When I was a kid, Kodiak boots were the go-to for winter use and for safety boots if you were involved in construction or manufacturing. They’re still popular, and still a big part of Canadian culture—although you can buy them virtually anywhere these days. The classic rugged work boot-inspired designs are still there, but the company has expanded the lineup considerably, with hikers and even sneakers now available. Kodiak sent me two samples from its current offerings to try out: the familiar-looking McKinney 6-inch waterproof boots and the Stave waterproof hiking boots.
Growing up in Southwestern Ontario, I never really gave much thought about Kodiak being a Canadian brand, but my parents would take me and my brothers on annual boot-buying trips to Kitchener. There was a Greb shoe factory outlet there. That’s where we’d load up on Kodiak boots and Bauer hockey skates. It’s been closed for years and, the last I saw, the building was being converted to offices for tech companies.
I hadn’t thought about the brand for years, but when Kodiak reached out I have to admit I had a twinge of nostalgia. Especially when I cracked open the first box, which contained the McKinney boots. Having a courier drop off the boxes is a bit different from walking up and down the creaky wooden floors of the Greb factory, but the smell of the leather once the boxes were cracked is about the same as I remember.
Kodiak McKinney 6-inch Waterproof Boots
Kodiak says the McKinney boots give off a “heritage vibe,” and I have to agree. Visually, these could have been the same leather boots I was wearing decades ago. Dig deeper, though, and modern upgrades abound. This includes seam-sealed waterproof construction, a Comfortzone footbed with OrthoLite comfort foam, and a slip-resistant and non-marking rubber outsole.
Kodiak’s “SOS Smell Out Science” odor control technology is also used—I haven’t had them long enough to judge how well this works, but so far so good.
Basically, these are the Kodiak work boots I remember but upgraded to be waterproof and much more comfortable. They’re not safety boots (although the company offers a version with a composite safety toe), but the perfect choice for getting stuff done outdoors or a grunge look. Before Doc Martens became ubiquitous, Kodiaks and a flannel shirt were the grunge uniform of choice in my area—a style that one of my boys has adopted in the past year. There are two sets of laces included (a classic brown and yellow, plus red) so you can switch up the look.
Kodiak Stave Waterproof Hiking Boots
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Kodiak hiking boots. Turns out the company makes some pretty decent options. The Stave boots I was sent are not just meant to make the most of the outdoors, they’re also designed to be eco-friendly in general. This includes a 100% recycled plastic lining, 100% recycled plastic mesh collar and tongue bottom, and laces made from 50% recycled plastic.
The ankle-height boots are full-grain waterproof leather, plus suede—suede can be tough to keep clean if you get in the mud, but otherwise, they have pretty solid credentials. They are fully waterproof with a breathable seam-sealed membrane and use rust-resistant metal D-rings for the lower lacing and quick hooks for the uppers. They’re equipped with Comfortzone ECO footbeds, compression-molded EVA midsoles, and the rubber outsoles are slip-resistant. The lugs are aggressive, but not so deep that walking on pavement is awkward.
At about 21 ounces apiece, they’re not the lightest hiking boots out there, but they are comfortable.
The Kodiak McKinney 6-inch waterproof boots are priced at $155, and the Stave waterproof hiking boots retail for $175. Kodiak also offers a wide range of boots and shoes for women.
Disclosure: Kodiak provided boots for evaluation purposes but had no input into this review. As an Amazon Associate, I earn affiliate fees from qualifying purchases.