Nothing ruins a perfectly good day in the barn like slipping and falling into the mud. Having the right waterproof chore boots will keep your feet dry and your footing secure. No outdoor professional – or dedicated enthusiast – is without a sturdy pair or two (or three). Even if you’re not a farmer like I am, if you spend any time working outdoors in the rain and wet, you need good footwear to support you and help you get your work done – safely and comfortably.
Why You Should Trust These Top Boot Picks
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I live in Alaska. Alaska is made up of professional fishermen and farmers. People who live near beaches and lakes. People who live near marshes and wetlands. Alaska also has an extended muddy season in the spring when the snow melts before the ground thaws, creating standing water. Over a hundred farmers (110 of them, actually!) had a discussion about which waterproof boots were best, and these five brands were the clear winners. With advice from the people who live year-’round in boots, who know boots best, you can’t go wrong with these Top 5 Picks.
How To Pick A Good Pair Of Waterproof Boots
It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway – if you’re in need of a waterproof boot, the boot should be genuinely waterproof. Not just a waterproof sole, not just a waterproof upper, but something that will keep your whole foot and ankle dry. Have you ever stepped in a deep puddle and the water has gone into your shoe because your shoe didn’t cover your ankle? Make sure there is enough coverage to keep your feet dry.
Shaft height and width:
One thing that not a lot of people consider before shopping is how high or wide the shaft of the boot is. I’m short, and I have wide calves. I simply can’t wear a boot with a high narrow shaft. I’m perfectly happy, however, in a mid-calf boot. I work mainly in a barn and pen, so that’s perfect for me. However, if I needed to get into and out of a boat for a living, I’d probably want a higher shaft to keep my feet dry in deeper water, which would mean I’d have to shop for a wide-shafted boot. If you’re tall, you might want to know what brands carry “tall” shaft styles. Knowing ahead of time which brands have styles that suit your needs saves time when you’re shopping.
Some boots are better suited for certain types of work than other boots. Think about how your work will affect your boot choice, and how your boot choice could affect the way you work. Let’s say you’re a gardener who walks in freshly-watered dirt and the occasional puddle or two. Of course you want to know your feet and socks will stay dry while you work, but you don’t need a high-shaft work boot for that. An ankle-height garden bootie or a low shaft boot should be just fine. However, if you’re repairing water lines in lawns and could be standing in a trench of water, high shafts are a must.
Steel toe or regular toe:
Consider whether or not you need steel toed boots. If you’re working around machinery with foot pinch hazard areas, or working with heavy tools that might get dropped on your toes, you should wear a steel toe to protect your feet. Because steel toes are heavier than regular toes, most people who don’t need the extra protection prefer to have regular toes to help avoid fatigue.
Keep in mind the surface you’ll be walking on. Will you be in wet grass? A muddy paddock? The deck of a boat? Uneven ground? Is there snow or ice? Some brands of boots have specialized soles for various terrains, so think about your work area when you’re shopping.
Not only your job but also your climate is an important factor in choosing your boots. I live in a place where there’s snow on the ground up to seven months of the year, followed by a month of muddy ground as the snow thaws. The tread on the soles of my boots are important to me, and I need to choose a pair that will keep me upright on the snow and ice while keeping my feet warm. If you’re shopping a brand of boots that offers different sole types, you can make a selection that will work best with your ground conditions. If you live in a warmer climate, you will want to choose a boot that is breathable and also offers a sweat-wicking feature to keep your feet dry and comfy.
Why You Need A Great Pair Of Waterproof Boots
I’m sure all of us, at some point or other, have had to wear wet shoes. And it was not pleasant. Wet shoes and socks can cause blisters, which sure do hurt! If you’re in the proper footwear, you won’t have to worry about what you’re stepping in, or if your shoelaces are untied, or if that puddle will swamp your sneakers. Good quality waterproof boots are not cheap, but because they have the potential to last for several years, they’re a good value in the long run – saving you time (you won’t have to go boot shopping so often) and frustration (there’s not much worse than having a bargain boot crack during a busy work day) as well as saving you money over buying cheap boots season after season.
Alaskan Outdoor Professionals Pick These Boots
#1 – Mucks
Nearly one-third of the professionals who voted in our group picked Muck boots as the best – including my husband. He currently has two pairs of Mucks: The Muck Chore Tall and the Muckmaster Tall, which is not only available in tall shafts, but also in wide calf shafts. His favorite thing about these boots is the high rubber section on the ankle and lower leg, while having a comfortably flexible waterproof neoprene shaft. He wore and loved the Muck Hoser for years before he finally wore them out and decided to switch to the different soles on the Chore and Muckmaster, which are better for snow.
Muck has an outstanding selection of sole styles for whatever job you need to do or whatever terrain you need to walk on – from snow to ice to mud to wet grass. If you’re working in an area that doesn’t get much ice but does get sloppy, try the Muck Hoser with a comfy mid-height shaft. If you’re frequently on ice, try the Muck Boots Arctic Ice Extreme Conditions model for both men and women, with their extra-grippy soles and fleece lining. For general use, I suggest the Muck Chore Classic or the Muck Arctic Weekend in fashionable women’s styles.
Muck offers several styles of boots that range from garden shoes to ankle boot to mid-calf to tall shafts. Children’s styles are available as well.
Look for steel-toed versions if your work involves danger from machinery or dropped tools.
While men’s styles typically come in brown or black, Muck offers quite a few stylish options for women such as the Muckster Mid-Ankle style with a foldable shaft that rolls down to the ankle for even more comfort and breathability.
If you live in a colder climate, it’s nice to know that Muck boots are made to retain heat, which is great for those chilly morning barn chores or crisp winter days. That being said, the breathable lining prevents your feet from getting too hot, and means that Mucks are great all-season boots.
Muck Boot shafts are waterproof and comfortably flexible, with EVA midsoles and high-grade rubber exteriors that are durable for the long haul as well as comfortable for those inevitable long days.
#2 – Xtratuf
Xtratufs are considered the unofficial footwear of Alaska. Easily recognizable anywhere you are, the classic copper-and-tan boot is quintessential Alaskan style. One fourth of the voters rated Xtratuf as their pick for best waterproof boot.
Xtratufs are available insulated, with or without steel toes, and different shaft heights. Xtratufs are also available in ankle boots or slip-on shoes as well as lace-ups and Chelsea styles. All styles have slip-resistant soles and have triple-dipped outer shells to make them extra waterproof and (you guessed it!) Xtra Tuf!
Looking for a little flair for your work boots, ladies? Consider the Salmon Sisters variations, with fun sea life prints in the lining. The shafts can be worn straight but when folded down, the whimsical linings can be seen, adding a splash of color and fun to this solid Alaskan workaday staple.
Xtratufs are available in children’s sizes in a generous variety of styles.
#3 – Bogs
Bogs boots got almost one-fifth of the votes as best boot, and it’s easy to see why people like them. There are so many styles to choose from, and Bogs definitely has enough variety in their shaft styles to please anyone. Bogs’ seamless shell construction eliminates leaks and prevents cracking, yet the boots are lightweight and comfortable. Odor-control, rebound cushioning insoles keep your feel comfy and less stinky while helping prevent foot fatigue. If you have wide feet, this is a great boot for you.
Women’s styles feature lots of attractive colors and styles, from solids to florals to paisleys. Want a quick slip-on bootie? Pick Bogs. How about a mid-calf style for summer comfort or to accommodate wide calves? Pick Bogs. Got children? Get ’em Bogs. Bogs has boots for any occasion you might need a sturdy boot for – rain, barn, snow, and even specialty styles for kitchen and healthcare workers. Most styles even include convenient pull-on handles built into the sides of the shafts.
#4 – LaCrosse
Ten percent of the votes went to this classic, sleek workhorse of a boot. LaCrosse boots come in several different styles. One good example is the LaCrosse Alpha Thermal, with hand-laid premium rubber over 7mm of neoprene, for flexible, waterproof comfort. The fleece lining is sure to keep your feet warm on chilly days, too. The shaft is a very generous 16″ tall, so if you’re tall yourself, check those out! If that’s still not tall enough for you, take a look at the 18″ shafts on the LaCrosse Grange Knee High or the LaCrosse Burly Classic Hunting Boot.
If you don’t need extra insulation and just want a quality rubber boot, behold the sleek, classic workhorse that is the LaCrosse Grange. Available for both men and women, this boot has a chevron-cleated outsole that is vulcanized to the boot, so that it will not separate. A top strap helps you customize the fit to your upper calf. The Ankle Fit design keeps your heel from slipping up and down in the boot as you walk, and grips your foot snugly enough that the boot isn’t going to come off if it gets stuck in deep mud. Just be aware that the same Ankle Fit design that keeps you from losing the boot in deep mud or sand can also make it a little harder to take off at the end of the day.
The LaCrosse Grange is a basic waterproof boot – it has no insulation in it to keep your feet warm – but it is rubber all the way to the top of the shaft. If you have a wet, muddy area to work in but are not in cold temperatures, you might want to consider this one. LaCross does make a similar style to the Grange – the LaCrosse Burly Classic Hunting Boot that do have insulation in them.
#5 – Grunden Deck Boss
Grunden makes a variety of waterproof boots from booties to mid-shafts to tall shafts, but the USA-made Deck Boss was singled out by our group as the best of their line. The Grunden Deck Boss earned five percent of the votes. That might not seem like much, but considering that the voters were mostly farmers rather than fishermen, it’s a pretty respectable percentage. Alaskan fishermen know a good deck boot, so this is definitely one you should check out if you’re on wet decking or on a boat. The Deck Boss has SRC Certification for slip resistance (this is the highest level of slip resistance rating), providing best-in-class traction on wet surfaces like boat decks. The injection-molded rubber upper prevents delamination and cracking. The flexible shaft folds down when the full height isn’t needed, and includes a built-in groove with silicone band for keeping pant legs high and dry. Dry Deck insoles provide comfort and shock resistance.
You Can’t Go Wrong With These Boots
If you’re looking for long-lasting boots that will keep your feet happy, these Alaskan-endorsed brands are exactly what you’re looking for. No matter which of these boot brands you choose, your feet will stay dry and comfortable, season after season.
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