Pakems après ski shoes review & giveaway: Cortina and Classic

Gear ReviewsAmy Hatch

Pakems Cortina Review

***Giveaway entry form at bottom of review***

Picture this: it’s New Year’s Eve day at our local ski mountain, Targhee. My husband is working, so I’m playing single mom for the day. My 3 year old and I pull into the parking lot to find it totally full. Now, I pride myself on being able to always find a parking lot close to the lifts at the Ghee. But after driving around in circles for 10 minutes, I realize I am skunked and head to the lower lot.

Luckily, I had brought a sled. Into it goes my daughter and her skis. I stuff our lunch, thermos with hot chocolate, extra layers and my Pakems Cortina boots into my pack. Then, I hoist my skis onto my shoulders.

Somehow I manage to get both of us and all of our stuff to the lifts from that lower parking lot. In that moment, I am SO grateful that the footwear for day’s end – those Pakems Cortina boots – are lightweight and compact.

Pakems founder Julie Adams got the idea for her company while on a ski trip to Europe. At the end of the day what she needed—just as much as a tasty ale in hand—was a packable shoe. Her feet ached from her ski boots. Ultimately, it was that moment of discomfort that sparked her new career as an entrepreneur. (The photo below shows the exact moment when Julie thought up the idea for Pakems. You can read the full background on Pakems here).

Pakems Packable Shoe and Packable Boot Review

I have to admit, when I first heard about Pakems, I was a little skeptical. Do you really need designated après ski shoes? Now that I’ve tried both the Cortina calf-length boot and the Classic Low Top, I’ve turned from a Pakems skeptic to advocate. Here’s why ...

Pakems work well for après ski and so much more. This winter, the Pakems Cortina has become my everyday wear boot. I’ve donned it to holiday parties, the office, yoga classes and, yes, the ski hill. The boots are comfortable, lightweight, reasonably warm ... and I get so many compliments on them.

Pakems Cortina Review

As the founder of Garage Grown Gear, my closet and gear bin are filled with super unique and cool products. I’m used to getting asked about what I’m wearing or using, but never have I had the flood of attention like that given to my Pakems Cortina boots. People love them. I love them.

My only suggestion for improvement for the Parkems Cortina is to use a waterproof fabric. I’ve found that in really slushy, wet snow the water will soak through the fabric.

As for the Pakems Classic Low Tops, lately I’ve been using them as indoor slippers, with the benefit of being able to go outside in them to get firewood or take out the trash. My feet get cold easily and they do a good job of keeping those toesies warm in the house.

Pakems Cortina Review

But I’ve also used my Pakems Classic Low Tops for après mountain biking and even camp shoes while backpacking. It’s nice to have a lightweight shoe that still has enough of a sole to navigate roots, rocks and dirt.

The only hangup I’ve experienced with the Pakems Classic Low Tops is that the interior fabric sometimes snags little twigs and pine needles. Note: this isn’t an issue on the Cortina because it is lined with soft faux fur.

Bottom line: Pakems work great as après ski shoes, and as slippers, camp shoes and everyday wear. This footwear shines for its versatility, comfort and compactness.

Pakems Cortina review

Pakems Cortina Boots Pros:

  • Super comfortable. Love the cozy interior fabric.
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Amazingly versatile. Wear them to parties, the office or for après ski.
  • As fashionable as they are functional
  • Enough tread in the sole
  • Hidden zipper pocket near the cuff of the boot
  • The elastic cinching system makes it really easy to get the boots on and off


Pakems Cortina Boots Cons:

  • Not waterproof. The fabric soaks through in really slushy, wet snow.
  • Requires the use of your hands to put them on, so not quite the slip-on shoes.


Pakems Classic Low Top Shoes Pros:

  • Super comfortable.
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Amazingly versatile. Wear them as slippers, for camping or for après mountain biking.
  • As fashionable as they are functional
  • Enough tread in the sole
  • The elastic cinching system makes it really easy to get the boots on and off


Pakems Classic Low Top Shoes Cons:

  • Interior fabric tends to snag small twigs and pine needles
  • Requires the use of your hands to put them on, so not quite the slip-on shoes.


Gear reviewsPakems

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