I’ve been in need of a solid pair of waterproof boots for a while now. Earlier this winter, it got so bad that I resorted to wrapping my flip-flop feet in Dollar General bags… which proved to work about as well as you would expect.
I had been eyeing the XTRATUF boots, going as far as to include them In my portion of the 2023 Holiday Gift Guide, but apparently Santa didn’t take the bait. I reached out to our COO here though, Jason Sealock, a month or so ago, and it was like Christmas all over again when I found at my doorstep a pair of XTRATUF Men’s Ice Fleece Lined Ankle Deck Boots.
Here’s my take on them after having worn them several times, a few in fairly brutal conditions.
RECENT HARSH WEATHER EXPERIENCES
For my northern brethren, try your best to not let your eyes takeoff rolling around in your head when I tell you it’s been cold here in Alabama. I understand that some of you further north have had it far worse the last couple of months. But for Alabama, it’s been bitter cold.
We’ve had multiple nights in the mid- to lower- teens with highs barely breaking freezing. There’s been snow in north Alabama and near freezing rain throughout the state. This is the kind of weather they shut school down for here.
I tell you all that to set the scene for the conditions I’ve been testing these XTRATUF boots in. It’s been the perfect storm to see what they’re made of.
The particular model of XTRATUF boots I’m wearing have a thin fleece lining in them. This does help insulate the shoe a little bit, but one thing I like about this feature in particular is that it makes the boots super comfortable to just slip on with no socks when I need to run out to the truck or take the dog out early in the morning.
And, I’m glad they have a fleece lining, no matter the circumstances. I actually would have thought the lining would have been too much and made my feet sweat. Especially as the temps rise in the spring. But it’s not an overbearing, thick fleece. It’s just a thin layer. And, let’s be honest, as soon as it’s warm enough for my feet to get hot in these boots, I’ll be wearing flip-flops in the rain anyway.
KEEP YOUR FEET WARM
During the most brutal fishing trip in which I’ve worn these boots so far, I was fishing a tournament with my dad on our home water of Lake Martin. The air temps were in the mid-20s, with our rod guides freezing up until about 8 AM. I dressed that day with a pair of thick wool socks I believe (or it may have been two pairs of thinner ones). My feet have a tendency to get cold anyway, and once my feet are cold, I’m miserable the rest of the day.
I only remember one time around 2 hours in that I even thought about my feet at all, able to feel the cold for just a few minutes. I honestly got pretty concerned at the moment, but then realized hours later that that must have just been a passing chill, because my feet stayed warm from that point on throughout the day and I never thought another thing about the cold.
One note here, I do suggest going up a size from normal if you decide to purchase a pair of boots for the cold. These boots run pretty true to size, but I went with a 12 as opposed to the 11-wide I would normally wear, to make room for thicker than normal socks.
It just so happened to work out that, when I reached out to Sealock and was considering ordering a pair of XTRATUF boots through him, he already had the pair that I now have in his possession—in size 12. I went to a couple retailers and tried on the 11s and the 12s, and again decided that I’d be just as well off taking the ones he already had on hand.
In doing this, I didn’t get to pick the particular style of boot. If I were to have done so, I’d have likely chosen the Men’s 6-inch Ankle Deck Boot. Now, while I’m sure this is a great boot in its own right, I’m glad I didn’t have the option to go with it. I would have likely never selected the Ice Boot I have now given the option. The great thing about the model I have though, is the aggressive tread designed for walking on slippery ice.
I was talking to a fellow angler a couple weeks ago, picking his brain about the pair of XTRATUF boots he had on. He said he liked them a lot, but that he had a hard time adjusting the trolling motor speed with them on because the tread was a little too slick. I realized at that moment that I had not had a problem there at all with these Ice Boots. But I knew exactly what he was talking about from trying to adjust the knob wearing slick tennis shoes in the past.
The traction is awesome on the XTRATUF Men’s Ice Fleece Lined Ankle Deck Boots. The only negative I’ll say about it though, is that, because there is such a sticky tread, these boots track a good bit of dirt and debris inside. The good thing however, is that the tread isn’t very deep. So they don’t cake up with mud. A quick smacking of the two soles together frees up most of the mess caught beneath them.
CLOSING THOUGHTS ON XTRAFUF BOOT
I have been very pleased with these boots so far. I haven’t had the luxury of really grinding away in them for several months yet, but they have performed flawlessly in the cold and really above and beyond my expectations. And, priced at $155, they durn well should.
If you are interested in a more dialed back but surely still dependable set of these boots to work, hunt or fish in, the 6-inch Ankle Deck Boot is no doubt a fine boot for keeping the cold and wet out; and that pair of boots is priced at $105.
I’ve really enjoyed the Ice Fleece Lined Boots though. I really like the traction on them and the fleece lining makes them my go-to pair of slip-ons for stepping outside. They look pretty good with a pair of jeans too, making them a daily wear at times whether there’s rain in the forecast or not.
For the price, they are an investment to be sure. But it’s one I’d be confident in making if I needed to. If you are interested in trying out a pair for yourself, I’d just highly recommend that you try on a few different models and sizes with the socks that you plan to wear with them first, to make sure you end up with the perfect fit.