Fishgutters! Carwashers! Farmers! Hunters! (Wetworkers!) : outfit me!!
May 8, 2009 4:55 AM   Subscribe

Please tell me about your favourite/beloved/trusty aprons, rubber boots and/or insoles. I work with/in water all day. I have an apron and rubber boots (with insoles), but they're all falling apart and I want to replace them. I want to replace them with NEW and IMPROVED versions. Specific citations (with links!?) are great, but general recommendations are also appreciated. I have looked online, but haven't found anything that screams "I am better than what you have now," just sort of run-of-the-mill replacements.

RUBBER BOOTS -- I am a size 13 (US). I live in a country where this size is not readily/cheaply available, so I have been buying the cheapest 'large-size' RB I can find. They last about 3-6 months; I patch them up with rubber and glue; the patches fall off; I get sick of fussing with the rubber and glue; I buy new RB, but the same kind; repeat. I don't want to repeat any more. I want something lightweight, but sturdy/long-lasting, and as 'non-sweaty' as possible. I don't need steel toe, steel shank, or steel anything.

INSOLES -- I am a size 13 (US). Last summer, I bought some vaguely decent looking/feeling insoles at a workwear shop. They seemed to be better than nothing, but I was never sure. Lately, I find my feet and calves to be rather aching at the end of each day. I would much prefer to feel as though I am walking on air all day, were that possible.

WATERPROOF APRON -- I am 6'5". The apron I am currently using is made of one and a half aprons duct-taped together. I put extra eyelets lower down so I could tie the rope around my waist (instead of at my sternum). But the eyelets have ripped out through extended use. I'm ready to move up in aprons. Ready-made is fine, but I would also be willing to work at building my own apron from scratch -- would appreciate suggestions for materials, as well as for what makes a good, comfortable, long-lasting apron (lightweight and 'non-sweaty' is also a plus here).
posted by segatakai to Shopping (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Boots from the Muck Boot Company are well made, durable, and waterproof. The material they are made of seals around any punctures in the bottom or sides, so they keep going through damage. They also come in your size and are the most comfortable boots I've found for standing on my feet all day. I don't know exactly what you are doing that you need rubber boots, but I assume that you need something that goes up to your knee like this model.

I got these specifically for working in a stable, but two weeks into the job I was working we had flooding and their waterproof feature was a godsend. I cannot recommend these more highly.
posted by Mouse Army at 5:19 AM on May 8, 2009

I love my Muck Boots. I've had a pair for a year now, and they've made it through garden duty, walking in the stream, mucking out the coop and the pig pen, shoveling snow, etc. Comfortable, sturdy, and able to be hosed off. I wear them often but not all day; perhaps other Muck Boot owners can speak to their long-term comfort. The chore boots (below the knee) do get warm in the summer, however, and I sometimes roll the tops down (which doesn't help with your waterproof requirement).

Gempler's looks like it has a nice selection of rubber boots.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:28 AM on May 8, 2009

My husband swears by these boots from L.L.Bean. They also come with Thinsulate insulation if you work somewhere cold and wet.
posted by anastasiav at 6:03 AM on May 8, 2009

See if you can find a pair of Grunden's (Clipper 117) bibs in your country. They can be expensive, but in 20 years of fish work I went through 2 pair. They will keep you dry, even better than an apron. Totally worth it.

The boots are another story, they all pretty much suck. Because they're mostly all rubber even the good ones wear quickly on a concrete floor, and if you're in water all get to stink pretty fast. If you buy the most expensive boots they will break your heart and wallet. I settled on cheap industrial supply company ones like these Batas. I would churn through 2-3 pairs per year
posted by kuujjuarapik at 6:47 AM on May 8, 2009

When I was in Alaska, everyone (fishermen, dockworkers etc) wore Xtra Tuffs.
They also come in steel-toe if that is important to you.
The common knowledge was to get them non-insulated and just wear warm socks in the winter, but I got the insulated ones and was glad to have toasty toes.
They last a long time.
posted by rmless at 7:37 AM on May 8, 2009

I love my Birkenstock arch support insoles, they make every shoe more comfortable.
posted by Penelope at 8:42 AM on May 8, 2009

These are what I have been using in Greenland. They have taken a beating and I´m still on the first pair. They also have amazing grip, you won´t slip in these things.
posted by DelusionsofGrandeur at 11:31 AM on May 8, 2009

If your feet and calves are aching, the right insoles will take this away immediately. For me it was custom insoles. Ever in NYC?
posted by scazza at 12:14 PM on May 8, 2009

Seconding what rmless said about Xtra Tuffs in Alaska. In rural Alaska they're pretty much part of the uniform.

- AJ
posted by Alaska Jack at 7:56 PM on May 28, 2009

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