User Review: Steger Mukluks Arctic
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $179
These are extremely warm boots. Extremely comfortable too, like your favorite slippers on steroids. They are not for wet conditions though. If it's warm enough outside to be wet, these are probably too warm!
- Easily repairable
- Liners replaceable
- Waterproof soles with good traction in snow
- Good for mushing, ice fishing, stadiums, hunting stands, igloo building.
- Not for long distance treks, not waterproof.
- Take a while to lace.
If barefooters went to the Arctic, this is what they'd wear. In fact, a number of people do wear them barefoot. I have, but only for a quick trip to the compost bin at ten below, or a short visit to school to see my son's class perform in assembly. Normally I wear socks, which only makes them warmer.
Before I mention what these boots don't do, I'll sing their praises. (Photos coming)
Warm, warm, warm! With enough space to add a felt insole for increased insulation when you're standing on ice, jigging, or otherwise not very active. These are warm. The inner wool felt liner is not as tall as the boot which is 17", but the extra height together with the lace tie at the top keeps out snow and definitely helps keep your legs, and so your feet, warmer. At 20 and 25 degrees below zero (F) I haven't found a warmer boot.
Comfortable! Like a mocassin comfortable, with plenty of room to spread and wiggle your toes. Sized correctly, your heel doesn't lift when walking, but this is not a long-distance walking boot. Maybe long distance snowshoeing, but I haven't tried that. No break-in needed, no chafing, though they do get softer and fit to your feet as the years go by. No arch, heel cup, ankle pockets, or other high-tech elements that might not fit your foot. It's a safe bet these will fit you and all your friends. Which means you have to watch out for the excuses your wife and kids will make for needing to wear them!
Dry. With leather and canvas uppers, they breathe so your feet don't get wet from sweat. The leather can be waterproofed, but these are not boots for thirty degrees and warmer, unless it's not raining or the slush isn't deep. The rubber soles wrap up one and a half inches, protecting feet from some slush, but these are not wet weather boots.
Traction is good in snow, okay on ice, fine on rock and even on wet surfaces but, again, stay away from anything wet and deep. Lateral support isn't there, so one element of traction, or sure-footedness, is missing.
For those in a hurry, these are not slip-ons. While they are easy to pull on, the long leather laces take a minute to wrap and tie. At least a minute. For each one. If you like the slow food movement, you'll like these boots. The wide leather laces are a treat to wrap and tie. For those short trips to the compost bin, or just to shovel the walk, tuck the laces in and be on your way.
Durable. Walking on snow and ice is not tough on the sole, the leather and canvas are tough show almost no wear after two years. These are easy to repair.
One of the best for last: made in the USA. It's not easy to find footwear made domestically. Of course, that's one of the reasons the price is significant. I like the fact that it's going to pay a living wage to people who work for a reputable family here at home.
I've worn these boots for two winters, and look forward to many more. My wife bought a pair of all leather Steger mukluks after trying mine. My son wants a pair, but we're waiting until his feet stop growing!
In summary, these boots aren't suited for climbing, long treks if you're in a hurry, or quick change artists. They don't belong in wet environments. But in truly cold places, especially where you aren't active and generating heat constantly, they shine. Well, the suede and canvas don't actually shine, but they do have rugged good looks and they perform like a pair of heavy-duty winter moccasins should.
They are available through the Steger Mukluks website, or at their store in Ely, Minnesota — where they are made.