In a previous rain boot review, the LaCrosse Hampton was a Top Pick for Mild Use, due to its casual looks and comfortable fit. We initially intended to test that boot again and to see how it measured up to another batch of rain boots. However, during the first week of testing, we found out that the Hampton was being discontinued, so we decided to check out the newer version. We found that the new Alpha Muddy was significantly different, and changed several things that we had already grown to like about the original Hampton (even in just one week of use). After testing the new model extensively, we ultimately decided that the original Hampton was a significantly better model for our feet types. However, if your feet are wider or higher volume, this model will provide a better fit than most of the other boots in this test.
LaCrosse Alpha Muddy Review
Cons: Minimal traction, unique styling choices
Manufacturer: LaCrosse Footwear
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Our Analysis and Test Results
These boots did not measure up well in our battery of tests and only performed reasonably well in one category - warmth. Their issues are largely due to the fact that the shoes are sized wide, with high volume, and will tend to let your feet slip around unless you need the width. You would be better served if you chose another boot from our test.
With only 5.1 inches of height, it's important to recognize that the Alpha Muddy isn't meant for anything more than puddles and the shallows. When we did our immersion tests in these, we were constantly worried about every small splash. We don't recommend these unless you really don't need much protection from water and want to be able to fit these under standard pants without tucking them in. If you're looking for a shorter rain boot, go for one of the other low rain boots, they all lack the odd color choices and chunky molding of the Alpha Muddy.
The size may have been wrong, but they were very spacious, and our heels were constantly slipping around in them. Since we got a chance to try out their predecessors (the Hampton) and found their fit to be perfect we were disappointed to find that LaCrosse designed Alpha Muddy on a completely different last (as we got the same size as we'd had in the Hampton). We'll talk about specific changes down in the fit section, but the sloppy fit had a big impact on comfort, as our heels slid around in the shoes. It also feels like there's less cushioning in the newer Alpha Muddy, which made them less pleasant for long days.
Compared to the other boots in the test, the Alpha Muddy have some of the thinnest insoles. We did not find these boots to be comfortable, even during short periods of use.
The Alpha Muddy don't feature much of an outsole and didn't perform well on any of the surfaces we tested (and were in the lowest tier of this test). We found they didn't feel solid or grippy on any terrain but flat asphalt, and when we took them on wet grass, mud, and snow, we were always teetering between slips. When we wore them on ice, they were even more slippery. Almost any other boot in the test would have better grip.
These boots were reasonably warm with socks, though their large fit (and the fact that the tops of the boots didn't close as tightly on our ankles) meant that cold air easily slipped into the boots and chilled our feet. They did decently well in the ice water immersion test: our bare feet felt the cold first after 3 minutes, and were uncomfortably cold after 5 minutes, especially on the tops of our toes (where they made contact with the inside of the boot). This performance puts these boots roughly in the middle of the pack for warmth.
These ranked the lowest in our test, according to our style consultants, who almost unanimously chose them as their least favorite looking shoes. We're not sure why they took the Hampton and made them wider, shorter, and added the strange molding lines. Please don't take our opinion as the last word, but when we wore these out and about, we got some comments on their unique looks.
Ease of Use
If we hadn't tried the Hamptons first, we would have assumed that we had just gotten the wrong size, but since we received the same size in the Hamptons as the Alpha Muddy, we wanted to stick out the test to adequately describe how different these models are. And this looser incarnation of the Hamptons slips around (and puckers in the heel) so much that they're pretty difficult to use. They do slip on easily though, but that must be because they're designed for people with large ankles, and once we had them on, they did not hold our feet well, even with very thick socks.
Our feet are size 12, and we were in a size 13 boot. We had an extra inch of room forward and back. We also had at least a quarter-inch of wiggle room left and right (for our D width feet). This means that these shoes, which should have been a size 13, have to be at least a size 14 or bigger. They are also at least an E width, and probably wider. Additionally, they have a fair amount of volume. If you have high volume and/or wide feet, these boots are ideal, otherwise, they'll float around on your feet.
Unless you need the wider fit, we don't think they're worth this price. If you're price-conscious, you'd be far better off getting one of the other budget-friendly boots.
The Alpha Muddy is less comfortable, significantly larger in all dimensions, and features a completely different style than its superior predecessor. Depending on your needs, we feel you'd be better suited in another of the boots in the test.
— Richard Forbes