The Arctic Sport did extremely well in our tests, besting all 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.
These boots were extraordinarily warm on this blustery winter evening at Carkeek Park.
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 low boots. 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.
These boots will definitely keep you dry, even as you casually stroll into the Puget Sound.
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 are the best in the test. And underfoot, the EVA padded footbed (and additional thermal padding) keep our 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 Arctic Sport is very comfortable, as long as it's cold enough.
Within the test, these were only moderately cushioned insoles, though the cushioning in the midsole made the boots comfortable.
The Arctic Sport boots have great traction. No matter what surface we're on, whether we're running up grassy hills, trying to slide in mud, walking along creek beds, or walking on snow, we don't slip. We did slide 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 we felt.
The big lugs on the Arctic Sport make it the grippiest in our test.
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 any chill at all (and we'd cut the other boots when our feet became uncomfortably cold).
The high shank height and snug fit around our calves made us certain that no snow could sneak in.
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 require 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.
These boots are extremely easy to hose off as the studs on the bottom easily released any dried mud. While these boots are heavy (at 5.74 lbs), they feel extremely protective as a result.
The Arctic Sport rank in the middle of the pack for style, though some of our style consultants like their chunky aesthetic.
But unless you live in a very difficult climate than we do (Seattle), you're probably not going to be casually wearing these out for drinks and a movie.
Our tester, as he slowly falls in love with the Arctic Sport's warmth and comfort.
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 held our ankles well and didn't flap around at all on our feet.
The Arctic Sport provided great traction on goose-poop covered wet grassy hills.
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 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, more comfortable boot.
The Arctic Sport in the inclement conditions it was meant for - feet of snow and 20 degrees with windchill.
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 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 feel in these boots.