LaCrosse 4X Burly (1,200 gram Thinsulate) ($130)
When it comes to rubber boots fit can be everything, and those who like true “form-fitting” performance need to check out this one. In shoes I wear a 11 or 11.5 (wides), and found a near-ideal fit in the 12 medium 4X Burly, which comes only in medium width. Paired with a beefy boot sock (I used the Thorlo Hunting Extreme Cold—(888-846-7567; www.thorlos.com), I found the 18-inch 4X Burly to be the most form-fitting of all the rubber boots in this test. The end result is more ankle support that makes you feel more nimble and confident when picking your way through blowdowns or other difficult terrain, and more sure-footed while making your way through wet or otherwise swampy/marshy terrain that can pull sloppier-fitting boots from your feet. A nice touch is the adjustable back gusset to accommodate a variety of leg sizes and give some the option to tuck pants into boots. Another bonus? You wouldn’t guess this ultra-sleek design packs extreme 1,200-gram insulation. (800) 323-2668; www.lacrossefootwear.com —Mark Melotik
Muck Boot Company Arctic Pro ACP-MOBU ($205)
I have been a big fan of Muck boots ever since they appeared on the market in the 1990s. In a world of boots that often fail to live up to their claims, I always found them to be totally waterproof, amazingly comfortable, and a much better alternative to the old school slip-on rubber boots as far as warmth and moisture go.
The fleece-lined Arctic Pro model tested here shows Muck’s continuing evolution. The lowers are softer, high-quality rubber while the uppers are thick neoprene, all bonded by vulcanization, which results in essentially a seamless, one-piece outer shell. The rugged molded outsole combines self-cleaning interior cleats and aggressive edges for the best of both worlds.
Additional features include stretch-fit topline binding to keep warmth in; an 8mm CR flex-foam bootie with four-way stretch nylon; double reinforcements on the instep, heel and Achilles; 2mm thermal instep foam underlay for additional warmth; and a reinforced toe.
In size 10, my test boots weighed 5 pounds, 10 ounces for the pair, which is a bit heavy, but that’s due largely to the thick insulation that makes them warm and comfortable. (877) 215-6778; muckboots.com—Mike Strandlund
Boot Field Test
We performed two objective experiments as part of our Field Test of hunting boots. One was our Freezer Test, in which we placed a thermometer and plastic “plug” into each boot, then placed each boot individually into a freezer for 30 minutes and recorded the interior temperature. All boots and tools were at room temperature at the beginning of each experiment. Those boots with the highest temperature after 30 minutes can be considered those that will keep your feet warmest.
The Waterproof Test consisted of placing each boot on our feet, then submerging and flexing it in 6 inches of water for five minutes, then checking for leaks.
|RedHead||3lbs 10 oz||53||Yes|
|Under Armour||5lbs 3oz||56||Yes|
|Irish Setter||6lbs 10oz||55||Yes|