The Original Muck Boot Company Arctic Ice Tall Review
Cons: Slightly sloppy fit, sorta heavy, fairly pricey
Manufacturer: The Original Muck Boot Company
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Muck Boot Company Arctic Ice Tall is a slip-on boot with a very tall shaft that envelopes the ankle and lower leg most of the way up the calf. It features Vibram's Arctic Grip wet ice technology on the outsole, which is amazing for those who have to walk daily on ice. The upper is made of neoprene, lined with fleece for comfort, and coated in rubber on the outside to provide a more waterproof boot, to a higher height, than any other we've tested. The convenience, waterproofness, and traction really propelled it to the top of our overall rankings, and unless you specifically want a winter hiking boot, this is the first one we would recommend.
The Arctic Ice Tall is the burliest winter boot made by the Original Muck Boot Company and is also one of the most expensive. There are options to lessen the price a bit, or if you prefer something slightly different. For instance, the Arctic Ice Mid is the same boot but with a shorter shaft height, for those who don't often wade in super deep snow. The Arctic Pro is a more heavily insulated model, which doesn't have the Vibram Arctic Grip outsole. Or there is the Arctic Sport Tall, which adds an EVA midsole and interior foam cushioning for a better grip on the foot if you intend to do a fair bit of hiking or walking in your Muck boots.
These boots feature 5mm thick neoprene insulation lined with comfortable soft fleecy material. We conducted a couple of different warmth tests, besides wearing them in the snow and cold while conducting chores in temperatures down to around 10F, and found them to be pretty darn warm. In general, though, we have found that neoprene insulated boots tend to be very waterproof, but not as warm as competing boots that are insulated with 400g of Thinsulate.
When standing in about 5 inches of a freezing, running stream for 10 minutes, our toes did not get cold at all while wearing these boots. In fact, the only coldness we felt was if our feet rested tightly against the edges of the boots for too long. In our cold slush ice bucket test, we noticed that the inside of the boots without a foot inside of them actually did lose a lot of heat over the course of our 12 minutes test, dropping from 66.3 degrees down to 38.3 degrees by the end. While this test was unfortunately not very scientific, it did show that these boots allow more heat transfer than some others and rely on the warmth of a foot on the inside to stay warm. And, not surprisingly, we found them to be much warmer when moving around a lot rather than sitting still for long periods. We also like how the cuff at the top of the shaft is a bit tighter than Bogs boots, so less warm air leaks out. Overall, The Arctic Ice Tall are warm enough for most winter activities, especially when you are staying active.
This is the tallest boot in our testing, with the highest shaft height of 16 inches, as well as the highest potential water entry point, which is also at the top of the shaft — 16 inches high.
The outside of this boot is covered in a single coating of rubber with absolutely no seams where water might have the opportunity to leak in. This rubber extends most of the way up the shaft, and, above that, the neoprene is covered with Spandura, which is also waterproof. Unless you manage to poke a hole or create a tear in the sides of your boots, these are as waterproof as they come, and your feet will be staying dry.
Fit and Comfort
The fit of these boots is very spacious and wide, with lots of area in the forefoot to wriggle the toes around and no constrictions to cut off blood flow. The fit in the heel is also fairly wide, and one might even call these a little bit sloppy, which is why we don't recommend them as our top choice for long hikes (they are also heavy). Like Bogs, they only come in single whole sizes. Our main tester wears a size 11, and a size 11 boot fit well and comfortably, although the fit was a bit more precise with thick and bulky wool socks than thin ones. If you commonly wear a half size, we would probably recommend opting to size down rather than size up.
If we have one complaint, it comes from the cuff at the top of the shaft. As a tall boot, this cuff is above the midway point on the calf, and it has an elastic band that closely wraps the shin and calf, which keeps cold air out and warm air in. However, it also rubs this area a bit in a way that we found mildly annoying. The wide-open top of the shaft found on Bogs is a bit more comfortable in this area.
Ease of Use
These are slip-on boots, meaning there are no laces or other tightening features that need to be done up; you simply slide your foot in and out to put them on and take them off. Slip-ons are the most convenient style to take on and off many times per day and our favorite choice for winter chores for that reason.
As slip-on's go, we found these to be slightly more effort than Bogs. They don't have the convenient handles at the top of the shaft, so you have to grip tightly to the neoprene itself to pull them on. The tall shaft and tighter cuff at the top also mean it takes slightly more effort to pull them on. Emphasis on slightly, as these are still super easy to slide on in a hurry and race out the door.
There is no doubt these boots have the best traction of any that we have tested. Not only do they have large, deep lugs that are well spaced out for maximum stick in soft snow, but they also feature the super cool Vibram Arctic Grip rubber compounds on the sole.
The Arctic Grip pods are placed in the middle of all of the largest lugs and grip well to slippery wet ice, making it easy to walk — no careful shuffle approach needed. For those who live and work near icy surfaces — for instance, frozen winter roads in the northeast or northwest — having this technology on your shoes is a total game-changer.
As The Muck Boot Company's most advanced winter boot, it shouldn't be surprising that the price tag for these is up there with the other most expensive boots in our review. However, the performance is also at the top of the chart, literally, and while we haven't had the chance to wear them out completely, online reviews suggest they last for a long time for most folks. Despite the price, we think they present excellent value for those who live in the snow and deal with it on a daily basis. For those looking to save a little bit of money, the other variations on Muck's winter boots all cost a little bit less.
The Muck Arctic Ice Tall has the best traction on slippery surfaces, especially ice, of any boot we have tested. It is also very convenient to take on and off, quite warm, and totally waterproof. We think it's the best winter boot you can buy for daily use, although it wouldn't be our top choice for winter hiking or snowshoeing.
— Andy Wellman