Hiking boots might be the single most important piece of gear you bring with you on the trail. Between stepping on rocks, through streams, or simply taking 15,000 steps, your feet are going to get a workout. The right footwear can make the difference between an amazing day and four hours of misery. So when I was sent a pair of Kodiak Stave hiking boots to try out and review I was excited to put them through their paces. (Pun totally intended!). I had previously hiked in Kodiak’s Skogan boot and have a detailed review of that here. I will be doing some comparison to the two boots in this review.
Kodiak Boots is a Canadian company that has been doing footwear forever but if you aren’t familiar with them an excellent blogger wrote a piece on them here. It’s me. I wrote the piece. My absolutely favorite pair of winter boots are made by Kodiak Boots . I also had really good luck with the Skogan boot so I was excited to give the Stave a try.
As a disclaimer I would like to mention that I have an affiliate agreement with Kodiak Boots and any purchase you make from this website may result in me getting a small commission. They also sent me these boots to review. All opinions on this page are my own and based on my own experiences with this pair of shoes. I am not compensated for the opinions on this review. Your experience with the shoes may be completely different.
Table of contents
- Hiking Boots
- Kodiak Stave
- What I liked
- The Grip
- The Pad
- What I didn’t Like
- Video Review of the Kodiak Stave
- Wrap Up of Kodiak Stave Hiking Boot
- More from the Fatman
Before I get into my opinions I wanted to share some of the specs on the Stave.
According to KodiakBoots.com the Stave is for, “Exploring the natural world and doing our part to preserve it come together in the eco-considered Stave hiking boot. Waterproof, insulated and built with recycled content and low-impact materials from the bottom up, it reliably delivers performance and comfort on and off the trail.”
I really like that Kodiak continues the efforts to be eco-considered with recycled materials and still produce a great boot. Here are the specs from the Kodiak Website:
7, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10, 10.5, 11, 12, 13
- Premium full grain waterproof leather and suede hiker
- Waterproof and breathable, seam-sealed membrane
- 100% recycled plastic lining
- 100% recycled mesh collar and tongue bottom
- 50% recycled plastic lace
- PrimaLoft® P.U.R.E.™ insulation
- Classic D-ring and quick-hook rust-resistant hardware
- Kodiak® Comfortzone™ ECO Footbed
- Lightweight compression molded EVA midsole
- Slip Resistant Rubber Outsole
Dark Brown, Storm Cloud
*All spec information from Kodiakboots.com at time of this posting and are subject to change.
What I liked
I really like the Kodiak Stave boots. This is my second pair of Kodiak hikers so I knew what to expect and wasn’t disappointed. The Stave is a sturdier boot than I had in the past. It felt like the leather was thicker and just made for a tough and strong boot. The extra sturdiness didn’t come at a cost in fit, grip, or overall performance though. Here is a break down of what I liked about this boot.
The Stave is a really comfortable boot. It fit my foot really well and seemed to have a wider toe box than the Skogan did. It also feels that the kick pad is a bit wider in the Stave which gives better protective cover over the toes while hiking. My foot doesn’t feel cramped at all which leads to a very comfortable hike.
The boot is very thick and sturdy and feels indestructible on the foot. The extra leather does make the boot a little heavier but nothing that is uncomfortable if you are used to boots to hike in. Overall a really nice fit.
While a lot of hiking boots are going to a thinner style the Stave looks and feels like a boot. The thicker leather and suede construction gives it a more of a, “I’m hear to finish this trail” feel. As more of a grinder hiker who is working for every foot of elevation I love this look. I got them in brown and immediately covered them in a layer of dirt like any good hiker does and still really love the look. It just feels like me!
The grip on a hiking boot or shoe needs to be able to keep you upright on the trail. If you feel like you are on roller blades than the boot isn’t working out. This can be more or less important depending on what type of trails you hike but in Colorado with a lot of rocky surfaces the grip becomes very important.
On a slip scale from worst to best of: Oh-HOLY COW–NO NO NO, Woah, Not Bad, I Got This, No Worries!
- Flat Dry ground that is dirt or rock: No Worries
- Flat ground that is a little damp or muddy: I Got This
- Loose dirt: No Worries
- Walking across rock boulders: No Worries
- Declining down a flat rock: No Worries
- Scree: Not Attempted
- When bottom of shoes are wet: I Got This
I feel really comfortable hiking in the Stave. The grip on rocks is really good and even down hill on rock faces the Stave really grips down on the rock for a confident feel. I haven’t found a terrain that I had issues with yet in the boots. Here is a bit of a more specific breakdown.
I was really impressed with the bouldering grip on these boots. They held tight on a rock way past a 45 degree angle when I was testing them. They also did really well on odd shapes and sizes of rock that I was walking on. Even when the boots were turned sideways on rocks and weren’t flush and flat they had good grip.
Snow, Slush, Ice
I have done several hikes in the snow and slush and the boots handle it very well. They do perform better with snow than the wet slick slush but that can be expected. On the snow the boot digs in and holds the snow without much sliding. This is especially true on the heel which really does a good job of holding in place on snow.
Slush is always interesting to walk on because you don’t know how much is ice underneath and how much is just melted on the top. I have found the tread in the Stave to do a good job of repelling the wetter slush. While I did slip a bit more on slush than in snow, it was an acceptable amount and expected based on the physics of slushy trails.
As far as ice goes I just have this to say. If you are going to hike on ice make sure to use some sort of microspike or yak track or something to help with your traction. There is not a shoe on earth that doesn’t have a cleat or spike that performs well on ice without a traction assist.
One of the things that I thought was lacking a bit on the Skogan was how they performed with damp tread. For instance if you stepped in a stream and then onto a rocky surface they would get a little slick. I have found that the Stave perform much better in this regard. I will say that my damp tread is due to slush and snow instead of streams but the boot seems to hold on even if it is a little damp much better than I was expecting.
The Stave works really well on dry ground. Be it dirt, rocks, or a combination of both the grip and traction is outstanding. Before the snows came in I hiked a bunch of trails that were mostly dirt with a ton of rocks embedded. There was no difference in my traction when moving from the dirt to rocks. The boot held tight to both the rough dirt and smooth rocks. The only little stumble I have had was on loose rock on a down hill grade. That had nothing to do with the boot and everything to do with me stepping in the wrong spot.
I hate mud, mud is terrible. So, I am not going to judge any shoe on how they handle mud. I would rather walk on snow and ice than a trail that is 2 inches of mud that slips and slides underfoot.
Along with grip I think the next most important part of a good hiking boot is to have a comfortable walk. I mentioned the extra leather and how the Stave is a bit sturdier than some of the other boots I have hiked in. Well that goes for the padding as well. I have had some really comfortable hikes in these boots even though I have been hiking on rocky surfaces a lot.
When the snow comes down and covers the trail it seems like it will lead to a softer hike in general. That is true with enough snow but when the snow is moderate it just means that rocks and roots are going to be covered. I kicked a completely covered stone and I thought for sure I had broken my toe but I had no damage or pain to bone or shoe other than a scuff to the toe leather.
The hidden rocks and even the exposed rocks are barely felt in the Stave. I have walked on some gnarly rocks that usually could be felt as pressure in the bottom of the foot but with these boots I haven’t really felt anything. Just one thing less to worry about on the trails. High marks for the padding!
I received my Stave boots in the late fall or early winter. That time of year is the dry season in Colorado so I haven’t been able to hike in a ton of water situations. I have been able to hike in a lot of snow and slush though.
With snow and slush you need really good waterproofing because the snow will stick or clump to the material and mold around the foot. That means longer time against the surface of the boot with no time to dry off unlike walking through puddles etc. The Stave does a great job of staying dry. I have been buried up to my ankles plodding through the snow for a couple hours with no issues with dampness soaking through.
I was really impressed with the seams and how tight everything fits to not allow a single drop to get through the boots. Walking through snow might as well be walking through sand with these boots on.
What I didn’t Like
While overall I really enjoy the Kodiak Stave hiking boot, they take away my blogger card if I don’t find something to complain about. I have a couple of small things that I wanted to bring up that I didn’t love.
First off is the hooks for the laces at the top of the boot. The top hook catches the lace really easily and ends up in perfect position almost always. The issue that I have found is that the bottom of the two hooks come at a natural bend point in the seam and it causes the lace to miss that hook or slip out sometimes while lacing. I have found that this happens to me more often when I do a cross lace (inside to outside or vice versa.) The hook isn’t defective and when the lace gets placed properly it holds perfectly. I have just found that the lace has a tendency to skate off the hook so keep that in mind when lacing so you get the proper support.
The second thing that I wanted to mention is that the Stave doesn’t do quite as good of a job on the heel capture as the Skogan did. I only find this when I am on steep inclines usually that are rocky.
The Skogan hugged my heel a little tighter on those inclines than the Stave does. I wouldn’t call it a slip, and there isn’t a rub that would cause a blister. More of just in the Skogan the heel felt locked tight where as the Stave leaves a little room for slight movement.
This might just be a comfort thing for me and it might actually be something that you like better with a little bit of give. I also only get the sensation on steep sections. On flat ground it holds the foot well. This one is really minor to me but I did want to mention it.
Video Review of the Kodiak Stave
Wrap Up of Kodiak Stave Hiking Boot
I had pretty high expectations of the Stave after hiking the entire summer in the Skogan‘s from Kodiak Boots. After putting the first pair through literal paces, I was hoping to like the new Stave‘s half as much. I like them as much if not more!
The Stave took everything that I liked and also improved on a the few things that I had issues with. I really love the sturdy feel and look to the Stave. I can get pretty rough on my boots so I expect them to be tough and so far so good.
The boot fits really well and I really like the slightly wider toe box that lets my foot feel really comfortable. I also like that the traction seems to be a little bit better or at least it is doing really well in the winter weather conditions. It is also a nice and warm boot. Paired with a wool sock and I am very comfortable walking in snow and below freezing temperatures.
My only small concerns are with the lace hook and a bit on the heel capture. The lace hook works fine once you get the lace into it but it can take a little extra time to get the lace in. The heel capture on inclines is good, just not quite as good as it was on the Skogans.
Overall, I would highly recommend the Stave for all of your hiking needs. Long or short and a variety of terrains are all easy handled with this boot. Plus, they are good boot for winter hiking as well.
More from the Fatman
For a list of other products that I have reviewed you can check my Product Review page here. If you have any products you would like me to review or any comments you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow me on any of the below social media platforms. Happy Hiking!