With their thickly cushioned insoles (uniquely built with a plastic shaft in the insole itself), and moderate neoprene insulation, these boots were comfortable in a wide range of applications and temperatures. We liked how easily we could slip them on, and how snugly they fit - no slipping at all. Our big caveat with these boots is that our tester model leaked.
It's hard to tell they're rain boots and not just shiny Chelsea boots!
On the face of it, the Sauvie are waterproof up to a respectable 5". They're all rubber, except for their neoprene stretch panels, which are also waterproof. We tested the Sauvie with high expectations and unfortunately found that the model we had leaks in both shoes.
We first realized during our cold immersion test, which we do without socks on to control all the variables. After 7 minutes, we wrote this in our notes: "feels like water is getting in the back… not sure where from." When we pulled out the insoles, we could see moisture wetting the footbed (beneath the insoles). It was a relatively small amount, but after 7 minutes, we could definitely feel how damp our feet were. Since the Sauvie are so low-shafted, we worried we'd somehow splashed water over the tops (or that the neoprene wasn't waterproof), so we air-dried the boots and then repeated the test, placing the weighted boot in a water-filled bathtub. And the same thing happened. Moisture was getting in, seemingly through the seams between the midsole and the outer of the boot.
If it were just one pair, we wouldn't be too troubled, but our friend happens to have these same boots (in a size 12). We repeated the test a third time, this time with his boots, being very careful to avoid splashing anything inside the boot. After 20 minutes, one of his boots had leaked, and there was identical moisture inside the boot, between the insole and midsole, up against the internal seams.
We think the boots were leaking from the joints between seams. This drop of water (center of photo) at the confluence of the two seams bubbled as we squeezed the boot after doing a failed water resistance test.
Eager to see if others had had these issues, we hopped online and read through a bunch of reviews. As of September 2019, we couldn't find any reviews complaining about the issues we found. It is possible that both pairs we've tested have the same unique issue, but we think it's unlikely, considering we bought our boots from different vendors at different times.
If you purchase these boots, we encourage you to test them immediately to make sure they're actually waterproof. If not, contact Bogs immediately, as Bogs has a 1-year warranty on their boots and should be able to help you out.
These boots are slowly leaking as we took this photo.
The Bogs Sauvie is in the top-tier of our test when it comes to comfort. They are extremely well-cushioned, and we were happy to wear them on concrete all day. But while cushioned shoes often turn out to be too flexible for use on rough terrain, these boots were just stiff enough to feel good (without being fully rigid).
The Sauvie boots have the best insoles we've ever seen in a pair of shoes. They're massively thick (more than an inch thick), and even have a plastic shank built into the insole to add longitudinal rigidity. Thanks to this massive insole, we barely notice when we step on rocks with these boots.
The Sauvie boots are just above average when it comes to traction, though they do beat out almost all the other low boots. Their "BioGrip slip-resistant" outsole kept us secure enough on wet and muddy obstacles, but we could tell it didn't have the same grip as the more heavily studded work boots.
It really comes down to the type of conditions you're expecting to confront in these boots. If you think a low boot is sufficient for how wet and mucky it will be, these boots will be fine.
The Sauvie gripped onto the loose leaves and mud well.
No rubber boot will be comfortable in hot temperatures, but the Sauvie hits a good middle-ground when it comes to warmth regulation. Since they're a low boot, they don't hold in the heat as tightly, and combined with their 3mm Neo-tech waterproof insulation, they're good in a pretty wide range of temps. We were happy to wear them between 30 to 60°F, and since this is the temperature range of Seattle for eight months of the year, these boots would be a good choice for this climate. If you intend to wear them when it's much hotter or much cooler than that, you may need a more temperature-specialized boot.
Their 3mm insulation meant that they fit right into the middle of the pack, and they performed accordingly during the ice-water test, lasting several minutes before our bare feet were uncomfortable. However, since the boots leaked, our feet were also uncomfortable because, after 7 minutes, we noticed how wet they were getting. This definitely hindered the experiment. If they were fully waterproof, we'd willingly wear these boots down below 30°F, but only if we were moving. But if you're expecting to get into temps this cold regularly, get a burlier boot.
These boots were warm enough for most temperate climates.
Ease of Use
The lower boots are all more difficult to put on than their higher counterparts due to their smaller collar circumference, and the Sauvie no different. We had to stretch the collar around our bony heels to get them on, but once they were on, they fit quite well in the back (and didn't flap around like some of the looser low boots).
We do want to caution users that while the Sauvie boots feature a fabric loop to help pull them on, many users have written reviews complaining that they tore this loop off almost immediately. In their photos, this then begins to tear away the rest of the collar.
The pull tab that we might prefer to be reinforced and studier.
The Sauvie recently replaced the Bogs Carson, which was discontinued. The Carson won an award in our last test for how subtle it was, and the Sauvie continues this tradition, though it did pivot slightly more toward the rainboot aesthetic, with its molding. However, it still beats out almost all the other rubber rain boots in terms of style, and we didn't mind wearing these casually around town.
They did change the toe styling between the Carson and the Sauvie — the Carson definitely looked modeled after a dress shoe, while the Sauvie has a rounder toe. This makes the Sauvie more recognizable as a rain boot, which we didn't love.
Comparing the Sauvie (left) with the dressier Original Muck Boots Company Chelsea (right). You can see that the leather on the Chelsea boot soaks up a little moisture (though none got through to our feet).
These size 13 boots are pretty snug on us, with just less than a quarter-inch of room forward and back (for our size 12 feet). They're slightly too narrow for our D-width feet, though they're still comfortable. They probably measure at just under a D-width. The Sauvie is also pretty low volume, so our feet don't have the same amount of breathing space as we're used to. This shoe would be best for folks with narrower feet, and if you've got wider feet, you might want to steer clear.
The boots outsoles even had good grip on this sewer sludge!
The Sauvie is a good deal for low boots, thanks to how comfortable they are. However, we can't fully recommend them due to the issues we had with waterproofing. As long as the pair you get is waterproof, we're confident you'll like them. We just recommend testing their waterproofing in the tub immediately after purchasing them (even before wearing them outdoors).
If we were certain every model of this shoe was waterproof, we'd recommend them much more. Sadly, we can't guarantee this, based on our experience.
We liked wearing the Bogs Sauvie thanks to their extreme comfort and their lack of bulk. They were a great boot to slip on if we weren't sure what the weather was going to do, and they were so heavily cushioned that we were always happy to have them on. We do have concerns about their waterproofing and seam-sealing, so it's difficult for us to unequivocally recommend them, even though we like them for so many other reasons.
Our basic takeaway is this: if you get them, and they're waterproof, they'll be a great boot for you. If they aren't waterproof, return them to Bogs and get a new pair.