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Bogs Workman Review

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
Bogs Workman
Photo: Backcountry
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Price:  $150 List | $149.95 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, great traction, adjustable fit, everything you want in a boot
Cons:  A bit pricy, cushioning in midsole is slightly lacking, long-term durability issues
Manufacturer:   Bogs
By Richard Forbes ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 12, 2021
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62
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 14
  • Weather Protection - 30% 2
  • Comfort - 25% 8
  • Traction - 20% 8
  • Warmth - 15% 9
  • Style - 10% 6

Our Verdict

The Bogs Workman boots are great boots, a perfect combination of protective and comfortable. They ranked highly in every test that we put them through, from warmth and traction to weather protection, and we feel confident that these boots will keep you happy regardless of the weather surrounding you. We're also impressed by Bogs' new innovations, from the modular insole setup that lets them work for most different shapes of feet to the heel-locking collar that keeps everything feeling secure to the impressively lightweight construction. Despite all these great qualities, we've stripped these boots of their award, as they're leaking after 6 months.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Bogs Workman
This Product
Bogs Workman
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $149.95 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$149.00 at Amazon$131.00 at Amazon$64.95 at Amazon$55.00 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
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Pros Lightweight, great traction, adjustable fit, everything you want in a bootExtremely weatherproof, decently lightweight, great tractionExtremely warm, grippyAffordable, well-insulated, great tractionHighly waterproof, stiff construction for rough terrain, great traction
Cons A bit pricy, cushioning in midsole is slightly lacking, long-term durability issuesPretty pricey, thin-feeling underfootToo warm for most uses, too tight to easily slip on and offNot as comfortable as other modelsLooser 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 useThese boots performed highly in every test we threw at them, and we're confident they'll keep you dry and happyThis impressive boot will keep you toasty when all else fails, though they'll be far too warm for normal conditionsWhile we love many of the innovative aspects of these boots, we wish they could provide more support underfootThis workhorse boasts a very fair price for such a rugged boot
Rating Categories Bogs Workman Wetland Arctic Sport Kamik Icebreaker Baffin Enduro
Weather Protection (30%)
2.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
8.0
Comfort (25%)
8.0
8.0
4.0
6.0
6.0
Traction (20%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Warmth (15%)
9.0
9.0
10.0
7.0
3.0
Style (10%)
6.0
5.0
4.0
7.0
5.0
Specs Bogs Workman Wetland Arctic Sport 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 5 mm 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
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular
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).

The water came in along these seam, most noticeably just above the...
The water came in along these seam, most noticeably just above the heel collar (just visible inside the boot).
Photo: Richard Forbes

We also weren't impressed by the durability of the glue on these boots, as it started breaking down only 6 months in.

We're also not impressed with this glue. The glue on our Bogs Ultra...
We're also not impressed with this glue. The glue on our Bogs Ultra Classic High boots lasted a good 3 years before we started seeing this level of breakdown.
Photo: Richard Forbes

Performance Comparison


These boots feel secure even on damp wood, something which defeated...
These boots feel secure even on damp wood, something which defeated most other boots in our test.
Photo: Richard Forbes

Weather Protection


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.

We weren't sure about the newly aerated uppers, but they did a good...
We weren't sure about the newly aerated uppers, but they did a good job of protecting us from splashes.
Photo: Richard Forbes

Comfort


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.

We spent hours wearing the Bogs Workman boots while chainsawing and...
We spent hours wearing the Bogs Workman boots while chainsawing and splitting wood for our wood-stove, and they kept our feet happy even as the rest of us got sore!
Photo: Richard Forbes

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.

The two pairs of insoles: the lighter grey ones on top are designed...
The two pairs of insoles: the lighter grey ones on top are designed to always be worn. The darker ones underneath, when removed, provide more width and volume inside the boot.
Photo: Richard Forbes

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.

You can see the heel-lock cushioning here (just above the orange...
You can see the heel-lock cushioning here (just above the orange circle on the left of the photo).
Photo: Richard Forbes

Traction


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.

That's a burly outsole!
That's a burly outsole!
Photo: Richard Forbes

Warmth


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.

Our feet felt toasty inside the Workman despite the freezing water.
Our feet felt toasty inside the Workman despite the freezing water.
Photo: Richard Forbes

Style


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.

These boots love posing for artsy photos.
These boots love posing for artsy photos.
Photo: Richard Forbes

Fit


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.

Just hanging out on a rock in the rain, looking moody.
Just hanging out on a rock in the rain, looking moody.
Photo: Richard Forbes

Value


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.

Doing chores in these boots is perfectly comfortable even when it's...
Doing chores in these boots is perfectly comfortable even when it's drizzling.
Photo: Richard Forbes

Conclusion


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