A couple months ago, my husband bit-the-bullet and purchased a fairly expensive pair of waterproof hiking boots. Our area is very rainy during the winter months, so buying a pair of waterproof boots is not only practical for my husband's type of work, but also for walking our dogs in wet, grassy fields. They were marked down from 120.00, and even though they were on sale, he tends to be "thrifty" (read that, cheap!), and hesitated to part with his hard-earned 70.00.
I convinced him it would be a good investment to buy the waterproof hiking boots just to keep his feet DRY, which is what he most often complained about. Well, he absolutely LOVED them! Every day he would sing the praises of his Columbia hiking boots! It was the first time he had boots that kept his feet dry during our damp winters.
Fast forward to a couple weeks ago... The hiking boots have become two size-10 sponges tied to my husband's feet!! Like... overnight!! Both of them! At the same time! How did this happen? No more praises for the Columbia hiking boots, and no more dry feet after a long walk with the dogs.
I called the customer service number at Columbia Sportswear, and left a recorded message of our tale-of-woe. Believe it or not, they returned my call promptly, and are prepared to remedy the problem. Tomorrow I will send the hiking boots back to the main offices and we will see what happens from here. Apparently, the warranty department will look at the boots to see if there is a defect in the design. But so far the leaking boots are still a mystery yet to be solved.
I'm hoping that this is just an isolated problem, because I'd say for the most part, Columbia Sportswear has a good reputation overall.
Update On Mar 20, 2008: Update: Although I still can't give these hiking boots a boost in my custom ratings, I did hear back from Columbia Sportswear, and they are sending out a brand new boot! Great customer service!