs up from this reviewer.

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