With such diverse terrain from lava fields to glaciers, Iceland was the perfect testing ground for the new Kodiak Skogan waterproof hiking boots.
In August, 2021, I took my family on a 10 day vacation to Iceland where everything we did was outside. Hiking, beaches, a live volcano, sightseeing, puffins, waterfalls, sheep, fishing villages, horses, glaciers, and city streets — we did it all!
The Kodiak Skogans were the only boots I wore the whole trip and this is my feet-on review.
The Kodiak Skogan Mid Waterproof Hikers are fantastic for day hikes, family hikes, camping, and travel. With athletic shoe comfort, these boots are more multi-purpose than others in their class. Though not a good pick for backpacking or wide feet, they are a solid all around boot worth buying for average outdoorsmen.
After many miles walking in the Kodiak Skogans in all sorts of weather and terrain, I can genuinely say that I recommend these hiking boots.
Read on and I’ll tell you all about them in this detailed review, which even includes some rigorous waterproofing experiments.
Kodiak Skogan Review
Let it be known that Kodiak gave me these boots to try out and review. The links in this article are affiliate links which means if you click on one and end up buying something, we may get a commission. In any case, this review reflects my own opinions based on actually using the boots. Nobody paid for my favorable opinion and this article is not sponsored.
In the following review of the Kodiak Skogan Mid Waterproof Hiker, I share my firsthand experience and thoughts on the following criteria:
- Fit and comfort
- Competition and class
How Do the Kodiak Skogans Fit?
Overall, the Kodiak Skogan Mid boots felt great on the first fit. The laces tightened up nicely, they were super cushy, and the break-in period was almost non-existent. They felt true to size with no slippage of the foot or obvious rub points.
First impressions are everything for me when I try on a pair of shoes. Generally speaking, I will not buy any boots or shoes that do not feel good the first time I put them on. The Kodiak Skogans passed the test.
The Kodiak Skogan Mid Waterproof Hiker is available for men in sizes ranging from 7-13 US.
My typical shoe size is 10.5 US (44 EUR), sometimes 11 depending on the shoe. I got the Skogans in 10.5 and on the tongue of the boots they translated that to 43.5 EUR. I guess not everyone converts sizes the same way.
The boots do seem to fit true to size, as the 10.5 was a perfect fit for me. My feet are a bit narrower than average, which jives with how Kodiak says these boots fit.
My toes fill up the toe bay, with just enough room to splay out. They don’t slide around or bang against the ends. Everything was looking good after my first downhill test. This is how hiking boots should fit.
Putting Them On
The Kodiak Skogan Mid Hikers have loops on the heels to help pull the boots on. The loops are practical and big enough to fit a finger in so you can easily get the boots on without crushing the upper. Many manufacturers have done away with these because of looks, I guess. Thank you Kodiak for favoring practicality!
When I put the Skogan boots on for the first time they fit snug, but not too tight. I hate tight. So much so that I tie the laces loose enough on all my street shoes that I can easily slip them on and off. That’s no good for hiking though, so I laced up the Skogans right away.
The lower laces tighten (and loosen) nice and easy. Being a mid-high boot, there are two lace hooks at the top. The lower hooks do a good job at locking in however tight you have the lower laces so you don’t need a third hand to tie your shoes. I did find the first lace hooks a little hard to catch though.
Even single-tied, the laces held tight all day and did not come loose easily. I liked the laces. They were thinner and lighter than some cheapo boot laces. Sort of like paracord compared to poly rope. Though these are flat and not round, which I like.
Are Kodiak Skogan Boots Comfortable?
The Skogans are, without question, extremely comfortable hiking boots. Granted, they are designed to be for light hiking as opposed to hard core backpacking. But even still, I think Kodiak did a nice job of making a hiking boot feel more like an athletic shoe.
What struck me most when I first put the Skogans on was that they are very lightweight at only 1 lb 2.5 oz (524 g) each. I have always thought of Kodiak as a maker of heavy duty work boots, so this was a pleasant surprise.
As soon as I stood up, the cushion hit me like a feather pillow. So soft! I was worried this would mean I would feel all the rocks beneath my feet, but not so.
The cushy KODIAK® Comfortzone® ECO footbed is apparently what makes for such a comfy fit right off the bat. The EVA midsole is compression molded and the insole adds to it. The end result is very plush.
To make sure the comfort was not a fluke, over the course of our Iceland trip I tried multiple different pairs of socks. I tried thick synthetic blend hiking socks, expensive performance athletic socks, and cheap worn out tube socks, each for two or more days. The Skogans felt good with every sock I wore.
Are Kodiak Boots Waterproof?
In all the marketing materials Kodiak put a big emphasis on the Skogan boots being waterproof. They even put a special tag right on the boot to point it out. We’ll see, I thought.
Some real world experiments seemed in order and Iceland offers plenty of water with which to test.
Test 1: Walked through a shallow stream.
- Feet not wet.
Test 2: Set a timer for one minute and stood in a slowly moving stream of water that went up to just below the laces.
- Could feel the cold temperature of the water, but no wetness.
- Didn’t want to go up to ankle, over laces, or longer in case it failed, because I still had the whole day ahead.
- No major discoloration of leather or boot afterwards.
Test 3: Waterproof endurance test in front of the famous mountain, Kirkjufell. Stood in water about 3-4″ (8-10 cm) deep and started a stopwatch planning to stay in there until my feet got wet.
- I got bored and the kids were antsy after 17 minutes, so I got out.
- Mesh toe showed some absorption and squeezed out a little water.
- Feet felt dry, definitely not wet.
- Took boots off and feet were slightly damp on top of toe where mesh is.
Result: PASS, but they are not wading boots.
Regarding Test 3, in real life there’s no reason I’d stand in water for that long, so they definitely pass the sniff test. However, over time I expect this will degrade and the boots will become less waterproof.
What Type of Waterproofing is Used
Kodiak uses some sort of waterproof membrane (not Gore-Tex) in their boots. It seems to me that the waterproofing is also bolstered by a treatment of the fabric and leather, though I could not confirm this.
Other waterproofing measures taken by Kodiak on the Skogan boots include:
- Rust resistant D-rings and hooks for the laces
- Premium full grain waterproof leather
- Breathable, waterproof membrane construction
- Sealed seams
Be aware that you can only go in water up to the laces. Any deeper, and water will pour in around the tongue which is not attached all the way to the top of the upper (see photo).
With prolonged submersion or trudging through really wet grass (think dew in a meadow in the morning), I think the water would get through and into these boots.
While I’m skeptical that the waterproofing will last as long as the boot itself, I am quite pleased with the waterproofing of the Kodiak Skogans for the type of boot they are. New out of the box, they got me through the rain, streams, beaches, and glacier lagoons of Iceland with dry feet.
I suspect the boots will need additional waterproofing treatments in time. But I suppose that is how most boots are. Even my 13 year old expensive Raichle (now Mammut) backpacking boots need to be treated with mink oil every year. And they are made from a single piece of leather with a Gore-Tex liner.
Traction Okay, Grip Amazing
The traction of the Kodiak Skogan Mid Hikers is just okay. The main reason being that the lugs on the outsoles just don’t dig deep enough in gravel, mud, or loose surfaces.
With all the volcanic activity in Iceland we were walking a lot on loose lava rock and granular substrates. Throughout the first week there I noticed I’d occasionally lose half a step, slipping backwards on loose dirt or rocks.
It really hit me when hiking on a steep section of trail up to the active Fagradalsfjall volcano. Thousands of people had been using this trail which passes through a very desert-like landscape to the tops of some foothills that sit next to the spewing caldera.
By the way, this was one of the most amazing sites I’ve ever seen, an active volcano spitting hot lava out in front of my eyes!
With so little vegetation and so much traffic, the dirt was really loose with lots of equally loose gravel and small rocks. This made for a trail that was easy to slip on.
For every step forward I was losing a half step or so on the steepest part of the trail. It wasn’t as bad for me as it was for my son in his cheap hiking shoes, but I would have lost less ground with some deeper and stiffer lugs.
On the flipside, I was very impressed by the grippiness of the soles. I usually wear Vans on a regular day. I like the grip they have, but I wouldn’t expect that on a hiking boot. It may not be skate shoe grippy, but the Skogan boot can hang onto a solid surface amazingly well.
Walking all over smooth boulders on a beach was steady. Some wet, some sandy, the boots held very well.
Unlike some heavier and stiff-soled backpacking boots, the Skogans grip nicely. This also made it quite comfortable to walk around downtown Reykjavik in the rain. You don’t have to worry about your feet slipping out from under you on slick sidewalks.
At Least Your Feet Will Look Good
If you think flannel looks good, then you’ll think Kodiak Skogan boots are sexy too.
I’ll be the first to admit I am not qualified in the arena of fashion. However, I do have a sense of what I think “looks good” as a well-fed, middle-aged man of the outdoors. So if that’s your flavor, then these boots look great!
Paired with plaid and blue jeans, you’re ready for an early night out with the old lady.
Or add some moisture-wicking synthetics for a day hike in warm weather. At least your feet will still look good.
They come in two color schemes: gold/blue or gray/teal. Mine are the gold and blue variety.
With the retro vibe and the recycled materials, I have a feeling Kodiak is even going after hipsters and millennials with these city-worthy hikers.
Kodiak made it a point to bring a lot of design elements from its old classic boots from back in the day into the Skogan. These look an awful lot like the first hiking boots I ever had when I was in Boy Scouts in the 1990’s and I love it.
Whether I was hiking trails around Iceland or strolling down the streets of Reykjavik, I felt like these boots were doing me a favor in the looks department.
As a map nerd, I’m especially a fan of the cool contours on the sole!
What I Didn’t Like
When brand new and all laced up for the first time, the top of the “mid-high” part of the boot seemed to dig into my skinny ankles. My left ankle ached a bit after a few hours of walking and driving. Nothing severe, just enough to bother me.
In the end I think I just tied the boots a bit too tight. Once I loosened them up that first afternoon, all was golden. That mid-high upper just needed a day or so to break in and I never thought about it for the rest of our trip.
The second minor issue I ran into was after the first day when we did a relatively easy hike in western Iceland on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. It was a beautiful coastline trail between two fishing villages, Arnarstapi and Hellnar, lined with unique rock formations.
The trail surface varied from compact sand and rubber mats to loose rocks and ruts. Out and back it was about a five mile hike and by the end I could tell I was developing a slight hot spot on the outside of my left pinky toe. This might have been due in part to the slightly narrower fit of the Skogan.
I was worried this would develop into a blister, but carried on anyway. The following day was one of waterfalls and sightseeing. We did lots of driving with walks to and around beautiful sites all day long. I could feel the hotspot from the day before, but the already slight discomfort waned even more.
When I put my boots on the morning of day three, I didn’t feel a thing. The issue never returned for the rest of the trip, even after more rigorous hikes. Safe to say it was a slight break-in issue that worked itself out in short order.
An Eco-friendly Boot
Kodiak has positioned the Skogan boots as its debut eco-friendly product that is part of its Built for What Matters™ initiative. The company is making an effort to use more recycled materials.
I first realized there was an enviro angle with these boots when I noticed the label on the footbed which read “KODIAK® Comfortzone® ECO” featuring “FATES.” Turns out FATES refers to the type of foam used which is made up largely of biomass.
Here are all the “environmentally considered” materials in the Skogan boots:
- Upper mesh is 100% recycled plastic
- Laces are 50% recycled fabric
- Lining is 100% recycled plastic
- Footbed is 70% plant-based biomass
- Leather is sourced from a tannery that conserves water and energy
- Lug outsole is made of 15% recycled regrind rubber
I think this is cool. Those of us who love the outdoors ought to buy products and support companies that make an effort to conserve resources. Harvesting used plastic for new manufacturing is a sensible way to keep that same plastic from harming fish and wildlife habitat. This is crucial to sustain outdoor recreation such as hunting and fishing for generations to come.
Where Are Kodiak Boots Made?
While Kodiak is known for being Canada’s boot maker, most of its manufacturing is done overseas. Like many manufacturers in the footwear and textile industry, they have a complex network of suppliers all over the world, particularly in Asia.
There was a period of time where Kodiak ceased all production in Canada, but they do currently manufacture some of their flagship products domestically.
The Kodiak Skogan boots are made in Cambodia.
How Do the Skogans Compare to Other Hiking Boots?
Compared to a high quality backpacking boot, the Kodiak Skogans have lots of seams as opposed to a single piece of leather. While heavier and more expensive, robust and seamless backpacking boots ensure waterproofness and longevity better than the Skogans.
Backpacking boots also have stiffer soles, more rugged tread, and better ankle support. This provides better foot support under a heavier load and in more diverse terrain. When on your foot, the Skogans feel closer to an athletic shoe than a backpacking boot.
There also exist even lighter duty hiking boots. The Kodiak Skogan Low Waterproof Hiker is a step down in terms of overall foot and ankle support, but remains a very nice shoe for light day hiking.
Many people wear trail running shoes when hiking because they are so lightweight and comfortable. I am one of those people. Before I got these Kodiaks, I typically wore Salomon trail shoes for most hiking I did. Going to the Skogan was a pleasant surprise as I got the additional support of a boot, but kept the comfort of my trail running shoe.
If you want to compare apples to apples, the following mid-high, waterproof hiking boots are in the same class and price point as the Skogan:
Among these, I’d say the Salomons are the closest to the Skogans due to the more athletic fit. The Keens and Merrells are more traditional than the Kodiaks in both construction and fit.
Unlike its competitors, the Skogans offer that cool retro look, an innovative comfort sole, and are super lightweight.
When to Choose Kodiak Skogan Boots
Thanks to their light weight, comfort, traction, and overall build quality, the Skogan boots are great for the following types of use:
- Day hikes
- Family hikes
- Beach and coastal hikes
- Short weekend backpacking trips (load not more than about 30 lbs)
- 3 season camping (not winter)
- Adventure travel
They are comfortable enough to wear all day around camp, around town, and out hiking. They breathe well and keep your feet from getting too hot. Even in a car or on an airplane your feet will feel good.
Because they are more multipurpose than many hiking boots, I loved them for traveling to and from Iceland. Plus they’re not heavy or bulky so they were easy to pack in my duffle bag.
Grippy outsoles with medium lugs make the Skogans great for walking on slippery boulders, beaches, and rainy city streets. The waterproofing will keep your feet dry in most rainy conditions or when trudging through puddles on a hike.
These boots are now my go to camping boots because they’re so versatile and comfy.
When NOT to Wear the Skogans
As much as I sincerely like these boots, there are plenty of times when I would not wear them. For example, they would be okay for some hunting trips, but there are better suited hunting boots out there.
Here are some activities where the Kodiak Skogans are not your best option:
- Extended backpacking trips with heavy loads
- Cold or snowy winter outings
- Hikes in really wet conditions
- Very steep, rocky, loose terrain
- Serious mountaineering
- Wide feet
- Weddings and formal events 😉
The Skogans are not designed to support a heavy load. That super cushy midsole would likely compress and degrade more quickly under a heavy load. I think the boot would wear out faster because of this.
To support a load and preserve your feet during extended backpacking trips, you want a stiffer midsole as well as heel and toe protection.
No insulation, shallow lugs, and mid-high uppers make the Skogans too cold, slick, and short for snow. Unless you are in a warm climate, these boots are a poor choice for winter.
While I haven’t tested it yet, I suspect the Skogan boots would be disappointing on muddy trails and in wet grass. The lugs aren’t deep enough to manhandle mud. And I’m not convinced the waterproofness would hold up and keep me dry walking through wet grass for a prolonged period of time.
The traction is great in a lot of areas, but not on steep trails with loose dirt and rocks. These boots are not even trying to be for serious mountain climbers.
If you have wide feet the toe box will probably feel too tight.
And your wife or mother will confirm, they don’t pair well with a tux.
Are Kodiak Skogan Mid Hikers Worth the Price?
Retail price on the Kodiak Skogans is $155. This is very comparable to similar hiking boots from other reputable brands as described previously.
When it comes to value, I think the quality, comfort, and utility are worth the price.
Will They Last?
I also like to look at how long they’ll last and my expectations are pretty high here. Only time will tell for the Skogans. However, looking at the build quality, I expect I’ll get several years of use out of them. Especially since I don’t wear them every day.
My main concern is how they will hold up over time, particularly the EVA midsole and the glue between the sole and the leather upper.
After 10 days of use in Iceland the tread has hardly worn at all, but I see some noticeable creases in the midsole and a touch of glue between the sole and the leather. This is normal, but it makes me wonder if that midsole will compress more rapidly like a running shoe as opposed to lasting years like a boot.
I expect the laces won’t last forever either, but that’s an easy fix.
Kodiak Boots Warranty
Kodiak’s warranty looks just okay. “Kodiak products are warranted to be free of defects in material and workmanship for 6 months from date of purchase.” As one would expect, regular wear and tear, abuse, neglect, and more aren’t covered.
You don’t have to register the product to maintain warranty coverage. But you do have to send multiple photos, proof of purchase, and a bunch of other info to them for review before a warranty claim can be pre-approved.
The short time frame and burdensome process favors Kodiak, with several outs. I’d love to see a more progressive warranty policy, like that of Patagonia or REI, that really shows commitment to product quality.
Are the Kodiak Skogan Boots for You?
- Fit and comfort: 5/5
- Waterproofing: 4/5
- Traction: 4/5
- Looks: 5/5
- Competition and class: 5/5
- Value: 5/5
- OVERALL: 4.7/5
While I hadn’t considered this before getting them, I found the Skogans to be exceptional boots to take on a trip. The fact that they are so lightweight, comfortable, and multipurpose made it so I did not need to pack as many pairs of shoes for different activities on our trip to Iceland.
Being a versatile, all around boot has its drawbacks too. You cannot be great at everything for every use. The Skogans’ outsoles feel good on all surfaces and are grippy, but they sacrifice a little traction. They are ultra comfy, but not as supportive as some other hiking boots. These aren’t the best choice if you want a serious backpacking boot for use in rugged terrain.
If after a day of hiking you typically find yourself sleeping in a bed that you didn’t carry on your back, the Skogans would be a great boot for you.