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Hands-on Gear Review
LaCrosse Alpha Muddy Review
Cons: Minimal traction, and unique styling choices
Bottom line: While these boots will work well for those with wider feet, they lack solid traction and comfort.
Shaft Height (in inches - from bottom of sole to lowest point at top of shaft): 5.1
Lining/Insulation: Air Circ mesh
Manufacturer: LaCrosse Footwear
In our last rain boot review, the LaCrosse Hampton was a Top Pick for Mild Use, due to its casual looks and comfortable fit. We initially intended to test that boot again and to see how it measured up to another batch of rain boots. However, during the first week of testing, we found out that the Hampton was being discontinued, so we decided to check out the newer version. We found that the new Alpha Muddy was significantly different, and changed a number of things that we had already grown to like about the original Hampton (even in just one week of use). After testing the new model extensively, we ultimately decided that the original Hampton was a significantly better model for our feet types. However, if your feet are wider or higher volume, this (and the Baffin Enduro) will provide a better fit than most of the other boots in this test.
But if your foot is a standard D width, and you're looking for a low boot, you'd be best suited by the Bogs Carson (which we think is even better than the old Hampton!). And if you want the best weather protection money can buy, and you just accidentally clicked on this low boot, go take a look at the mighty Arctic Sport.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
These boots did not measure up well in our battery of tests and only performed reasonably well in one category - warmth. This is largely due to the fact that the shoes are now sized wide and high volume, and will tend to lose your feet unless this is your foot type. You would be better served if you chose another boot from our test.
With only 5.1 inches of height, it's important to recognize that the Alpha Muddy isn't meant for anything more than puddles and the shallows. When we did our immersion tests in these, we were constantly worried about every small splash. We don't recommend these unless you really don't need much protection from water, and want to be able to fit these under standard pants without tucking them in. If you're looking for a shorter rain boot, go for the Bogs Carson, it's over an inch taller, and lacks both the odd color and chunky molding of the Alpha Muddy.
The size may have been wrong, but they were very spacious, and our heels were constantly slipping around in them. Since we got a chance to try out their predecessors (the Hampton) and found their fit to be perfect (maybe even better than the Bogs Carson) we were disappointed to find that LaCrosse designed Alpha Muddy on a completely different last (as we got the same size as we'd had in the Hampton). We'll talk about specific changes down in the fit section, but the sloppy fit had a big impact on comfort, as our heels slid around in the shoes. It also feels like there's less cushioning in the newer Alpha Muddy, which made them less pleasant for long days.
In terms of the general test, the Alpha Muddy had minimal insoles, and they were only slightly thicker than the Hunters. We did not find these boots to be comfortable, even over short periods.
While the Alpha Muddy's traction was better than the Original Muck Boot Company Edgewater II, they did not feature much of an outsole and didn't perform well on any of the surfaces we tested. We found they didn't feel solid or grippy on any terrain but flat asphalt, and when we took them on wet grass, mud, and snow, we were always in between slips. When we wore them on ice, they were even more slippery.
The Bogs Carson has significantly better traction than these (for a low boot) and if you want the best traction in the test, go take a look at the Arctic Sport.
These boots were reasonably warm with socks, though their large fit (and the fact that the tops of the boots didn't close as tightly on our ankles) meant that cold air easily slipped in around our feet and chilled us. They did decently well in the ice water immersion test, and our bare feet felt the cold first after 3 minutes, and were uncomfortably cold after 5 minutes, especially on the tops of our toes (where they made contact with the inside of the boot). This performance puts these boots right between the slightly colder Bogs Carson and the slightly warmer Kamik Icebreaker.
These ranked the lowest in our test, according to our style consultants, who almost unanimously chose them as their least favorite looking shoes. We're not sure why they took the Hampton and made them wider, shorter, and added the strange molding lines. Please don't take our opinion as the last word, but when we wore these out and about, we definitely got some comments on their unique looks.
If you're looking for a stylish low boot, definitely go for the Bogs Carson, or see if you can find a pair of the Hamptons if you want to stick with the brand.
Ease of Use
If we hadn't tried the Hamptons first, we would have assumed that we had just gotten the wrong size, but since we received the same size in the Hamptons as the Alpha Muddy, we wanted to stick out the test to adequately be able to describe how different they are. And this looser incarnation of the Hamptons slips around enough (and puckers in the heel) that they're rather difficult to use. They do slip on easily though, but that's just because they're designed for people with large ankles, and once we had them on, they did not hold our feet well, even with very thick socks.
Our feet are size 12, and we were in a size 13 boot. We had an extra inch of room forward and back. We also had at least a quarter inch of wiggle room left and right (for our D width feet). This means that these shoes, which should have been a size 13, have to be at least a size 14 or bigger. They are also at least an E width, and probably wider. Additionally, they have a fair amount of volume. So if you have high volume and/or wide feet, these boots are ideal, otherwise, they'll float around on your feet.
If the Alpha Muddy fits your feet properly, they would be a decent boot for mild chores and walking around the city. However, their peculiar styling makes them rather conspicuous, so we wouldn't recommend getting them to wear out on the town at night. Unless you need their particular fit (wide and high volume), go with the Bogs Carson, which feature better traction, higher shaft height, subtler looks, and similar warmth.
The Alpha Muddy retails for $100, and unless you really need the wider fit, we don't think they're worth this price. If you're price conscious, you'd be far better off getting either the Kamik Icebreaker or the Baffin Enduro, both of which are significantly better boots for much cheaper money.
The LaCrosse Hampton was a great boot that we fell in love with as soon as we first put it on. We wish that this updated model had stayed more true to the original, but instead, the Alpha Muddy is less comfortable, significantly larger in all dimensions, and features a completely different style. Depending on your needs, we feel you'd be better suited in another of the boots in the test. If you want looks - the Bogs Carson is wonderful. If you want extreme warmth and traction, the Arctic Sport is your boot. When you want a great deal (almost half the price of the Alpha Muddy), go for the Baffin Enduro. And if you want an all-rounder - the Bogs Ultra Classic High would be a wonderful choice.
— Richard Forbes
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