I often tell people that if you want good weather when you visit the Midwest, you’ve got about a two-week window in June. The summers are hot and humid, and the winters are cold enough to stop an army. The woods and plains of the Midwest can teach you how sneaky the cold and wet can be. You can’t have any weak points in your armor. If there’s a way in, however small, it’s coming in. That goes double for your feet. In the snowy winter months, having durable, warm, waterproof boots are crucial. Often the best waterproof boots are made with rubber - but be honest, when you think of rubber boots, comfort is not the first word that comes to mind. They’re stiff, rigid, and not terribly breathable.
Enter LaCrosse boots. Lacrosse specializes in footwear for outdoor work and recreation, especially hunting and fishing boots. A few years back, the mad scientists at LaCrosse had a game-changing idea. They started off by first fashioning the interior of a shoe, including a cushioned footbed and sidewalls, molding a “sock” out of newly-developed neoprene. Neoprene is much stretchier and more flexible than rubber - much more comfortable and breathable, but still highly water-resistant. They then dipped this “sock” in rubber and sculpted the rubber into the desired shape. On went the outsole, and voila! A cushioned, thermoregulated, comfortable waterproof rubber boot!
Ever since then, LaCrosse Footwear’s reputation has grown tremendously, as has their lineup. And they haven’t stopped innovating, constantly improving their designs with the needs of those who work and play out in the elements. They’ve got a whole array of comfortable and durable work boots, hunting boots, and outdoor boots that will get you through any adventure in any climate.
Winter Boots for Hunters
Thanks in part to the Covid-19 pandemic, hunting is seeing a revival in popularity among Americans. I welcome our new comrades-in-arms in their quest for delicious deer and succulent waterfowl this hunting season. Anyone who’s been at it for a few seasons can tell you that hunting boots need to be A) strong enough to tackle rough terrain as you carry a kill it and your equipment across the field; B) comfortable enough to crouch or stand in a blind for hours on end without getting sore, ready to make your move; and C) weatherproof enough to keep your feet warm and dry as you slosh through the muck.
Let’s start with the LaCrosse LodeStar 7” Gore-Tex Waterproof Hunting Boot. This is an ideal boot for navigating the backcountry hunting game. The Lodestar is built from the inside out with a GORE-TEX waterproof lining that’s soft, breathable, and cushioned. Its rubber heel cup locks your heel securely in place for a precise stance, and the roomy toe box allows your toes to move and pivot freely. The Lodestar also features the specially-developed X-Shank, an oversized shank that helps the boot flex and hold its shape over rough terrain while carrying heavy loads. Outside, it’s constructed of Nubuck leather with strategically-placed lightweight armoring up top, while down below its Vibram outsole absorbs impacts, with omni-directional lugs for superior traction.
For those more inclined toward waterfowl, you should check out LaCrosse’s Alphaburly Pro 15" Waterproof Hunting Boot. Also available in an 18” model, the Alphaburly Pro really showcases LaCrosse’s breathable rubber-over-Neoprene design, and is ideal for navigating mud and water in your quest for homemade duck fajitas. It’s high and dry, with a tight ActiveFit heel and adjustable gusset so your foot won’t come out of it as you stride through mud. The outsole features extra deep lugs to grip the mud and chamfered edges to shed it as you go.
The Quintessential Foul Weather Boot
Duck boots, Bean boots, “Maine hunting shoes” - whatever you call them, there’s a reason this style of boot is the quintessential all-purpose outdoor boot. This fantastic Frankenstein resembles a rain boot bottom stitched to a winter boot upper, because that’s basically what it is. Developed in 1911, the basic design has remained relatively unchanged through the years, but LaCrosse has continued to tweak and improve them as material technology has progressed.
Today’s LaCrosse Aero Timber Top 10” Waterproof Outdoor Boot, also available in a lower-topped model, is warmer and more comfortable than its ancestors of yore. It’s AeroForm shell is polyurethane rather than traditional rubber, so it’s better insulated without sacrificing any of the waterproofing, especially with the ATT’s roomy toe box. LaCrosse also went with a suede upper rather than straightforward leather, which adds both flexibility and style appeal. Lightweight and versatile, this is the quintessential outdoor boot for slushy days in the city and snowy days in the woods.
For a heavier-duty, colder-weather version of the Aero Timber Top, LaCrosse has the Ice King 10" 400g Insulated Waterproof Outdoor Boot. Traditional leather and rubber, with a thickened rubber toe cap and LaCrosse’s breathable inner lining, the Ice King is more supportive and less flexible than the ATT, but with all that insulation, it handles extreme cold like a champ.
Serious Work Boots
One more honorable mention, for those out there with dirty jobs. Sure, duck boots are fine, you might be thinking. But I think you’re underestimating just how intense the muck is.
Fair enough. For the fine folks working knee-deep in the pit, LaCrosse has a terrific pull on work boot for you. The Economy Hip 32" Steel Safety Toe Work Boot is tough hand-laid rubber all the way up, no chances taken here. It’s got multilayer rubber on the toe and heel for added support and protection, abrasion-resistant rubber on the toe and thigh for added durability - and a steel safety toe to boot. The heavy-duty canvas lining and EVA cushioning give you that standard-issue LaCrosse comfort and protection, as much as can be given the circumstances. The whole rig is electrical hazard rated, no surprise there, but it's also tested against a range of hazards including chainsaws (ASTM: F2413-18 M I/75 C/75 EH), and the Economy Hip’s steel shank construction help the whole thing flex and hold its shape under duress.
It’s pretty cool.
Keep Dry With LaCrosse
The bottom line here is that regardless of your particular needs - whether you’re looking for a good urban boot for foul weather; a warm boot for winter hikes; a hunting boot for wet weather or northern climes; or a work boot that withstands the weather and...whatever - LaCrosse has a long history of innovation and thoughtful design that meet the challenges Poseidon throws at you.