Bogs Workman Review
Cons: A bit pricy, cushioning in midsole is slightly lacking, long-term durability issues
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|Pros||Lightweight, great traction, adjustable fit, everything you want in a boot||Extremely weatherproof, decently lightweight, great traction||Extremely warm, grippy||Affordable, well-insulated, great traction||Highly waterproof, stiff construction for rough terrain, great traction|
|Cons||A bit pricy, cushioning in midsole is slightly lacking, long-term durability issues||Pretty pricey, thin-feeling underfoot||Too warm for most uses, too tight to easily slip on and off||Not as comfortable as other models||Looser fit, lacks insulation|
|Bottom Line||These boots are just about perfect for most applications and perform excellently when new, but we've had some durability issues after months of use||These boots performed highly in every test we threw at them, and we're confident they'll keep you dry and happy||This impressive boot will keep you toasty when all else fails, though they'll be far too warm for normal conditions||While we love many of the innovative aspects of these boots, we wish they could provide more support underfoot||This workhorse boasts a very fair price for such a rugged boot|
|Rating Categories||Bogs Workman||The Original Muck B...||The Original Muck B...||Kamik Icebreaker||Baffin Enduro|
|Weather Protection (30%)|
|Specs||Bogs Workman||The Original Muck B...||The Original Muck B...||Kamik Icebreaker||Baffin Enduro|
|Weight per Pair (size 13)||4.97 lbs||4.72 lbs||5.74 lbs||4.58 lbs||5.49 lbs|
|Flood Height (inches from bottom of sole to lowest point at top of shaft)||14.75"||18"||17.6"||14.3 in||16.3"|
|Mouth Circumference (inches)||16"||18.75"||15.25"||16.5"||17.5"|
|Lining/Insulation||7.5MM Neo-Tech waterproof insulation||5mm neoprene||Fleece||Moisture wicking removable Zylex liner||Synthetic|
|Upper Material||Neotech/Rubber||Rubber||Rubber||Rubber with waterproof adjustable nylon collar||Rubber|
|Outsole Material||BioGrip slip resistant outsole||Rubber||MS-1 molded outsole||TRACKER synthetic Rubber||Rubber|
|Insole||Modular Algae-based EVA footbed||EVA||EVA molded midsole with contoured footbed and 2mm thermal foam underlay||11mm Zylex insole||Gel-Flex shock-absorbing heels and midsoles|
|Unique Features||Seamless Construction to reduce weight + Heel Lock||Breathable air mesh lining||Neoprene shaft, thick insulation, and aggressive outsole||Drawstring, Zylex liner||Aggressive outsole|
|Sizing info||Order next size up||Order next size up||Order next size up||Order next size up||Order your true size|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Workman is a great boot. They take all the best parts of the Bogs Classic Ultra High, which won the Editors' Choice Award for the last 3 years and improve on it. We're most impressed by their weight savings — these full-size boots weigh in just below 5 lbs per pair for a men's size 13, which is way lighter than any other serious workboot in our test. With such big weight savings, you'd assume these boots would have similarly big concessions in other areas, and unfortunately, after 6 months of use, we found some. Read our durability issues below:
April 2021 - Takeaways and Durability After 6 months of Use
After wearing the Workman for 6 months, we've been forced to strip them of their Editors' Choice Award because the boots began to leak heavily whenever we stepped into deep water. As a result, we don't feel that we can recommend them as highly as we did. If these boots had stayed waterproof, they would have won an award again, but the leaking issue is too big for us to ignore. We worry it's due to the "Seamless" technology, as the water seems to come in at the sewing inside the boot (it seemed to be right at the heel collar, but it's hard to tell).
We also weren't impressed by the durability of the glue on these boots, as it started breaking down only 6 months in.
The Workman has a shaft height of 14.75", making them suitably tall for almost any reasonable use. If you know you'll be wading through the worst weather possible, you might need something taller, but for most people and situations, this height will be sufficient.
This boot uses a new type of neoprene — Bogs calls it "Seamless" — and we're hoping that it proves as reliably waterproof over the long term as their old type (which is on their Classic Ultra High) because this new neoprene is definitely what makes these boots so lightweight.
Update from April 2021: we're leaving the above sentence in because it ended up being unfortunately prescient — these boots were not as reliably waterproof as the other Bogs boots we've tested. We docked their score in this metric considerably to reflect the leak.
The variety of boots in this test requires us to rate this section pretty flexibly because "comfort" is relative to the boot type. No protective workboot will ever feel as comfortable as a sneaker because the things that make it a good protective workboot (stiff midsole, high shaft, etc.) get in the way. With that in mind, we love how comfortable these boots are.
In particular, their light weight makes a huge difference. Bogs advertises them as "30% lighter" but doesn't say what they're being compared to. However, they're around 15% lighter than the Classic Ultra High, which feel and fit very similarly. But this doesn't fully illustrate how much lighter they are than the competition — the only workboots that are lighter are much less insulated and protective. This lighter weight means these boots are easy to wear for long days, as any weight savings puts a lot less strain on your legs.
On top of their weight, these boots have many additional features that help bring them to the next level. We like the supportive "rebound" cushioning midsole system, though we couldn't really differentiate them from the older Classic Ultra feel (which we also like). Bogs also put a new technology called "Max-Wick" into these boots, which supposedly helps them breathe better in warm weather, though we couldn't feel much of a difference.
One of our favorite new innovations in this boot is the modular insole setup — the boots have two pairs of insoles, which, when combined, work well for those with standard width feet. However, those with wider feet can remove the lower insole and get significantly more room in the boot. When we removed the secondary insole, this also gave us enough room to put on extremely thick socks in colder temps. We've never seen this type of modular insole setup, and we love how simple but effective it is at making these boots comfortable for everyone. And as a side benefit, the insoles are somehow made of eco-friendly algae, which is the first nod toward sustainability that we've seen in the rain boot industry. While we don't think that algae insoles will fix the world, we do appreciate the effort.
Our other new favorite aspect, the "heel-lock" setup — may be slightly polarizing. This is a cushioned collar sewn into the heel of the boot and is designed to wrap around the Achilles tendon to lock the heel down in place. Our main tester has narrow heels that are always moving around in laceless boots and really appreciates this new design. In the Classic Ultra High, which doesn't have this collar, our heels rubbed a divot into the neoprene at the back of the heel, so we think this new collar setup may help the Workman boots last longer. However, while we love the heel-lock collar, it did take some getting used to, and we recognize that it may not work for everyone.
In keeping with the rest of their changes, the Workman addresses the poor grip pattern of the Classic Ultra High. The Workman comes with a much more aggressively studded outsole, a significant improvement from the older model. This new outsole made us feel confident on all sorts of loose and wet terrain, from damp pine needles to wet river rocks.
This new outsole pattern brings the Workman up into competition with the most grippy boots in our test.
The Workman comes equipped for cold weather with 7.5mm of Neo-Tech waterproof insulation. When our feet got chilly, we found ourselves reaching for these boots because we knew they'd warm us up. They did extremely well in our ice water immersion test, and we found they were in the top-tier for warmth all around. The double insole setup even kept the bottom of bare feet warm in our testing, something we appreciate a great deal!
We can't corroborate Bogs expansive claims that the Workman is "comfort-rated" to -72 degrees Fahrenheit, as we don't have access to that kind of temperature in our region, but we do know they were cozy on sub-freezing mornings in rural Maine.
As always, we do want to provide the caveat that these boots are insulated enough that they're not very comfortable in warm conditions (above 50 degrees Fahrenheit), even despite their "Max-wick" technology.
The Workman boots are pretty standard Bogs rainboot fare — they're chunky, with a molded-rubber wrap around the foot and a new more aerated-looking neoprene above the ankles. Our testers didn't mind their true-to-function design, and we felt totally comfortable wearing these around town in the wet fall.
The Workman does have a larger profile than some of the other boots in our test, but this didn't alter our opinion of their aesthetic.
A size 13 fit our size 12 feet extremely well, featuring a half-inch of forward and back wiggle room, and minimal wiggle room left and right (for our D-width forefeet). We think they'd measure in at a D/E width. They also have the heel-collar setup we mentioned above, which helps the foot feel snugger in the heel. And we love the modular insole setup, which allows the wearer to dial in exactly how they want the boot to fit volume/width-wise.
After hundreds of hours wearing other Bogs boots, we haven't found a pair that we didn't think were worth the price. However, unfortunately, the Workman has let us down by springing a leak after just 6 months of use. We recommend you get a different pair of boots if you want them to be reliably waterproof over the long haul, and we hope that Bogs looks into this issue in further iterations.
We're extremely excited about adding these boots to our lineup. The Workman takes everything great about a rain boot — their protectiveness, warmth, traction, ease of use — and somehow fixes everything that's typically awkward like the clunky weight, loose heels, and sometimes sloppy fit. These boots address what we want so precisely that they almost feel like they were designed after reading our commentary on other boots over the last few years. We just wish they had stayed waterproof so we could have continued enjoying them, as they really are great boots (other than the reliability issues).
— Richard Forbes
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