Bogs Classic Ultra High Review
Cons: Lower shaft height, less traction
Manufacturer: Bogs Footwear
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Classic Ultra is one of the most comfortable boots in our test and scores well in all categories. It's pleasant to use, warm, and decently good-looking. This is a phenomenal boot and well worth the price.
April 2020 - Takeaways and Durability after 3 years of use
We've now worn the Classic Ultra boots 3 years of heavy use and we wanted to provide a durability update, as this is one of the hardest things to test accurately.
These boots are holding up extremely well for all the use we've gotten out of them. They've seen hundreds of hours of wet weather through three Seattle winters, as well as climbing trips to Kentucky, Tennessee, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and Oregon. Their most intense adventure (so far) was a 30-day long trip down the Grand Canyon rafting the Colorado River in February and March, through snow and rain with lots of wading in the river to unload boats.
However, after 3 years of use, some parts are showing wear. About a year and a half in, we noticed the heel studs were ripping off. We tried epoxying them back on, but one fell off shortly after. The other is still there, but it's only really held on by glue. This isn't a huge deal, but we did like the studs.
We're also seeing the neoprene start to come apart at high stretch/use areas. The stitching around the handles is starting to rip the neoprene, and pointy ankles are starting to carve small holes into the inside of the boots.
In all other ways, these are still as good as the day we got them. They're still extremely comfortable underfoot, grippy (on all surfaces they've been on), well-insulated, and totally waterproof.
Read on for all the testing details!
The handle 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 were originally worried that the neoprene wouldn't be completely waterproof, but even after we stretched it around with our hands underwater, it's leakproof. The 17" circumference will be enough for the largest calves, and won't hug your legs like some other models. Quick warning, though: if you do manage to get water inside the Classic Ultra, it does take the Neo-tech neoprene some time to dry out.
The Classic Ultra are phenomenally comfortable, and we've spent hundreds of blissful hours wearing them on all sorts of surfaces, with at least 50 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 the ankles, and the fit is snug enough that there's none of the "flop" 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. The soft neoprene shaft of Classic Ultra is also a lot more comfortable against the shins than the less insulated boots, which almost all buckled when we tested them on steep hills.
Our biggest question for the Ultra High was, "how warm is too warm for these boots?" In our excitement to wear them, we often found them on our feet in warm conditions, which was uncomfortable due to their insulation.
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 just one heel into a snugger high boot. 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.
The Classic Ultra have average traction, performing decently well on mud, wet grass, snow, ice, and creek beds — though they didn't wow us on any of these surfaces. We assume this average performance is due to the unique tread pattern, which features alternatively wavy, somewhat deep grooves. When we tried running up and down a grassy hill, we found that our feet slipped in these more than the best traction boots, which all have large studs. These boots also don't hold as well on snow as other heavily studded options. At the same time, they are great on sidewalks, and we have no worries on smoother terrain where other more heavily studded boots didn't fare 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 in our test.
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 like as it means the boot doesn't flap around like some of the higher volume models.
These boots are relatively expensive, but they're worth every penny due to their versatility and comfort. Bogs is a brand beloved by Northeastern farmers, and we fully expect to get at least 4 years out of these boots. We're certain they're worth the price and have gotten 3 years 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 four years ago in the chilly Northern Maine winter. The Ultra High are warm, dry, and extremely comfortable, with great traction and style. The neoprene hugs the feet, and the cushioned insoles (and solid midsole) feel supportive in all manner of terrain. We recommend these boots highly.
— Richard Forbes