These boots are made for walking long distances uphill through mud
April 11, 2010 7:27 AM   Subscribe

What are your favorite rubber boots for hiking?

I'm spending a good part of the summer doing field work in Costa Rica. (Hooray!) Now, I've been there once before, and I did fine with my Gore-Tex hiking boots. But last time, it was cool and dry. This time, by all accounts, it will be hot and rainy, and I hear I'd be much better off with a good sturdy pair of rubber boots than with the fanciest of fancy hiking boots.

So, what are your favorite rubber boots for long treks like this? (LaCrosse and Muck Boots in particular have both been recommended to me - thoughts?) Needs to be sturdy, and have decent traction.

As a bonus - my ankles hate me, and the best thing about my current hiking boots is the ankle support. Do I have any chance of reasonable support in a rubber boot, or should I just suck it up and bring some ankle braces?
posted by pemberkins to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
LLBean's Maine Hunting Shoe -- Good fitting, good tread, tight, lace-up uppers for ankle support (an important feature for me too), reasonable price, 10" or 12". The original hunting version was modified Bean himself for use in WWI. Seal the seams with waterproofing before immersion in water. I've used them in all conditions for thirty years -- heat, ice, snow, water, mud, dry trails, wet trails, everyday use in Vermont. They're my only boots. Also, when the bottoms wear out, send in the uppers and Bean will install a replacement. I have two pair, plus the shoe version. One pair of uppers are the first pair I bought. (Don't buy the Bean Boot. There seems to be a difference in the "rubber" material of the bottoms. Ask for a pair of tongue protectors when you order.)
posted by partner at 8:01 AM on April 11, 2010

I've spent a couple of rainy seasons doing field work in Costa Rica, and I've always just used old hiking boots - mostly due to comfort and ankle support. The locals almost always wear rubber boots, but I found them hard to walk in (poor tread), hot, and too floppy. However, I think one of the reasons that many people wear rubber boots is for snake protection. When I was in an area that had a lot of snakes, I wore snake gaiters over my hiking boots and pants. So, I guess this isn't really an answer to your question...sorry!
posted by shrabster at 10:26 AM on April 11, 2010

I suggest this winning combination: jungle (or desert) boots and a pair of goretex socks. Water goes through the boots easily, but escapes just as easily, so your feet don't get bogged down, and the boots dry quickly. You only need to wear the socks when you're dealing with wet conditions (wear a thin sock as a liner inside them).
posted by furtive at 12:34 PM on April 11, 2010

These are the go-to rubber boots for Alaskans during mud season, especially those in the Southeast/rainforest parts of the state where mud season lasts for months and months. They are fairly sturdy (you can even get steel-toed, if you want), have decent traction for a rubber boot, and you can roll the tops over so they don't go quite so high (they hit between mid-calf and just below the knee, depending on person). If you are using them for hiking, they're most comfy if you throw a pair of Superfeet or other insoles in (if I'm doing kayaking or something else where it's possible to top them out if I'm not careful, I throw an extra pair of insoles in my bag).

Ankle support is non-existent, however, and they are the opposite of breathable. They also tend not to work well for people with really huge calves. If your priority is "really, truly waterproof," though, they're great.
posted by charmedimsure at 1:12 PM on April 11, 2010

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