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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The Original Muck Boot Company Arctic Sport
$169.95 at Amazon
$149.00 at Amazon
$65.00 at Amazon
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|Pros||Extremely warm, grippy||Extremely weatherproof, decently lightweight, great traction||Affordable, well-insulated, great traction||Highly waterproof, stiff construction for rough terrain, great traction||Inexpensive, high shaft, steel toe|
|Cons||Too warm for most uses, too tight to easily slip on and off||Pretty pricey, thin-feeling underfoot||Not as comfortable as other models||Looser fit, lacks insulation||Uncomfortable for extended use, steel toe extends into toe space, heavy|
|Bottom Line||This impressive boot will keep you toasty when all else fails, though they'll be far too warm for normal conditions||These boots performed highly in every test we threw at them, and we're confident they'll keep you dry and happy||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||Despite the great price on these boots, they're uncomfortable to wear for more than half an hour at a time|
|Rating Categories||The Original Muck B...||The Original Muck B...||Kamik Icebreaker||Baffin Enduro||Servus CT Safety|
|Weather Protection (30%)|
|Specs||The Original Muck B...||The Original Muck B...||Kamik Icebreaker||Baffin Enduro||Servus CT Safety|
|Weight per Pair (size 13)||5.74 lbs||4.72 lbs||4.58 lbs||5.49 lbs||6.13 lbs|
|Flood Height (inches from bottom of sole to lowest point at top of shaft)||17.6"||18"||14.3 in||16.3"||15"|
|Mouth Circumference (inches)||15.25"||18.75"||16.5"||17.5"||19.75"|
|Lining/Insulation||Fleece||5mm neoprene||Moisture wicking removable Zylex liner||Synthetic||Regular|
|Upper Material||Rubber||Rubber||Rubber with waterproof adjustable nylon collar||Rubber||Synthetic|
|Outsole Material||MS-1 molded outsole||Rubber||TRACKER synthetic Rubber||Rubber||Rubber|
|Insole||EVA molded midsole with contoured footbed and 2mm thermal foam underlay||EVA||11mm Zylex insole||Gel-Flex shock-absorbing heels and midsoles||PVC Polyblend|
|Unique Features||Neoprene shaft, thick insulation, and aggressive outsole||Breathable air mesh lining||Drawstring, Zylex liner||Aggressive outsole||Foot Form, contoured heel cup reduces slippage|
|Sizing info||Order next size up||Order next size up||Order next size up||Order your true size||Order next size up|
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. As a result, if the weather was unpleasant, we found ourselves reaching for these boots first. 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. 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, and we were never worried about getting wet with these on our feet.
When wearing these boots, it's easy to feel invincible, striding confidently into bodies of water, thanks to their tight fit on our calves. 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, and especially the more stylish/lower cut boots. We originally were curious about whether the neoprene uppers would be fully waterproof, but despite our twisting and stretching the neoprene underwater, we never got these boots to leak. Impressive!
It's a bit difficult to talk about comfort in the Arctic Sport because the boots are so clearly and 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. We've tried wearing these in the late Seattle spring, and our feet get almost immediately sweaty, which isn't exactly "comfortable".
However, in cold weather, these boots are definitely the best in the test, and are remarkably warm. We appreciated their EVA padded footbed (and additional thermal padding), which kept our feet cushioned and comfortable even in some truly cold conditions. Yet since these boots are rated for a very specific temperature range (after our warm-weather experiences, we don't really want to wear these above 45°F), we can't give them the highest comfort score — they're just too warm for a wide temperature range. 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 burlier tasks, the boots are just a little heavy for casual jaunts.
The Arctic Sport boots have impressively great traction thanks to their knobby outsoles. 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, and none of the boots did any better.
The large, separated studs on the outsole are impressively grippy, and we love how secure they make us feel. And thanks to the wide spacing between the studs, we didn't have issues with rocks getting stuck in the outsole (as we did with other boots).
With their neoprene insulation and a fleece lining, as well as a 2mm thermal underlay, the Arctic Sport boots earned a perfect 10 for warmth.
The manufacturer claims that these boots are comfortable down to -40°F, and after our testing regime, we think this just might be possible (as long as we were also wearing nice thick socks). 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 the chill (and we'd cut the other boots when our feet became uncomfortably cold). During blizzards and trips to the snowy Cascades, we make sure to bring these boots along.
The Arctic Sport rank in the middle of the pack for style. These calf-height boots don't pretend to be anything other than what they are — heavy-duty workboots — and as such, if you're wearing them, it's not going to be subtle. However, we will admit, some of our style consultants like their chunky aesthetic quite a bit.
As stated, 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 if you do, your feet will be extremely warm.
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. These fit most comfortably with our aftermarket insoles, but the included insoles are still impressively cushioned.
The Arctic Sport are some of the most expensive rain boots in the test, but more than any other boots, we're certain these will keep you safe and warm. 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 that 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 rarely spent significant time in cold enough conditions that would require us to own 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 may be overkill, due to their intense warmth, average style, and general clunkiness. But if all you want is a pair of heavy-duty waterproof winter boots, these are a great option. There is something truly wonderful about how warm and dry we feel in these boots, and they easily won an award because of it.
— Richard Forbes
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