What are the new Alaskan Sneakers?
November 8, 2013 6:06 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for a great pair of Xtratuf boots like these but I understand that now they are made in China and the quality is very poor. I have heard of similar problems with L.L. Bean's boots. I have been looking at ebay for the old made in the USA boots but I have not seen any in my size. Is there another boot make that is similar to the good old Xtratuf?

I haven't seen any new brands taking off in Alaska, maybe because the old Xtratufs are still kicking. Is there is a brand that is well used in Northern Europe or other soggy locals? This is complete speculation but I wonder if most boots use glue that is not resistant to the acidic, tannin rich water Alaska and other boggy places since the seams always fail.

Here are my specific requirements:

-I am an Earth scientist and sometimes travel in wetlands in Alaska, Maine, and some other soggy places. Some of these travels include long hikes carrying loads where great boots are critical. (Older, smarter colleagues have stocked up on the old Xtratufs made in the USA and don't have any advice)

-I am cheap in the sense I hate to get something that will have to be thrown away because it fell apart; I would rather spend more now for something that will last.

-I am looking for size 10 tall boots like these.

-No problem with used boots if I could find them in my size
posted by JayNolan to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (20 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
do redwings work, my construction buddies in northern alberta use them, and they do some similar tracking, think they are still made in america?
posted by PinkMoose at 6:21 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Unfortunately the rediculously priced, Hunter brand wellies are even made in China these days and are suffering from quality issues.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:24 AM on November 8, 2013

My question was about hiking boots, but there may be some answers that apply to you here
posted by edgeways at 6:27 AM on November 8, 2013

Baffin boots are still made in Canada, does that work?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:28 AM on November 8, 2013

It sounds like your experiences are not unique.

LL Bean's Bean Boots are apparently still made in Maine, though most of the rest are imported.

Red Wing might be a good option. Their quality is very high, though I only have experience with their much shorter boots. They let you filter by Country Of Origin. These look like they'll take a beating.

Chippewa are also frequently recommended as a high-quality, USA-made boot.
posted by Magnakai at 6:29 AM on November 8, 2013

I was just going to say, LL Bean has outsourced way more than I'd like, but not their more classic boots, and their guarantee is as good as it ever was.
posted by Sequence at 6:30 AM on November 8, 2013

I haven't tried them, but I've heard good things about Mucks from friends who have similar boot requirements.
posted by heurtebise at 6:32 AM on November 8, 2013

I see a lot of Muck boots on survey crews and on job sites. I don't know where they are made or anything about the company. The pair I own is holding up ok though I don't put them through extreme use; I don't hear people routinely complaining about them falling apart.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:35 AM on November 8, 2013

Those of you recommending RedWings and the like -- they will absolutely not work in wetlands.

Bogs are great, and they have a line for hunting and outdoor sportsmen. I wonder if they'd be too heavy for your needs, as the models you have suggested look to be fairly lightweight.
posted by barnone at 6:51 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Nokian, though now made "somewhere in central Europe" rather than in Finland, make very good boots. Make sure you check the calf width, though; the ones I had were just a bit too snug.
posted by scruss at 6:58 AM on November 8, 2013

Apologies, I had misunderstood the question, and thought this kind of waterproofing was enough.
posted by Magnakai at 7:00 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

The LL Bean boots are pretty much guarenteed for life so there is that. Not much use if they fail while you are in the bush but they should measure up well in the longevity comparison.
posted by srboisvert at 7:01 AM on November 8, 2013

Heh. My husband works in the area where Bean Boots are made (in the same building, he does not make boots). I can promise you that the traditional "duck boots" are still made in Maine (although some of the leather comes from other US states and the factory that pours the soles is in Wisconson, where it has been for decades).

That being said, he got a pair of Bogs on the recomendation of some of the Bean footwear product developers, and swears by them. Says they're the best mud season/slushy weather/walking in the swamp boots he's ever owned.
posted by anastasiav at 8:08 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

What about Blundstone boots? Not made in America but in Australia but such good quality. Mine were a present from my mum 10 years ago and are still going strong.
posted by stevedawg at 8:21 AM on November 8, 2013

Out here in the Aleutians I see a mix of Xtratufs and Bogs, Xtratufs being generally more popular with men and Bogs with women and kids (no idea why). I really like my Bogs because they are super warm, totally waterproof, and easy to get in and out of. My husband loves his Xtratufs.

Anecdata: my husband's first pair of Xtratufs (made in America) only lasted a year before cracking and falling apart pretty epically. The second pair (made in China) thus far seems to be holding up much better. YMMV, but there were a ton of complaints when the manufacturing location changed, and the company swears it tightened up its standards. There was also an effort to return production stateside, but I don't remember if it worked out. Senator Begich supported it and had a lovely gallery of constituents of all ages and stripes rocking their boots.
posted by charmcityblues at 8:49 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

> Blundstone boots? Not made in America but in Australia

They've been made in Vietnam for several years now. They aren't really waterproof enough for site work.
posted by scruss at 10:33 AM on November 8, 2013

Another vote for Bogs. They're practically the uniform of the outdoor preschool I know, for the kids and the teachers. I live near Seattle and my kids wear them all winter long, in rain and snow.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:02 PM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've had my pair of Muck boots for four years of soggy wetland fieldwork, and they are still good as new.
posted by pemberkins at 4:17 PM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Kamiks are mostly made in the Canada or the US.
posted by islander at 7:19 PM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks so much for the thoughtful answers as always metafilter!

I want to add about the LL Bean boots that although the warranty makes it a good deal, three summers ago two colleagues wore through boots in one short but intense season.
posted by JayNolan at 8:03 AM on November 12, 2013

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