The Bogs Classic Ultra High rain boot wins our Editors' Choice Award because it continually surprises us with its comfort and warmth, no matter whether we were standing on concrete floors for 10 hours at a time or wading through snow and foot high water in cold conditions. No other boot is as reliably comfortable, and the Ultra Classic High scored average or above in all other categories. Its 7mm Neo-Tech insulation is enough for sub-zero temperatures and helps this boot fit like a flexible glove, with none of the shin-jabbing we found in thinner shafted boots. Finally, the innovative handles at the top of the shaft make these boots a breeze to put on (with no awkward pulling and stomping) and also make them easier to carry and hang. While these holes do sacrifice some water resistance, most users won't be in more than a foot of water anyhow.
Bogs Classic Ultra High Review
Cons: Lower shaft height, less traction
Manufacturer: Bogs Footwear
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The worst part of the Bogs Classic Ultra High is their name, so we're going to call them the Classic Ultra for the rest of this review. The Classic Ultra is undoubtedly the most comfortable boot in our test and scores well in all categories. It's so pleasant to use and scores highly in warmth and style. Its only average scores are in water resistance (due to the holes) and traction (in which it was perfectly adequate but not extraordinary). This is a phenomenal boot, and well worth the price.
The holes in the Classic Ultra start at 12" (from the bottom of the sole). If you're looking to spend your days calf-deep in water, these boots won't be enough, but for most applications - wading around the Puget Sound, crossing creeks, and exploring soggy Seattle neighborhoods - these boots will keep you nice and warm. We worried that the neoprene wouldn't be completely waterproof, but even after we stretched it around with our hands underwater, they were leakproof. The 17" circumference will be enough for the largest calves, and won't hug your legs like some other models. Quick comment - if you do manage to get water inside the Classic Ultra, it does take the Neo-tech some time to dry out.
The Classic Ultra are phenomenally comfortable, and we've spent over a hundred blissful hours wearing them on all sorts of surfaces, with at least 20 hours on concrete as well as time on snow, mud, grass, and creek beds. When one of our testers headed to the Grand Canyon in February for a month-long raft trip, he brought the Classic Ultra, and they kept his feet dry and warm in camp despite snow and freezing rain.
The neoprene does a great job of hugging while not constricting our ankles, and the fit is snug enough that we didn't have any of the "flop" we found in looser boots. Some of the comfort is due to the cushioned Aegis antimicrobial odor protection insoles, which are some of the thickest (and least smelly) insoles in our test.
This might not seem like a big deal, but the soft neoprene shaft of Classic Ultra is a lot more comfortable against our shins than the less insulated boots, as they almost all buckled as we tested them on steep hills.
Our biggest question for these boots was "how warm is too warm for these boots?" In our excitement to wear these boots, we often found them on our feet in warm conditions, which was uncomfortable due to their insulation.
The Classic Ultra have average traction, performing decently well on mud, wet grass, snow, ice, and creek beds, while not wowing us on any of these surfaces.
We assume this is due to the unique tread pattern, which features alternatively wavy, somewhat deep grooves. When we ran up and down a grassy hill, we found that our feet slipped in these more than the best traction boots, which all had large studs. And these boots didn't hold us as well on snow as other heavily studded options. At the same time, these boots were great on sidewalks, and we had no worries on the smoother terrain (while other more heavily studded boots didn't do as well).
These boots are prepared for hard conditions with 7mm of Neo-tech insulation, supposedly warm down to -40°F. Since the Pacific Northwest doesn't get that cold, we'll assume that's true until we get a chance to test them in colder temps. We did use them at 20°F and found them to be perfectly comfortable at those temperatures, as long as we were moving. In our ice water test, we were comfortable sitting motionless (and without socks) for 15 minutes - the second warmest boots.
Ease of Use
We initially expected the handles and heel studs to be a gimmick but found them to be phenomenally handy.
We could have both Classic Ultras comfortably on our feet (using the handles) in the time it would take us to jam one heel into a snugger high boot.
And we'd have kicked off both Classic Ultras with the heel studs and be drinking a pleasant beverage in the time it'd take to fall over while trying to pull off the smaller circumference high boots. You can also hang the boots from the holes (with a carabiner), or carry them easily with a single finger, while other boots require a bit more work to carry.
These boots are extremely easy to hose off, as the grooves on the bottom don't hold too much mud. And while these boots are heavy at 5.76 lbs, that just made them feel safe and cozy and didn't bother us at all.
Our testers gave this boot high ranks. We're personally not certain how this happened, but it seems like our elite group of style experts liked its more rugged utilitarian look, though everyone agreed the holes are a little strange.
People are going to notice if you're wearing this boot, but chances are they're just jealous of how warm and dry you look.
These size 13 boots fit our size 12 feet relatively snugly, with a half-inch of forward and back wiggle room, and minimal wiggle room left and right (for our D width forefeet), so we'd expect they'd measure in at a D/E width. They don't have much extra volume, which we liked as the boot didn't flap around like some of the higher volume boots.
These boots are relatively expensive, but for the fact that they're so versatile and comfortable. Bogs is a brand beloved by Northeastern farmers, and we fully expect these boots to last for years to come. We're certain they're worth the price and have gotten a bunch of use out of them so far.
We would have loved to have had these boots during our years of cold farmwork, and one of our testers can only imagine how happy he would have been to have these boots two years ago in the chilly Northern Maine winter. These boots are warm, dry, and extremely comfortable, with great traction and style. The neoprene hugs our feet, and the cushioned insoles (and solid midsole) feel supportive and help us go wherever we want. While there are some other solid competitors in this test, we reliably found ourselves slipping these boots on when the tests were done.
— Richard Forbes