Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Product Reviews | Recipes | Home RSS
 
 
 

Rubber Hunting Boots...Product Review

Giving Cold, Wet Feet the Boot

March 1, 2014
Bill Waugaman , Ohio Valley Outdoors

Cold or wet feet is one of the easiest ways to ruin a good day of hunting, or any other outdoor activity in the fall and winter. There is a wide variety of footwear available for the outdoors person. Each one has advantage and disadvantages. The 'rubber' hunting boot is definitely one of the most popular. These boots are designed and constructed to be waterproof keeping your feet dry, and insulated with various materials for warmth even in some of the most adverse weather conditions.

Rubber hunting boots are not created equal. There are differences in insulation, materials used to make them waterproof, tread design, shanks, how tall they are, sizing, external appearance (camo or solid color), how they fit around the calf and even how they fit around the ankle.

Five nationally known companies were contacted for this comparison review of quality rubber hunting boots. Since there is such a diversity in rubber boots between manufacturers, and even within the same manufacturer, a 'top of the line' rubber boot from each company was selected. These boots are: Cabela's Comfort Trac 2000-gram Zonz Woodlands (831619), Irish Setter Rutmaster Ultra Ecoflex (4874), and LaCrosse Alphaburly Pro18 Realtree Xtra 1600, Muck Boot Arctic Pro Camo and Rocky MudSox (style FQ0004784). Size 11 boots were used for this review.

Article Video

-------------------------------

Cabela's Comfort Trac 2000-gram Zonz Woodlands

MSRP: $139.99

Article Photos

Cabela’s Comfort Trac 2000-gram Zonz Woodlands

Men's sizes: 7-13

Insulation: 2,000-gram Thinsulate Ultra

Height: 18" (18.5" on front)

Weight: 6.5 lbs.

Origin: China

Camo pattern: Cabela's Zonz Woodlands

Warranty: Lifetime under normal wear and tear, and defects in workmanship

Exterior: On the outside, Cabela's Comfort Trac 2000-gram Zonz Woodlands is double reinforced in areas that take abuse and are important for support (on the instep, heel and Achilles area). The toe is given added protection with a wrap-around bumper. The aggressive ground grabbing lug pattern of the molded outsoles is about " deep and provides optimum traction and easy cleaning in mud and snow. The cupped design on the inside cradles the foot. At the top of the boot, the side gusset allow the top edge to be adjusted to fit comfortably around the calf by tightening up the nylon straps with a cinch buckle. The gusset straps are riveted for added strength. The top edge is reinforced with a 3/8" rubber collar around the outside except in the gusset. Of the boots evaluated, this is the only one where the outside is all rubber. The heel kick for taking the boot off is a nice feature

Interior: The inside of the boot has a fleece lining. Insulation consists of 8mm CR flex-foam booties, 2mm thermal foam in the instep. The 2,000-gram Thinsulate Ultra is in the toe cap area and wraps around the sides and the back of the boot for maximum foot warmth. The midsole is made from EVA and molded to form a contoured footbed for comfort. The midsole is covered with an 8mm thick wool-felt cushion for insulation and comfort.

Why choose this boot: Cabela's Comfort Trac boots have a lifetime warranty and are the least expensive of the five reviewed. It also has the greatest amount of Thinsulate Ultra (2000 grams). Since the exterior is all rubber, it would be more resistant to damage than other materials that could be ruined by thorns, jaggers and sharp objects. The heel kick is a nice feature.

(Note: The Comfort Trac boots shown in the photos were field-tested earlier this year and sported Cabela's Seclusion 3D camouflage pattern. For this fall, the company offers the Comfort Trac boots in its new Zonz Woodlands camo pattern.)

Cabela's

One Cabela Dr.

Sidney, NE 69160

800-237-4444

www.cabelas.com

-------------------------------

Irish Setter Rutmaster Ultra EcoFlex (style 4874)

MSRP: $219.99

Sizes: (E-width) 7, 8-12 (including half sizes), 13, 14, 15

Insulation: 1200 Gram Thinsulate Ultra

Height: 17 1/2"

Weight: 6.7 lbs.

Origin: China

Camo Pattern: Realtree AP

Warranty: Irish Setter Hunt branded footwear products are warranted against defects in workmanship and materials. If within one year of purchase, an Irish Setter Hunt branded footwear product defect occurs as the result of normal use, Red Wing Shoe Company, Inc. ("Red Wing") will repair the defect or exchange the product.

Exterior: The exterior of the Rutmaster Ultra EcoFlex is all rubber, even the gusset. This makes it waterproof and excellent for scent control. The gusset, in the back, has a nylon cinch strap to snug up the top of the boot around the calf. The collar around the top edge of the boot is double stitched in place. Reinforcement of the toe, instep and heel add to the durability and give additional protection for the foot. The outsole is constructed with a specially designed sole with mud releasing cleats. Plus, the outsole has special cleats in the toe and heel area for providing traction on hills.

Interior: For warmth and insulation, this boot has 1200 grams Thinsulate Ultra. The Thinsulate Ultra is used from the ankle down to the sole for foot warmth (but not under the foot cushion). The upper is covered with a neoprene liner for warmth and comfort on the leg. While it may be obvious when looking at the outside, the ExoFlex Performance Fit System panel in the back of the boot shaft gives big benefits to the inside. This panel expands to accommodate the back of the foot making it easy to put the boot on and take it off. When the boot is on, the EcoFlex panel contracts back in place for a snug and secure fit. The boot stays in place on your foot and your heel does not slide up and down when you walk.

Why choose this boot: The EcoFlex panel works as it is designed. The Rutmaster is the only boot in this review that offers availability in half-sizes (from 8 to 12). The all rubber exterior is more resistant to damage that could be caused by thorns, jaggers and sharp objects.

Irish Setter Boots

314 Main St.

Red Wing, MN 55066

888-738-8370

www.irishsetterboots.com

-------------------------------

LaCrosse Alphaburly Pro18 Realtree Xtra 1600

MSRP: $170.00

Men's sizes: 6-15

Insulation: 1,600 grams of Thinsulate Ultra

Height: 17.5"

Weight: 7.0 lbs

Origin: China

Camo pattern: Realtree Xtra

Warranty: LaCrosse Footwear, Inc. ("LaCrosse") warrants to the original end-user customer, and to no other person or entity (including without limitation any direct or indirect transferees of the product from customer), that its footwear and apparel products will be free from defects in materials and workmanship and, with respect to its waterproof footwear and apparel products, free from leakage in normal use, for the applicable time period: One-Year From Date of Original Purchase

Rated temperature: 0 to -70 F

Exterior: The LaCrosse Alphaburly Pro18 Realtree Xtra 1600 is a new addition to the popular Alphaburly line. This new boot uses a natural rubber compound on the outside of the boot except for the top. Here, a stretchable neoprene cuff gives flexibility and comfort around the calf without being too tight. A rear neoprene gusset with nylon strap allows the additional room needed by people with large calves. The stretchable cuff and gusset make the boot easier in getting off and on. A collar is double stitched around the top edge of the boot except in the gusset area. On the bottom, the outsole provides good foot support, superior traction and a 'no mud buildup' design. A fiberglass shank between the outsole and midsole gives even more foot support.

Interior: LaCrosse updated the inside of the Alphaburly line by replacing a fleece lining with an embossed neoprene liner. This orange liner has a cross-hatch pattern that allows for good air circulation. A thick cushion midsole adds comfort. The Alphaburly Pro also features Ankle-Fit. This is a design feature that has a narrowed ankle pocket to grip the top of the foot better and lock the heel in place, thus preventing excess rubbing and chafing caused by foot movement. 1600 grams of Thinsulate Ultra is placed between the neoprene and rubber outer shell throughout the entire boot. Where there is rubber, there is insulation beneath it to give this boot a high level of comfort even on the coldest days.

Why choose this boot: This boot has the coldest temperature rating of the five tested. The fiberglass shank gives added support to the foot. With an MSRP of $170, the Alphaburly Pro18 has a lot to offer at a midrange price point.

LaCrosse Footwear

17634 NE Airport Way

Portland OR 97230

800-323-2668

www.lacrossefootwear.com

-------------------------------

Muck Boot Arctic Pro Camo

MSRP: $209.95

Sizes: 5-15 (Men's), 6-13 (Women's)

Insulation: 8mm neoprene plus 2mm thermal foam in foot area

Height: 17" (height is 16" or 17" depending on boot size)

Weight: 5.2 lbs

Origin: China

Camo Pattern: New Mossy Oak Break-Up

Warranty: The Original Muck Boot Company, a Honeywell Company, warrants to the original end customer, that its footwear will be free from defects in materials and workmanship for a period of one year from the date of purchase by the original end customer.

Rated Temperature: 40F to -60F (comfort range)

Exterior: The extra reinforcement used in the Muck Boot Arctic Pro Camo for the instep, toe and heel are on the inside of the outer rubber shell. The Achilles reinforcement is on the outside. The toe area of the outsole is enhanced with a wrap-up bumper area for added protection. The Bob-tracker molded outsole is designed to protect your foot and give stable footing. The midsole is made from molded EVA and is contoured for a comfortable fit. The bottom half of the Arctic Pro Extreme exterior is rubber; the top half is made of neoprene with the exception of the rubber strip on the front and back where the two neoprene halves are sewn together. At the top, a stretchable collar is double stitched over the edge to protect the outside neoprene and the inside arctic fleece lining. The pull-on strap sewn into the collar is a very nice touch.

Interior: The Arctic Pro Camo is fully insulated with 8mm neoprene. An additional 2mm of thermal foam is added to the foot area for extra insulation. With the breathable airmesh and arctic fleece, it's obvious why this boot does a good job of keeping feet warm, dry and comfortable. The midsoles are made with EVA for extra cushioning. The Arctic Pro Camo is surprisingly easy to put on and take off.

Why choose this boot: Of the five boots tested, it is the lightest at only 5.2 pounds and is the least bulky in appearance. It is also the only one of the five with a pull-on strap.

(Note: When a problem occurred with another style of Muck Boot that I own, documentation and photos were submitted to Honeywell at their request. Within a couple days, the boots were replaced. Honeywell customer service gets an A+.)

Muck Boot Company (Honeywell Safety Products)

900 Douglas Pike

Smithfield, RI 02917

800.430.5490

www.muckbootcompany.com

-------------------------------

Rocky MudSox (FQ0004784)

MSRP: $184.99

Sizes: (D-width) 8-9-10-11-12-13

Insulation: 1000 grams of Thinsulate Ultra

Height: 16"

Weight: 7 lbs.

Origin: China

Camo Pattern: Brown Realtree Camo

Warranty: All Rocky Products have a 1-year, limited warranty in normal use against any manufacturing flaw(s), defective materials and workmanship

Exterior: The Rocky MudSox (style FQ0004784) is made a little differently from most other rubber boots. Rocky starts with a 3.5mm waterproof neoprene sock and covers it with a 1.5mm molded rubber shell. The shin area is reinforced with a thicker outer rubber shell. The circumference of the foot is given a second layer of rubber. Then the heel, toe and Achilles areas are given additional reinforcement on the outside to protect against cuts and abrasions. While the rubber outside extends all the way to the top in the front half, the back half of the top is stretchable neoprene for a snug fit around the calf. The seam in the back of the neoprene is sealed with a rubber strip. Rocky's 'Easy Kick Off' helps for taking the boot off. The tread of the EVA/rubber outsoles is designed to give good traction and be self-cleaning. The outsole also incorporates a toe bumper in the front. The midsole is made from EVA and designed to increase weight relief on the feet.

Interior: The Rocky MudSox is the only boot in this review that has a removable footbed. This footbed is made from a 5mm open-cell material. If it wears thin, it can be replaced, or add a second one to snug up the fit and add cushioning. The neoprene sock adds insulating qualities and comfort on the inside. For even more warmth, 1000 grams of Thinsulate Ultra is used to cover the entire inside surface area. This boot has a narrowing at the ankle for a good, secure fit. Rocky ScentIQ Atomic helps to control human odor.

Why choose this boot: Of the five boots in this review, the MudSox is the only one with a footbed that can be easily removed and replaced. Exterior reinforcement in the back extends nearly to the top of the boot and wraps halfway around the sides for added leg support. The heel kick makes taking the boots off much easier.

Rocky Boots

39 E. Canal St.

Nelsonville, OH 45764

866-442-4908

www.rockyboots.com

-------------------------------

Part of my product review process involves communications with the manufacturers. Posing some tough questions or concerns, both by phone and by email, all five companies (or their agencies) were very professional and helpful. I believe the same would be true for any customer communications.

I had the pleasure of talking with Alan Mullet, owner of Mullet's Footwear in Mesopotamia, OH. His store handles footwear from many major manufacturers, including Irish Setter, LaCrosse, Muck Boot and Rocky. In our conversation, the question of defective boots was raised. Mullet responded that even with the large volume of boots sold through his store, he has very few of these four brands that are truly defective. When asked his opinion on why his customers choose a specific boot, Mullet indicated that it is normally a choice based on personal preferences since all of the boots are of good quality.

As for the Cabela's boots, I spoke with several individuals who purchase products from Cabela's. Without exception, these individuals have been pleased and satisfied with any Cabela's branded products.

While each of the five boots reviewed had features that set them apart from the other, no one boot was the ideal one for me. I would not have a reservation about wearing any of these five boots on my next hunting excursion in cold, nasty, rainy weather.

 
 

 

I am looking for:
in:
News, Blogs & Events Web