The Original Muck Boot Company Chore Hi Review
Cons: Heavy, loose fit
Manufacturer: The Original Muck Boot Company
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Muck Boot Chore did consistently well in all our tests, and though it was not a standout best in any one category, this was enough to put it in the top echelon of performance boots. We were impressed by its warmth, traction, ease of use, and general protectiveness. However, its success comes at a cost - these are a clunky pair of boots, which aren't great for strolling around town on a drizzly Sunday. These boots are at their best if your "chores" involve piles of mud and filth, and we've worked on cattle farms where we would have loved to have them. But now that we're boring city people, they're probably too much for us.
With a shaft height of 15.5", the Chore boots aren't the top height of the test group, but they're more than high enough for most uses. They also don't have the same constricting top collar as the Arctic Sport, but this makes them a lot easier to get on and off.
We felt good going fly-fishing in a mountain stream in these boots, and while some water splashed in (when we got too excited about sighting a tremendous trout and followed it into deeper water), they were insulated enough to keep us warm even when our feet got a bit wet.
It's hard to assess exactly how "comfortable" these boots are because they fit into such a specific niche. It would be unfair to directly compare these boots to the ankle-high, extremely comfortable Kamik Lars Lo because they're meant for completely different things. But when we allow them their weight and general clunkiness, they're quite comfortable.
They're easiest to compare to similar workboots — the Bogs Classic Ultra High and the Arctic Sport — and they do pretty well. They're less ridiculously warm than the Arctic Sport and only do slightly worse than the Bogs Classic Ultra High because they weigh more, are stiffer, and feature a looser fit (so our feet tended to rattle around a little). We do appreciate the nice insole, though we have some doubts as to its longevity.
These boots have very solid outsoles. They're not as studded as the Arctic Sport or as deep as the Baffin Enduro, but they slotted in near the top of the traction tests. The Chore boots held us securely on wet grassy hills, muddy slopes, and even did a decent job holding us on wet wood and mossy bricks (both of which are tough surfaces for all the boots in our test).
We felt confident enough in these boots' traction that we wore them boots while striding through a river carrying all our camera gear. And we only slipped a little bit when we misgauged the height of the bank!
We were very comfortable in these boots during the ice-water immersion test, and they performed similarly (14 minutes till we got uncomfortable) to the Bogs Classic Ultra High, even though their 5mm neoprene isn't as thick as the Bogs's 7mm.
However, they definitely weren't as warm as the Arctic Sport, with its microfleece lined shaft and thermal underlay. These boots are too warm to be comfortably used above 50 degrees (we tried and it got sweaty fast), but they're great if it's chilly.
Ease of Use
While the Bogs Ultra Classic High takes the prize on ease of use, the Chore boots score well in this test area, due to its large circumference top collar (measuring in at 17" inches). It's easy to slip on and off.
We do wish that it had actual heel studs to help with kicking the boots off, but there's enough of a heel cup that we could make do. And its outsole lugs are thick enough to provide excellent traction without being deep enough for pebbles and other detritus to collect in there. We could easily wash it off in a stream or with a hose.
Again, it'd be unfair to directly compare the Chore boots to a design-oriented boot like the Hunter boots or the Bogs Carson. But that's exactly what we did because the style is tough to quantify. And these boots did well enough in our style tests. Our style consultants liked how simple and unadorned they were - these boots avoid the strange texturing of the Baffin Enduro and the stripes and grooves on the Alpha Muddy.
But let's be clear - these boots aren't suitable for going out to dinner unless you live in rural northern Maine, where people don't seem to leave the house without this type of boot on. And if you try, especially in urban Seattle, you can expect questions when people try to figure out why you're thumping along the floorboards.
Our size 12 feet fit comfortably in these size 13's. They've got around a 1/2" of wiggle room forward and back, and just enough play width-wise to let us wear a super thick sock (but they won't be great for anyone wider than an E width), so if you've got wide feet (EE or more), you'll have to size up a size and deal with the extra length.
These boots are very high volume though, so we recommend putting a supplemental insole in to fill out the somewhat cavernous space above our feet.
The Muck Boot Chore boots would be a great choice if you need an all-around work boot with a lot of water resistance and don't intend to be using it below 20°F. They're stable and grippy enough for loose and wet surfaces, and they'll keep you comfortable in (physically) uncomfortable situations. Due to their weight, they're not as ideal for long days as some of the other models, but this extra weight is only because they're stiffer and more protective. We can see these being perfect for year-round farm and ranching work.
These boots aren't cheap (and cost similar to the Editors' Choice Bogs Ultra Classic High) but they're definitely worth the money if you're going use these boots for the tough jobs they're meant for. You won't want these if you're just traipsing around town, but they're a solidly waterproof work boot and we wish we'd had them on some of our farming jobs.
Overall, The Original Muck Boot Chore Hi boots impressed us, and we've seen people wearing boots like these in farms and ranches around the world. They'll last for years and keep you comfortable in ways that cheaper boots can't. These boots are admittedly very similar to the Editors' Choice Bogs Ultra Classic High - the Chore boots cost the same, have a similar aesthetic, and are more waterproof (they don't have the easy handles), and a little harder to use. That being said, we're sure you'd be happy enough with either. But due to a few small nitpicks, we liked the Bogs just a little bit more.
— Richard Forbes