by Erin Kirkland
When the Muck Boot Company started in 1999, it was determined to tackle a footwear conundrum for people faced with messy, wet, or cold jobs that required a boot to stand up to the task. Since that first pair of Muck Boots hit store shelves, people have pulled on a 100%-waterproof, stylish, and comfortable piece of equipment that remains an investment not just for work, but adventurous play as well.
In 18 years of business, Muck Boots have risen to top the outdoor footwear market for men, women, and kids with new styles that fit nearly every generation and budget. Two styles were provided for our family to test during the winter of 2016-17, and four feet jumped, slid, sledded, snowshoed, and ambled the snowy trails and tracks of Alaska in an effort to expose these boots to the roughest 49th state conditions possible. Here’s what we found.
Arctic Excursion (Mens): Price $139.99 (mid-length). Sizes available: 7-14.
As a family with a fast-growing tween boy, it is critical that purchases for footwear be especially prudent, yet worthwhile. Tween boys are notoriously tough on shoes and boots, but with such enormous feet that seem to grow in size overnight, finding a pair of boots to keep feet warm while not compromising on quality can be tough. The Arctic Excursion is such a boot. Rated to -40F, with EVA shock-absorbing footbeds, a fleecy interior, and ultra-rugged sole, Muck scored high with our tween-tester, who likened them to Alaska “bunny boots but way better-looking.” I liked the 100% waterproof outer layer that will take us well into spring’s warmer, wetter days without purchasing rubber boots for a season we call “Break Up”. My kid liked the fact his feet stayed warm and toasty even while snowshoeing through an Alaska forest on a below-zero day. We both loved the sleek look that avoids the clunkiness of so many snow boots. For boys making the transition into men’s sizes, the Muck Boot Arctic Excursion is a solid choice that won’t leave parents feeling guilty for spending more money on shoes. These boots are worth every step.
Arctic Apres Slip On (Women’s): Price $129.99 (mid-calf length/8″). Sizes available: 5-11.
Alaska’s customary practice is to remove shoes when entering a home. Which means, as an active mother schlepping kids from here to there, walking dogs, going skiing, and generally running amok, I am constantly taking off boots. I don’t have time to mess with laces, either, because often they end up a jumbled, frozen mess after tripping through deep snow. So when the Arctic Apres box arrived and in it contained two boots with zero laces and a smooth style to make my life easier, I breathed easy. Lightweight, comfortable, and sporting a fleect top and interior, the Apres is a style to envy. Plus, the rugged sole is perfect for navigating muddy, snowy, or uneven trails during my usual adventures. I received a 10 and found it roomy enough for two pairs of socks, necessary on days like last weekend when temperatures plunged to nearly -20F for the Iditarod Sled Dog Race start (the boots are indeed rated to -20F). I will say as a side note that longer, over-the-calf socks are advised with these boots; for some reason anything other than knee-type ski socks tended to slip inside the boot, and drove me nuts. But aside from this small glitch, the Muck Boot Arctic Apres is a solid choice for toasty toes and athletic-like comfort for any outdoor recreation activity, even if that activity is trekking from the ski hill to an apres’ ski cocktail lounge. Yep. It’s good enough for that.
Erin Kirkland is publisher of AKontheGO.com and author of the Alaska On the Go family travel guidebook series. She lives in Anchorage.