The Original Muck Boot Company Arctic Sport Review
Cons: Too warm for most uses, too tight to easily slip on and off
Manufacturer: The Original Muck Boot Company
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Arctic Sport did extremely well in our tests, beating all the other boots in three categories — weather protection, traction, and warmth. However, due to being so stellar in these three categories, there are some downsides: they are clunky, constrictive, and hot for casual use, thus scoring low in comfort and style. Nonetheless, this boot is great when you actually need it, and its fleece-lined neoprene insulation, heavily studded outsole and cushioned midsole will keep you happy for hours in even the worst conditions.
The Arctic Sport has the highest shaft in our test, and measures in at 17.6" from sole to top. And since the top of the boot slightly constricts on the calf due to some well-designed elastic, this further reduces the chance of splashes getting in.
When wearing these boots, it's easy to feel invincible, striding confidently into bodies of water. We knew we wouldn't get wet wearing these boots in any weather, which is a far cry from our experience in many other models. We originally weren't sure that the neoprene upper would be fully waterproof, but we twisted and stretched it with our hands underwater and found no leaks whatsoever. Impressive.
It's hard to talk about comfort in the Arctic Sport because they are so specifically designed for cold use. In warm weather, you will have a hard time wearing these for more than an hour due to their absurd warmth.
Wearing these in warmer temps is doable if you don't mind sweaty feet, but it's not pleasant. However, in cold weather, these boots are the best in the test. And underfoot, the EVA padded footbed (and additional thermal padding) keep the feet cushioned and comfortable. Yet since these boots are rated for a very specific temperature range (we wouldn't want to wear these above 45°F), we can't give them a high comfort score. The boot's weight also factors into its comfort rating — they're pretty heavy at 5.74 lbs. While this means they're great for bigger tasks, they're a little heavy for casual jaunts.
The Arctic Sport boots have great traction. No matter what surface you find yourself on, whether you're running up grassy hills, trying to skid in mud, walking along creek beds, or walking on snow, you won't slip. We did skate around a bit on pure ice, but that's hard to avoid.
The large, separated studs on the outsole grip all surfaces equally, and we love how secure it feels.
With neoprene insulation and a fleece lining, as well as a 2mm thermal underlay, the Arctic Sport boots earn a perfect 10 for warmth.
We love how these boots feel in cold conditions and, with thick socks, we're willing to entertain the manufacturer's claim that these boots can go down to -40°F. During our bathtub ice water test, we spent over 20 minutes in the Arctic Sport boots, barefoot and without moving, before declaring them the unequivocal winners, as our feet were only just beginning to feel any chill at all (and we'd cut the other boots when our feet became uncomfortably cold).
The Arctic Sport rank in the middle of the pack for style, though some of our style consultants like their chunky aesthetic quite a bit.
However, unless you live in a chillier, wetter climate than we do (rainy Seattle), you're probably not going to be casually wearing these out for drinks and a movie. Though we have done that…
These size 13 boots fit our size 12 feet well, with a half-inch of forward and back wiggle room, and minimal room left and right (for our D-width forefeet), so they probably come in between a D and an E width. They also have a relatively low volume, so they hold the ankles well and don't flap around.
The Arctic Sport are some of the most expensive rain boots in the test, but they will keep you safe and warm when none of the other boots will. And if you're going to be spending time in the sort of weather that would require these boots, you shouldn't be skimping on footwear. We're sure these boots will last a long time with their reinforced components and high-quality construction. However, if you won't be spending consistent time in horribly cold and wet conditions, we'd recommend you get a more affordable, more comfortable, less hard-core boot.
We've personally never worked in cold enough conditions that would require the Arctic Sport boots, but we don't doubt that some (perhaps Midwesterners?) will need these boots for their impressive 17.6" shaft height, reliable traction, and fleece-lined insulation. For the rest of us, these boots are overkill, due to their intense warmth, average style, and general clunkiness. However, there is something truly wonderful about how warm and dry we feel in these boots which is why we had to award them a Top Pick Award for bad weather.
— Richard Forbes