Muck Boot Arctic Ice Mid Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
These slip-on winter work boots provide exceptional weather protection and durability. Still, since they don't have laces, it's hard to customize the fit, and they aren't quite warm enough for below-freezing temperatures without a warm sock underneath.
The Arctic Ice Mid uses neoprene insulation and a soft fleece liner to provide warmth. These boots are decently warm on their own, and they will help trap body heat when the user is working hard, but if you're just standing around in the cold, they aren't warm enough. They excel as workboots. The sole is thick and provides tons of insulation from the ground, but the neoprene and rubber alone don't keep the rest of the foot toasty. They are warm enough for shorter chores and errands in the cold, like shoveling the driveway or chopping some wood, but if you are going to work outside all day, you'll want a thick sock to help keep you warm.
Neoprene isn't as warm as other types of insulation used in winter boots, which explains why these boots aren't as warm as other options. However, neoprene is very durable and won't lose its insulation power over time as puffy synthetic insulation will. Also, the insulation layer is thinner than other boots, allowing for a more agile and flexible boot shaft, which makes life easier when working outside. These trade-offs make the Arctic Ice Mid less warm, but they help with other performance attributes.
These boots are made to fend off the worst winter weather, keeping all snow and water out to the very top of the boot shaft. Most of the boot shell is rubber, up to the bottom of the calf muscle, and from there, a softshell fabric covers the neoprene insulation. We waded in rivers and sloshed through puddles, and these boots never let water in.
The water protection these boots provide is the primary reason our testers prefer this boot for quick chores and dirty or wet jobs. Any time liquid water is involved, we reach for this boot before others. They will keep you dry until the snow or water is so deep that it topples over the 13.5-inch tall boot shaft. There are no seams until the top of the rubber coating, and even then, the single seam that joins the neoprene on the back of the boot is covered with a glued-on rubber patch.
Comfort and Fit
The Arctic Ice is a slip-on boot, meaning it has no laces, and the calf shaft is stretchy to allow the foot to slide in easily. This makes them easy to slide on and off but also leaves the boot on the roomy side regarding the size. This is common to all slip-on work boots, and although this particular boot is the best-fitting out of all the slip-on boots we tested, it still bothered us. They feel a lot more comfortable with thick socks.
The toe box is narrower on this boot than other work boots, which is nice, and the fleece lining is very comfortable. The top of the boot shaft narrows slightly to add weather protection, but this also means that the calves can feel cramped if you step into the boots with your pants stuffed inside the cuff. Other work boots have wider openings that accommodate pants-stuffing a bit better.
The Arctic Ice Mid has a sticky Vibram rubber sole that provides great traction on all surfaces. The lugs are large, angular, and deep, biting into any surface irregularities. We didn't slip around when using these boots on slippery surfaces like snowy driveways or shallow river cobbles.
The toe pad is a bit large and lacks any tread, meaning that if your toes are the only part of your foot that is contacting the ground, you might slip. But in general, the lug pattern is aggressive, and the tread is deep enough to bite into deep powder snow. The Vibram rubber is sticky, providing excellent grip on dry surfaces. If any rock or pavement is exposed where you are stepping, the boot will grip it and hold your weight without sliding.
The Arctic Ice Mid is a supremely durable boot. Its rubber shell stands up to sharp impacts and easily brushes off sticks and rocks. The lugs on the sole are large enough to withstand plenty of wear and tear, and all laminated areas are strong and well-sealed. The neoprene insulation will last a long time, and it won't pack out around the foot as other liners will. These boots are built to last, and we have seen pairs that look almost brand new after a decade of use.
The only weak point in these boots is the softshell fabric covering the top's neoprene insulation. This upper shaft sees the least wear and tear, so it's reasonable that the rubber shell doesn't extend to the top of the boot. Still, this material could snag and tear if you find yourself slogging through thick brush or the like. The lamination between the rubber shell and the neoprene lining is strong all the way around, and even if a sharp stick gets in there and separates the rubber from the neoprene, some rubber cement or seam sealant would easily put the materials back together. We don't foresee this being an issue, and we did not experience any durability concerns during our test period.
Should You Buy the Muck Boot Arctic Ice Mid?
The Muck Boot Arctic Ice Mid is a solidly built and weather-resistant work boot that easily slides on and off for convenience. When it's time to shovel the driveway or chop some wood for the evening, we reach for these boots every time. Outdoor workers will find them useful as well, but they'll need to layer with thick socks to stay warm outside all day. These boots are pricey, but they perform better than other slip-on work boots, and they'll last a long time, making them a great investment. We have seen Muck Boots last years and years with few signs of aging. They have great performance in weather protection and convenience, so if you spend a lot of time doing chores outside or taking quick jaunts into brutally wet winter weather, these will make your winters much better. But if you don't do a lot of outdoor work, these will probably not be warm or comfortable enough to justify the price.
What Other Winter Boots Should You Consider?
If outdoor chores are on the menu, it's hard to better than the Muck Boot. Alternatively, if you need to walk far or value warmth and comfort over utility, then the The North Face Chilkat V 400 could be a better choice with laces for a more custom fit and a smaller width for more precision. If you plan to hike and the snow won't be deep, then the Merrell Thermo Chill Mid could be the solution that fits your needs better.
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