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Hands-on Gear Review
The Original Muck Boot Company Arctic Sport Review
Cons: Too warm for most uses, too tight to easily slip on and off
Bottom line: The Arctic Sport will keep you warm when all else fails, though they'll be way too warm in normal conditions.
Shaft Height (in inches - from bottom of sole to lowest point at top of shaft): 17.6
Manufacturer: The Original Muck Boot Company
The Original Muck Boot Company Arctic Sport is meant for those who need a boot for the worst weather. It's a heavy-duty, fleece-lined, neoprene wrapped, studded tank of a boot. If you make the mistake of wearing these above 50 degrees, you'll know because you won't be able to drink enough water to stay hydrated. But in the proper conditions, you'll find that these boots are incredibly comfortable (with a glove-like fit) and are highly water resistant (up to the tops of their 17.5" shafts. They also have the best traction in the test. We wore these in feet of snow in the Cascades, as well as nearly up to their tops in the Puget Sound, and in both instances were impressed at their performance.
They will not be ideal for casual outings, going out on the town, or wearing for fun. If you're looking for a more comfortable, versatile boot, check out the Editors' Choice Bogs Classic Ultra High or the Best Buy Baffin Enduro.
RELATED REVIEW: The 10 Best Rain Boots for Men
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Arctic Sport did extremely well in our tests, besting all the other boots in three categories - water resistance, traction, and warmth. Due to its superlative success in these categories, it's too clunky, constrictive and hot for casual use, and thus scored low comfort, style, and ease of use scores. Nonetheless, this boot is great when you need it, and its fleece-lined neoprene insulation, heavily studded outsole and cushioned midsole will keep you happy for hours in the worst conditions.
The Arctic Sport has the highest shaft in our test, and measures in at 17.6" from sole to top. The top of the boot also slightly constricts on the calf, which makes it far more difficult for water to splash into the boot.
When we were wearing these boots, we felt invincible and found ourselves striding confidently across creeks and into the Puget Sound. We knew we wouldn't get wet wearing these boots, which is a far cry from our experience in the Bogs Carson (which are great but are low enough that we had to worry about every step and ripple). We 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.
It's hard to talk about comfort in the Arctic Sport because they are so specifically designed for cold use. In warm weather, we had a hard time wearing these for more than an hour just due to their absurd warmth.
It's doable if you don't mind sweaty feet, but it's not pleasant. However, in cold weather, these boots were the best in the test. And underfoot, the EVA padded footbed (and additional thermal padding) kept our feet cushioned and comfortable. Yet due to the fact that these boots were rated for a very specific temperature range (we wouldn't want to wear these above 45°F), we couldn't give them a high comfort score.
If you're looking for something more suitable in warmer conditions, the Bogs Ultra Classic High is slightly less insulated, and the Baffin Enduro is best if you don't want insulation at all, but still need a high boot.
The Arctic Sport boots have great traction. No matter what surface we were on, whether we were running up grassy hills, trying to slide in mud, walking along creek beds, or walking on snow, we didn't slip. We did slide a bit on pure ice, but that's hard to avoid.
The large, separated studs on the outsole gripped all surfaces equally, and we loved how secure we felt. Other great boots for traction include the Kamik Icebreaker and the Baffin Enduro, both of which also had more variable studs and lugs on their outsoles than the Arctic Sport.
With neoprene insulation and a fleece lining, as well as a 2mm thermal underlay, the Arctic Sport boots earned a perfect 10 for warmth.
We loved how they felt 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 a slight chill (and we'd cut the other boots when our feet became uncomfortably cold). The second best boots were the Editors' Choice Bogs Classic Ultra High, which lasted a respectable 15 minutes.
The Arctic Sport ranked in the middle of the pack for style, though some of our style consultants really liked their rugged aesthetic.
But unless you live in a very difficult climate, you're probably not going to be casually wearing these out for drinks and a movie. If you're looking for style, check out the Bogs Carson.
Ease of Use
Due to the tapered cut (and the elastic band that keeps it relatively snug) at the top of the boot, the Arctic Sport boots required some work to get on and off. They only have 15.25" circumference, though this stretches easily. But you shouldn't expect to step in and out of these boots - they're designed to hold your calf and keep your lower legs warm and comfortable no matter what. The Bogs Classic Ultra High were much easier to step in and out of, thanks to their handles and heel studs.
These boots were extremely easy to hose off, as the studs on the bottom easily released any encrusted mud. While these boots were heavy (at 5.74 lbs), they felt extremely protective as a result.
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). They also have a relatively low volume so they held our ankles well and didn't flap around at all on our feet.
If you'll be spending a lot of time outdoors, in wet and snowy conditions, between 40° and -40°F (that lower temperature is a manufacturer claim that we can't guarantee, due to the fact that the Pacific Northwest doesn't get that cold), the Arctic Sport is the perfect boot. If you'll be in warmer conditions, or need less water resistance, or want them to look less like rain boots, go for something else. But if you want uncompromising warmth, traction, and water resistance, get these.
The Arctic Sport cost around $165 - they're the most expensive 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 certain these boots will last a long time with their reinforced instep, heel and Achilles.
However, if you won't be spending consistent time in horrendous conditions, get a more affordable boot, like the Editors' Choice Bogs Ultra Classic High, or the Baffin Enduro, which comes in at less than a third the price of the Arctic Sport.
We've personally never worked in conditions that would require the Arctic Sport boots (besides on this test), but we don't doubt that some will need these boots for their impressive 17.6" shaft height, reliable traction, and fleece-lined insulation. For the rest of us, these are a bit much, due to their absurd warmth, average style, and general clunkiness. However, there is something truly wonderful about how warm and dry we felt in these boots.
— Richard Forbes
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