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Hands-on Gear Review
Bogs Classic Ultra High Review
Cons: Lower shaft height, less traction
Bottom line: The Ultra High boot will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable even on the longest, coldest, and wettest days.
Shaft Height (in inches - from bottom of sole to lowest point at top of shaft): 12
Lining/Insulation: 7mm waterproof Neo-Tech insulation
Manufacturer: Bogs Footwear
The Bogs Classic Ultra High rain boot won our Editor's Choice award because it continually surprised us with its comfort and warmth, no matter whether we were standing on concrete floors for 10 hours at a time or wading through snow and foot high water in miserably cold conditions. No other boot was as reliably comfortable, and the Bogs Ultra Classic High scored average or above in all other categories. Its 7mm Neo-Tech insulation is enough for sub-zero temperatures and helps this boot fit like a flexible glove, with none of the shin-jabbing we found in thinner shafted boots.
And finally, the innovative (though slightly strange looking) holes in the top of the shaft make these boots a literal joy to put on (with no awkward pulling and stomping) and also make them easier to carry and hang. And while these holes do sacrifice some water resistance, we figured most users wouldn't be in more than a foot of water and could choose a higher shafted boot if that's a big priority.
The Classic Ultra High boots are comfortable in colder temperatures, but they have a bit too much insulation when the weather warms. If you're looking for a good warm-weather option, check out the Best Buy Baffin Enduro. If you need something even more intense, the Top Pick for Winter Original Muck Boots Company Arctic Sport will keep you comfortable no matter how bad it gets. And if you don't need a high boot and you're just trying to look good while still staying dry, read up on the Top Pick for Subtle Looks Bogs Carson.
RELATED REVIEW: The 10 Best Rain Boots for Men
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The worst part of the Bogs Classic Ultra High is their name, so we're going to call them the Classic Ultra for the rest of this review. The Classic Ultra was undoubtedly the most comfortable boot in our test and scored well in all categories. It was so pleasant to use that it scored a perfect 10 (in ease of use) and scored highly in warmth and style. Its only average scores were in water resistance (due to the holes) and traction (in which it was perfectly adequate but not extraordinary). This is a phenomenal boot, and well worth the price.
The holes in the Classic Ultra start at 12" (from the bottom of the sole). If you're looking to spend your days calf-deep in water, these boots won't be enough, but for most applications - wading around the Puget Sound, crossing creeks, and exploring soggy Seattle neighborhoods - these boots will keep you nice and warm. We worried that the neoprene wouldn't be completely waterproof, but even after we stretched it around with our hands underwater, they were totally leakproof. The 17" circumference will be enough for the largest calves, and won't hug your legs like some other models (Muck Boots Arctic Sport). Quick comment - if you do manage to get water inside the Classic Ultra, it does take the Neo-tech some time to dry out.
If you do need the highest boots, the Arctic Sports have a 5.5 inch higher shaft. And if you're not so worried about shaft height, and want them to be slightly more comfortable in warmer weather, check out some of the lower boots.
The Classic Ultra was phenomenally comfortable, and we spent just over 40 blissful hours wearing them on all sorts of surfaces, from 20 hours on concrete to time on snow, mud, grass, and creek beds.
The neoprene did a great job of hugging while not constricting our ankles, and the fit was snug enough that we didn't have any of the "flop" we found in looser boots. Some of the comfort is due to the cushioned Aegis antimicrobial odor protection insoles, which were the thickest (and least smelly) insoles in our test.
These boots were good with the built-in insoles but truly phenomenal with a supplementary insole, which made them more supportive and a little snugger, for even more control over the boot.
And while this might not seem like a big deal, the soft neoprene shaft of Classic Ultra was a lot more comfortable against our shins than the less insulated boots, as they almost all buckled as we walked (especially uphill).
The Classic Ultra had average traction, performing decently well on mud, wet grass, snow, ice, and creek beds, while not wowing us on any of these surfaces (as the Arctic Sport and the Baffin Enduro did).
We assume this is due to the unique tread pattern, which features alternatively wavy, somewhat deep grooves. When we ran up and down a grassy hill, we found that our feet slipped in these more than the best traction boots, which all had large studs. And these boots didn't hold us as well on snow as other heavily studded options. At the same time, these boots were great on sidewalks, and we had no worries on the smoother terrain (while other more heavily studded boots didn't do as well).
These boots are prepared for hard conditions with 7mm of Neo-tech insulation, supposedly warm down to -40°F. Since the PNW doesn't get that cold, we'll assume that's true until we get a chance to test them in colder temps. We did use them at 20°F and found them to be perfectly comfortable at those temperatures, as long as we were moving. In our ice water test, we were comfortable sitting motionless (and without socks) for 15 minutes - the second warmest boots behind the Arctic Sport.
Keep in mind that the Classic Ultra is well-insulated, and won't be ideal for temperatures over 50°F (for which the Baffin Enduro or other uninsulated boots would be better suited).
Our testers gave this the second highest style score, right behind the Bogs Carson. We're personally not certain how this happened, but it seems like our elite group of style experts liked its more rugged utilitarian look.
People are going to notice if you're wearing this boot, but chances are they're just jealous of how warm and dry you look.
Ease of Use
We initially expected the handles and heel studs to be a gimmick but found them to be phenomenally handy.
We could have both Classic Ultras comfortably on our feet (using the handles) in the time it would take us to jam one heel into a Hunter boot.
And we'd have kicked off both Classic Ultras with the heel studs and be drinking a beverage in the time it'd take to fall over while trying to pull off the snug XTRATUFs. You can also hang the boots from the holes (with a carabiner), or carry them easily with a single finger, while other boots require a bit more work to carry.
These boots were extremely easy to hose off, as the grooves on the bottom don't hold too much mud.
And while these boots were the heaviest in our test (at 5.76 lbs) that just made them feel safe and cozy, and didn't bother us at all.
These size 13 boots fit our size 12 feet relatively snugly, with a half inch of forward and back wiggle room, and minimal wiggle room left and right (for our D width forefeet). They did not have much extra volume, which we liked as the boot didn't flap around at all like some higher volume boots.
If you've got a wider (or higher volume) foot, go with something like the Baffin Enduro.
The Classic Ultras are perfect below 50°F (supposedly all the way down to -40°F, though we're not totally sure about that claim). The tread is solid and will keep you on your feet unless it's extremely muddy, snowy, or slick. These boots were made for you if you spend a lot of time standing on hard surfaces. Our testers plan to use these boots for the foreseeable future, whether we're cold-weather car camping, rainy day exploring, or cragging in the fall and spring.
These boots cost $135, which might sound a little steep, but for the fact that they're so versatile and comfortable. Bogs is a brand beloved by Northeastern farmers, and we fully expect these boots to last for years to come. But if you can't swing the price, go for the Baffin Enduro, which are significantly cheaper ($55) and only ranked a few points below the Classic Ultra.
We would have loved to have had these boots during our years of cold farmwork, and I can only imagine how happy I would have been to have these boots last year in the chilly Northern Maine winter. These boots are warm, dry, and extremely comfortable, with great traction and style. The neoprene hugs our feet and the cushioned insoles (and solid midsole) feel supportive and help us go wherever we want. While there are some other solid competitors in this test, we reliably found ourselves turning to these boots when the tests were done.
— Richard Forbes
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