Insulated Waterproof Arctic Boots – which ones are best suited for my needs?

I was looking (still am actually) for a pair of shoes or boots that fulfil the following requirements:

  • 100% Fully Waterproof
  • Insulated for sub-zero temperatures
  • Good non-slip soles, good traction
  • Comfortable and lightweight
  • Looks pretty, not too masculine
  • Knee-high length
  • Easy to walk in
  • Would keep me warm when I was taking photos on the boat
  • Would keep me dry and toasty when I was getting off the zodiacs and stepping into water
  • Would take me onto the snow, ice, rocks and gravel safely and surely

To be able to wear it from boat to zodiac to landings and for hikings, casual walks and wanderings around town

Admittedly I am looking for a boot that does it all in all terrain. I got in touch with ShiptoShore Travellers and they were absolutely helpful in recommending boots and explaining in great detail the performance of each type of boot – pros and cons. They had options for the usual cheaper Traditional Wellington Boot (uninsulated), the Zodiac Classic High Boot (BOGS) and the Arctic Extreme Weather Boot (Muck Boot Co). The pricing on the website is also very competitive so they do deserve the sale where possible. Having said that, I haven’t entirely made up my mind yet.

Here’re their comments:

“All three of our boots can be used for wear ashore in both the Arctic and Antarctic as well as for when you are traveling between ship and shore in the Zodiac inflatable boats.  

Our boots with the most rugged sole are our insulated Extreme Weather Boots ($128/pair).  These boots also fit the best for those who might have wide feet, high arches or otherwise hard-to-fit feet.  These are our top-of-the-line boots.

Next in line — in regards to the sole — would be our Traditional Wellie Style boots at $38/pair — however these are un-insulated. 

Next would be our insulated Zodiac Classic High Boots ($89.95/pair).  These are our most popular boots — largely because of the price-point for an insulated boot. As with the other boots, they have a good rugged sole, and are perfect for wear on ice, snow and also on rocky shores.  They are also very comfortable for hiking and walking on tracks and roads.  In addition to selling this boot we also use this particular boot in our Antarctic boot rental program (no rental programs for the Arctic). 

Very few ship travelers change to other footwear but you may find there might be occasions when you’d like to have hiking boots for wear ashore.  From your email I’m not able to tell what cruise you are doing or on what ship you’re sailing.  I can advise if you’d like to provide that information or perhaps you received a Packing Checklist from your cruise line. If so, they should have included information on footwear.  The boots are also great for wear on deck if you want to be outside bird- and marine mammal watching or doing photography.  (Cold can come up through the deck, especially the steel decks, and you can get very chilly –even on the teak decks — if you plan to be out on deck for long periods of time.)  

The drawback with the Wellie-style boot is that you may need to wear several pairs of thick warm socks to keep your feet warm if you tend to get cold in cold temperatures.  One pair of socks is probably all you’d need in the two other boots however for comfort you might like to wear a lightweight pair of socks topped with a thick warm boot sock, like our Outdoor Thermal Boot Socks.

If you are looking at the weight of each boot, the Classic Zodiac Boots are approx. 4.5-5 pounds per pair (depending upon the size); the other boots are 6-6.5 pounds per pair.  This may or may not make a difference to you.”

Based on another inquiry of mine, here’re more comments:

“The women’s boot does indeed have the lighter tread on the sole and is not as rugged as on the men’s Zodiac Classic High Boot.  This is a more dainty boot if you will.  If you want a rugged sole, e.g. for hiking, my recommendation is to go with the Extreme Weather Boot.  I personally wear this boot.  They are a bit heavier, but you do get a more rugged sole.  

As mentioned, our top seller is by far the Zodiac Classic High boot and we’ve used this for several years now in our Antarctic rental program.  I’m not aware that we’ve had any complaints that the sole (on either the men’s or women’s Zodiac Classic High boots) aren’t sufficient for wear there — which is very similar to what you’ll have in the Arctic.  Rocky and uneven terrain, slippery shores, ice, snow, etc.  

You can fold down the top of the Zodiac Classic High boots and also the Extreme Weather boots.  From the ankle area up they are both made of a heavy neoprene fabric, similar to what SCUBA Diver’s wetsuits are made from.  You can fold down the top of the boot (towards the ankles) to step into / out of the boots.  Both styles are very comfortable — and you may certainly find them comfortable to wear around ship during the day.  They are great for wear out on deck if you plan to spend a lot of time out bird- and marine mammal-watching, for photography and also for simply viewing the passing scenery.  I personally tend to take off my boots and change into a pair of clogs for wear around ship but then when I am aboard ship (and working) I’m usually not out on deck, in the cold, for long periods of time.

As for sizing, this is different with the three boots (including the Traditional Wellie Style un-insulated boots).”

The customer service person at STST sent me several sizing charts, and the best way really, is to measure your feet and then refer to the charts for a more accurate fit. I looked at all my shoes and they all had different sizes due to the different cuts of each manufacturer and the type of shoe differed as well.

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