Sierra Designs Down Booties Review
As someone whose extremities are always ice-cold no matter the weather, the idea of down booties as an addition to my gear arsenal — especially as winter rolls in — was quite enticing. The Sierra Designs Down Booties claim to be “your foot’s new BFF,” recently upgraded with more colors, more inclusive sizing, and a modified outsole to increase tread and durability. So of course, I had to try these plush outdoor slippers for myself.
After weeks of romping around in the snow, ice, and cold of Colorado’s high country, I can’t claim they’re my foot’s ride-or-die just yet. However, these ultra-warm insulated slippers are certainly a luxury I would not want to live without. Think of these booties as mini sleeping bags for your feet.
For backpackers embarking on an overnight trip where the temps will drop, folks who look forward to an annual ski hut trip, or thru-hikers who see the value in a luxury item splurge, these down booties will be a great addition to your packing list.
Sierra Designs Down Booties At-a-Glance
Weight: 9.5 ounces (Size Medium)
Fill: 550-fill DriDown
Materials: 100% Polyester Tricot Liner and 50% Recycled Nylon Ripstop Shell with PFC Free DWR
Circumstance of Review
I tested these booties in the coldest weather Colorado could muster from late fall through December, with temperatures ranging from low 20s to 40s Fahrenheit.
The booties were utilized to traverse through fresh pow to chop wood on a backcountry hut trip atop Vail Pass, across frozen ground at camp after long days of hiking on cool autumn eves, and were frequently stashed in my bag as belay booties for days at the crag while climbing both rock and ice.
READ NEXT — Is a Winter AT Thru-Hike Right for You?
Sierra Designs Down Booties Features
- Silicone Bottom Sole: Sierra Designs effectively enhanced the versatility of this footwear compared to its competitors by incorporating a grippy, silicone sole for traction and durability. These booties can be worn on a variety of terrain and the company even claims they can serve as an impromptu shoe for around town, inside or out.
- Durable Shell: For a lightweight material, the double ripstop shell, made with 50% recycled nylon, felt strong against the outdoor elements, which can stand more wear and tear than a more fragile ultralight fabric.
- Tricot Liner: The soft inner liner of the booties enhances comfort and feels smooth against the skin, while allowing your feet to breathe and wick away any moisture.
- Cinch Cord Cuff: A feature that’s easy to overlook is the added cinch cord at the ankle cuff to seal in warmth, keep out drafts, and ensure total insulation.
You could arguably bring any ol’ pair of house slippers on your next winter backpacking trip. However, if you’re seeking an option that’s both lightweight and packable, these down booties are a no-brainer.
Thus, for insulated slippers, the biggest takeaway when testing this product was how warm my toesies truly stayed. Sierra Designs delivers on this front, with their 550-fill DriDown insulation to ensure a cozy footwear experience. Testing these water-repellent booties in freshly fallen snow or traipsing around the wooden floors of an old, historic hut before the morning fire roared, I felt as if a cloud of warmth enveloped my feet.
Sierra Designs Down Booties Pros
Grippy Bottom Soles
One of the quirks of most other down booties is that they’re typically only built for indoor lounging, with outside-the-tent activities a big no-no. Rather than needing to pack two separate camp shoes, I love that these down booties are thoughtfully crafted to withstand outdoor terrain. While I won’t recommend swapping your trail runners for these slippers just yet, they’re certainly capable of short jaunts around your campsite, and I can guarantee you won’t want to take these off every morning.
At $79.95, these fall right in the middle of the average cost for a similar product. While they may not necessarily be an essential item, you can find alternate options for significantly pricier tags.
Sierra Designs’ high-quality 550-fill DriDown ensures your feet stay toasty, no matter the occasion. Whether I was kicking through the snow, or wandering outside amidst cold temperatures for prolonged periods of time while setting up camp, my toes never felt like they were about to freeze.
Lightweight & Packable
Despite being non-essential, the Sierra Designs Down Booties pack down fairly small and weigh a mere 9 ounces, making them convenient for an overnight backpacking trip or thru-hike. Even with a little extra weight, I thanked myself in advance for packing these on especially chilly nights.
Survives Extra Wear and Tear
The durability of these booties’ outer material pleasantly surprised me, especially when compared to similar products. Most other down booties typically have a more fragile outer to maintain their ultralight status, but the Sierra Designs booties still manage to weigh next to nothing. Time will tell with these, but after packing them on numerous backpacking trips this fall and winter, I can toss them in my pack without worrying they’ll rip, and they still look brand new after multiple uses.
Responsibly Sourced Down
For my eco-conscious shoppers out there, Sierra Designs’ commitment to responsible sourcing and environmentally friendly processing is commendable. 100% of their down is responsibly sourced from certified farms and processed with environmentally-friendly detergents.
Sierra Designs Down Booties Cons
While the insulation and soft inner liner provide next-to-skin comfort, the build of the boot is a bit awkward. Their length seems to run small, while the soles are very wide. I found my foot sliding uncontrollably around in the booties despite the cinched ankle cuff, making it difficult to walk. Since the shoe’s heel is soft with no structure, they don’t provide much support to your foot, and I often had to readjust so that I wasn’t stepping off the footwear’s soles.
Not An Essential Item
As much as I loved indulging in having cozy feet on cold mornings, I can’t see these booties making the list of essentials for a thru-hike. They were quintessential for overnight backpacking endeavors or hut trips where I wasn’t so much of a stickler for weight. However, they feel unnecessary for a longer adventure, especially in warmer climates or during the summer months where I’d rather opt for a breathable camp shoe like my Crocs or Tevas.
Limitations of DWR
A DWR (Durable Water Repellant) treatment prevents the fabric from wetting out, and these booties most certainly withstood sporadic snowy conditions. Sierra Designs uses a PFC-free coating, which omits harmful chemicals that raise serious health concerns. However, as with all water-resistant garments, the DWR coating still needs to be refreshed occasionally to ensure they repel moisture. That said, I can’t imagine too many scenarios where the booties are getting drenched in a storm.
READ NEXT — 10 Awesome Snow-Free Winter Thru-Hikes
The Sierra Designs Down Booties offer excellent value for those seeking ultimate warmth and comfort while lounging around camp. Despite the fit issues and their non-essential status for thru-hikes, these booties have proven to keep feet cozy. And for those who are willing to carry a little bit of extra weight for this comfort on a longer trek, they may just become your foot’s new best friend.
Comparable Insulated Booties
Feathered Friends Down Booties
Weight: 9.3 ounces
Insulation: 800 fill-power down
Western Mountaineering Standard Down Bootie
Weight: 6 ounces
Insulation: 800 fill-power down
Outdoor Research Tundra Trax Booties
Weight: 19.7 ounces
Insulation: Synthetic PrimaLoft Gold
Enlightened Equipment Torrid Booties
Weight: 1.4-2.9 ounces
Insulation: Synthetic Climashield APEX
The Sierra Designs Down Booties were donated for the purpose of review.
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