If you want to split the difference between rain boots and casual shoes, the Bogs Sauvie could be the answer. They're entirely rubber to keep out moisture and cold but feel more like a cushioned sneaker underfoot. And while they look more like rain boots than the leather options in our test, we're confident the rubber won't discolor under harsh treatment and exposure to mud. These boots are just the right level of stiffness to cushion ratio and are one of the most comfortable boots in our lineup. For casual use, the Sauvie can treat you well, though, be advised: our pair leaked as did a friend's.
Bogs Sauvie Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Affordable, extremely comfortable
Cons: Our test model leaked
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Our Analysis and Test Results
With their thickly cushioned insoles (uniquely built with a plastic shaft in the insole itself), and moderate neoprene insulation, these boots are comfortable in a wide range of applications and temperatures. We like how easily they slip on and how snugly they fit — no slipping at all. Our big caveat with these boots is that our tester model leaked.
On the numbers side 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 leaked in both shoes.
We first realized this 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 our feet getting damp. 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. We repeated the test a third time, this time with his boots, being very careful to avoid splashing anything inside. 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.
Eager to see if others had had these issues, we hopped online and read through a bunch of reviews. We found multiple examples of these boots ripping near the sides due to use, though no one else seemed to have leaks immediately. 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.
After further research revealed multiple reviews describing the Sauvie leaking within a few weeks after purchase, we downgraded these boots' weather protection rating.
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.
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 are just stiff enough to feel good (without being fully rigid).
The Sauvie boots also have the best insoles we've ever seen in a pair of shoes. They're massively thick (more than an inch), and even have a plastic shank built in to add longitudinal rigidity. Thanks to this massive insole, we barely noticed when stepping on rocks or other pointy objects.
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 keeps you secure enough on wet and muddy obstacles, but doesn'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 your rain boots. If you think a low boot is sufficient for how wet and mucky it will be, these boots will be fine.
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 means that they fit right into the middle of the pack, and they performed accordingly during our 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.
The Sauvie recently replaced the Bogs Carson, which was discontinued. The Carson won an award in the past for how good-looking it was, and the Sauvie continues this tradition, though it does 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 certainly don't mind wearing these casually around town.
These size 13 boots were 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 D-width feet, though they're still comfortable — they probably measure at just under a D-width. This shoe is best for folks with narrower feet — if you've got wider feet, you might want to steer clear.
The Sauvie is a good deal for low boots, thanks to how comfortable they are. But we want to be clear: after our experience with three leaking shoes, and multiple reviews describing these boots lack of durability, we can't recommend them as rain boots. If, despite this, you like the looks of them and get a pair, we strongly recommend testing their waterproofing in the tub immediately after purchasing (even before wearing them outdoors). If they're waterproof, we think you'll like them.
We also 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. We pulled it around a bit and could see the stitching looking suspect.
We like wearing the Bogs Sauvie thanks to their extreme comfort and their lack of bulk. They're a great boot to slip on if you're not sure what the weather is going to do, and they're so heavily cushioned that you'll be 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.
— Richard Forbes