Kodiak Boots Review: Canada’s Boot? We’re Not Convinced

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by  William Barton | Last Updated: 
Kodiak Boots Review Rover II Magog Kodiak Boots Logo

When you’re in need of a winter boot, the wrong choice will leave you with wet and freezing feet—not to mention a bum pair of shoes. While Kodiak claims to be the champ of winter footwear, simple marketing boasts aren’t going to cut it for me.

In my Kodiak Boots review, I put two of the brand’s most popular boots to the test to see if this Canadian boot brand is worth its weight in maple syrup.

Winter is Coming
Review Feature Image/Icon Image source: Kodiak

Kodiak

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Bottom line: Kodiak boots fit a bit on the small size (especially if you’re wearing thick socks in winter), but they’re plenty warm, waterproof, and have excellent grip on their outsoles, so they’re a tremendous value-pick for winter.

Ratings:

At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Design At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Quality of Materials At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Craftsmanship At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Fit & Sizing At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon
At a Glance Feature Image/Icon  Value for Money At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon At a Glance Feature Image/Icon

Pros:

  • Both boots are fully lined and have Thinsulate insulation so they’ll keep your toes toasty even in negative temperatures
  • Each boot features a removable EVA insole, which is comfortable on its own, but also allows you to add your own insert for maximum comfort
  • Vibram outsoles have a ton of grip, and the Arctic Grip outsole on the Chelsea boot is phenomenal for stability---even on ice
  • The leather for both is treated with SaltShield and REPEL-X, so they’re waterproof and resist unsightly salt stains

Cons:

  • They fit snugly---I recommend going a half-size up if you plan on wearing thick wool socks

I used to work as a dishwasher at a Chili’s in Victorville, California. 

If you’re familiar with Victorville, please leave your condolences for me in the comments below. 

Part of my job was to rinse the floor mats with a high-power hose, and I thought wet, squishy socks were just an occupational hazard. Little did I know there was such a thing as waterproof boots. 

With a wet winter underway, I went searching for the boot I wish I had back when I was 16: affordable, warm, and waterproof. 

That’s when I came across Kodiak Boots

I tried two of the brands most popular styles: the Magog, and the Rover II Arctic Grip Winter Chelsea. Keep reading to see how Kodiak stacks up against their competition. 

What Is Kodiak Boots?

Kodiak Boots rover ii on ice

Kodiak was born in 1910 in Ontario, Canada, and the brand touts itself as “Canada’s boot brand.”

And looking through their history, they have a pretty good point. For a period, they were the official boot of the Canadian military, and from the late 50s on, they’ve been producing hardworking boots for hunting, fishing, and strolling city streets. 

Kodiak Boots black magog closeup

Kodiak boots are affordable—with all models under $200, and many under $100. But just because they’re affordable doesn’t mean they skimp on features. 

The brand has taken to using Vibram rubber soles for their hardier boots, which is a big bonus in my eyes as I’ve never had a bad experience with a Vibram sole. 

Beyond the quality sole, their boots are designed to keep your feet dry and warm, with Thinsulate insulation, full lining for comfort, and waterproof welts. 

Things to Consider Before Buying from Kodiak Boots

model wearing Kodiak Boots rover 2 arctic grip chelsea boot

Having been in the boot game for a while now, I have a pretty clear idea of where Kodiak stands. 

The big draw to Kodiak is that they’re really warm, waterproof, and have top-notch outsoles, which is super helpful for grip on snowy and rainy days. The two models I tried are also pretty stylish. And the whole package is very affordable, especially considering the quality of materials. 

But the big negative is that the outsoles are cemented, rather than storm welted or Goodyear welted. I doubt that these will last beyond five years of semi-regular wear. If you wear these every day through winter, my timeline shrinks down to two years. 

Kodiak Boots winter chelsea boot

That’s not a bad thing, really, because you’re paying less than $200. But your biggest consideration should be how much you’re willing to invest. If you’re willing to drop $300-$400 for a pair of winter boots, there are a few options that can last a lifetime. 

Though I totally understand a $300-$400 boot purchase might not fit the budget at the moment. In that case, I think Kodiak has stellar winter boot options for under $200. 

Kodiak Rover II Arctic Grip Chelsea Boot Review

Kodiak Boots rover against rusty metal

I’m going to kick my review off with the Rover II Winter Chelsea Boot because it’s my favorite of the two. It’s a solid value-based winter boot that makes me feel Danish for some reason. Why, you ask? There’s only one way to find out. 

First Impression

Kodiak Boots rover 2 winter chelsea boot with Vibram arctic grip sole

The Rover II is a hybrid between a pull-on winter boot and a Chelsea Boot, but it certainly doesn’t have the sleek look that I normally see with Chelsea Boots. 

Instead, the toe is much more rounded, and it has a look reminiscent of Blundstone’s, with the dual pull tabs in front and back. 

Kodiak only offers the Rover II in black, and while I wasn’t sure I would like the rounded toe, I’ve been wearing these just about every day for the past two weeks (the weather has been terrible and cold). 

They’re definitely winter boots, and I don’t think they’ll carry over well into summer. While Blundstone’s look good year-round, they have that unique Aussie look where rules don’t necessarily apply. For the Canadian Kodiak, I can’t say the same. 

Kodiak Boots rover 2 chelsea boot

I’m sorry, Canada, but you just can’t pull off the same sun-fried, wild-eyed style like Australia. 

Still, I really enjoy the style of the Rover II and they’ve been getting plenty of use.

The Rover II also features 400g of 3M Thinsulate Insulation, which is plenty to keep my toes toasty in freezing weather. Kodiak says these can keep your feet warm down to negative 20F and I believe them, though I’m grateful I haven’t had to test that. 

Leather 

Kodiak Boots waterproof chelsea boots

The leather is waterproofed, though it’s fairly thin. I must have kicked something because I already have a gouge on my right foot, which is a bit of a bummer. 

Considering the price of this boot, it’s not surprising that the leather is as thin as it is, but it’s important to note if you’re planning on buying these for heavy working conditions. 

When I was working as a coffee roaster, these would have been torn up in a few weeks (I could never figure out those big warehouse dollies and would always run them over my feet). 

Still, the waterproofing is fantastic on the Rover II and the leather has gone through several rain storms already without any issues. 

Sole

Kodiak Boots rover 2 vibram arctic grip sole

The sole of the Rover II is magical. Decked out with a Vibram Arctic Grip sole, this is the best boot I have for snowy and icy conditions. 

The Vibram Arctic Grip sole has a unique gritty texture on some of the lugs that gives it sticking power even on ice. It’s pretty incredible. 

Now this Arctic Grip sole isn’t unique to Kodiak or the Rover II, and I think there are better boots out there with the same Vibram Arctic Grip sole. But my favorite also costs twice the amount or the Kodiak Rover II. 

Kodiak Boots rover II arctic grip vibram chelsea boot

Not to give my verdict away, but the Rover II is my favorite low-cost winter boot because it’s so affordable and still features the best winter outsole in the game.

The insole is a removable foam insert, and while it’s nothing to write home about, I like that it’s removable. 

I popped my Tread Labs insoles into these right away and have been loving the extra support and comfort. 

Fit & Sizing

Kodiak Boots rover 2 tackling tough terrain

Kodiak recommends you buy your true size (i.e. if you’re a size 11 in sneakers, get a size 11 in these boots). 

Even then, they fit a big snug, especially if you’re going to wear thick wool socks. 

I don’t mind it, and it’s not uncomfortable, but if you’re on the borderline, maybe size up a half-size.

Kodiak Rover II Arctic Grip Winter Chelsea Boot

With its high performing Vibram Arctic Grip outsole, I think the Rover II is a really solid offer for a winter boot. It has been my go-to for the coldest months of the year because of the 400g of insulation and that awesome sole. I like the style and its winter performance is fantastic, so it’s a winner for me.

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Kodiak Magog Waterproof Boot Review

Kodiak Boots magog closeup against graffiti

The Kodiak Magog looks a lot like a Timberland Premium 6-inch, but there are a few differences that separate the two. 

First Impression

Kodiak Boots waterproof magog boot

When I first opened the box, I was surprised at how much these look like classic Timbs. Even down to the hexagonal eyelets. 

The Magog features waterproof leather, a cemented bonwelt construction, heavy rubber lug sole, and a padded suede cuff.

The style is a blend of workwear and streetwear, so I can see construction workers and hipsters both embracing this boot. I picked mine up in black because I feel like winter boots should be black. If you feel that way too, holler at me in the comments. 

Kodiak Boots black leather waterproof upper magog

The Rover II has 400g of insulation, but the Magog only features 200g of 3M Thinsulate insulation. The Timberland Premium also features 400g of insulation. 

This can either be a positive or negative: if you want to wear the Magog exclusively in the winter, you’re going to lose a bit of warmth (though even at freezing temperatures, I was never uncomfortable). But if you want to wear the Magog year round, you’ll be much more comfortable in warmth because your feet aren’t completely snuggled in insulation. 

Leather

Kodiak Boots black waterproog magog 1

The Magog features a waterproofed nubuck leather. Like the Rover II, it’s a bit thin, but it gets the job done. And I love the waterproofing. 

The quality of this leather is comparable to the Timberland Premium, though the Magog costs half the price, so the value is real. 

Where I think Kodiak beats out Timberland (besides price) is in the cuff. The padded ankle features a rough out suede leather that both looks cool and should last much longer than the thin leather of the Timberland cuff. 

Sole

Kodiak Boots magog sole tread

Kodiak uses their own heavy rubber lug sole for the Magog. The rubber is pretty soft, so it does well on wet concrete and the lugs should perform well in snow. 

One of the issues you’ll face with bonwelted boots (and this is true for the Rover II) is that once the sole wears out, you don’t have a good chance of resoling them. 

Because the outsole is cemented and not stitched, cobblers have a much greater chance of ruining the leather on bottom. Many won’t take your boot, and those that will are careful not to make promises. 

Kodiak Boots magog rubber sole in water

For a ~$100 boot, I’m confident that I won’t ever want to resole this boot, so it isn’t a huge deal to me, but it’s important to know before buying. 

Like the Rover II, the Magog has a removable foam insole, which is decent. I took it out immediately and popped in my Tread Labs because they’re some of the best insoles you can get.

Kodiak Magog Waterproof Boot

With its waterproof leather and construction, Thinsulate insulation, and sturdy outsoles, the Magog is a great alternative to the Timberland Premium, though I’m not sure I would pay the full $175 price tag for it. If you can find it under $150 (which is really common---you can even get past season Magog’s through Kodiak for $100), then it’s definitely worthwhile.

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What do Other Reviewers Think About Kodiak Boots?

There are reviews for Kodiak Boots spread far and wide, from retailers to blogs to Amazon. I spent the better part of an hour reading through them all so I could compress it down to a few sentences for you. 

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It seems Kodiak had some quality control issues in the past where certain components would break instantly. Judging by more recent reviews, those issues seem to be resolved now. For my two boots, I haven’t had any problems, even after putting them through the paces in the rain and snow. 

My Thoughts Overall On Kodiak Boots

What I Like

  • Both the Rover II and Magog features excellent outsoles. The Vibram Arctic Grip is my favorite winter outsole by a longshot—it performs incredibly well on ice and snow.

  • Kodiak uses 3M Thinsulate insulation, which is another bonus in the winter boot category and keeps my feet plenty warm in freezing temps.

  • With fully waterproof leather and construction, they’re a top pick for rainy days.

  • The price is solid considering the quality—they’re a good value-pick.

What I Don’t Like

  • The leather is a bit thin and can gouge somewhat easily if you’re not careful.

  • The bonwelted construction can’t be resoled easily.

Who is Kodiak for?

Kodiak boots are a good choice for anyone looking to get their first winter boot but don’t want to spend a ton of money. If you prioritize toasty toes and a well-kept budget, Kodiak is right for you.

The Verdict

The Rover II Arctic Grip Winter Chelsea Boot is my favorite of the two Kodiak boots I own. I like that both the Rover and Magog have waterproof leather and construction, plenty of insulation for freezing days, and sturdy outsoles. 

The Rover II has the Vibram Arctic Grip outsole, which is the best performing winter outsole I’ve ever tried. And the Rover is also the most affordable boot I’ve seen with that particular outsole. 

The boot has its issues with thinner leather and a lackluster insole (but you can remove the insole and add your own if you find it uncomfortable). 

Still, I think the Rover II is a really solid offer for a winter boot, and it has been my go-to for the coldest months of the year because of the 400g of insulation and that awesome sole. I like the style and its winter performance is fantastic, so it’s a winner for me.

The Magog is a great alternative to the Timberland Premium, though I’m not sure I would pay the full $175 price tag for it. If you can find it under $150 (which is really common—you can even get past season Magog’s through Kodiak for $100), then it’s definitely worthwhile.

Kodiak Rover II Arctic Grip Winter Chelsea Boot

With its high performing Vibram Arctic Grip outsole, I think the Rover II is a really solid offer for a winter boot. It has been my go-to for the coldest months of the year because of the 400g of insulation and that awesome sole. I like the style and its winter performance is fantastic, so it’s a winner for me.

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Kodiak Magog Waterproof Boot

With its waterproof leather and construction, Thinsulate insulation, and sturdy outsoles, the Magog is a great alternative to the Timberland Premium, though I’m not sure I would pay the full $175 price tag for it. If you can find it under $150 (which is really common---you can even get past season Magog’s through Kodiak for $100), then it’s definitely worthwhile.

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For the visual version of this review, check out this video from our our YouTube channel below:

FAQs

Are Kodiak Boots waterproof?

Yes, Kodiak Boots are completely waterproof. The leather is treated with waterproofing agents and the sole features a waterproof construction.

Are Kodiak Boots made in Canada?

Kodiak makes a few models in Canada, though most of their production is in both China and Vietnam.

Are Kodiak Boots warm?

Kodiak Boots are very warm. With a minimum of 200g 3M Thinsulate insulation, they’ve been keeping my toes toasty in freezing temperatures.

3 Things Every Boot Wearer Should Own

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