When it comes to winter boots, the Montana climate demands performance. And Muck’s Arctic Hunter Tall Boots deliver.
Winter continues to rage on here in the wild, rugged north. In the past few weeks, we’ve seen snowstorms, subzero temperatures, and my favorite — gale winds. I brave the weather daily for a multitude of reasons. And when the conditions get harsh, I slip my Muck Arctic Hunter Tall Boots on and head out into the desolate, apocalyptic Montana winter.
Here’s the lowdown.
Breaking Down the Muck Arctic Hunter Tall Boot
The build of this boot is really solid. It’s a classic insulated Muck boot in a camo disguise, with 5mm neoprene and a fleece lining. The brand shaped the boot for a female fit, but this is most definitely a big, burly boot.
The hard rubber extends up the midcalf, with stretchy neoprene above, allowing a flexible fit for those of us with “soccer calves” — as my mother used to call them. I’m 5’6″, and these boots hit me a few inches below the knee. They’re wide enough for me to stash pants in but snug enough that they don’t shift while I wear them.
I’m a big fan of the sole of this boot. It’s rugged, and it’s gotten me through various terrain in a grippy, secure manner. And they’re rated to a God-help-us-all temperature of -40 degrees F.
In the Wild
I wore these boots through the fall (left) and this current winter. A 5-day deer and elk hunt high in the Montana mountains made for a decent proving ground. The weather did not cooperate; we had gale-force winds that nearly blew us all away, and snow and rain battered us each day. I wore these boots exclusively all 5 days.
And within that span of time, I became a quick convert. I’m a cold-footed human in all senses of the phrase, but my feet stayed warm, dry, and blister-free while I stayed on my feet or hung with the crew in the wall tent. The burly sole proved to be capable in mountain conditions, and the boot was slim enough to wear under my Sitka Timberline pants with a medium-weight base layer beneath. I will say that my feet staying consistently warm in those kinds of conditions was a first for me.
These are also the boots I grab when the weather is dismal and it’s time to feed my little horse. Her pasture sits high on a hill, and I have to hike in to grab her on a regular basis. These truly are “Muck” boots, as the muck tends to slide off them. They’re steady-eddy on ice and snow. And I don’t have to worry about ruining them (as I’ve ruined many, many shoes at barns over the years). I was able to test these boots at the barn at a staggering -15 degrees. And I’ll tell you, the -40 rating held up.
Quips and Qualms
I live in a small western town, so I probably shouldn’t care too much about aesthetics. But the city gal within still does. Solids are pretty much king, as I try not to wear camo in public all that often. So when I need to run errands while still staying warm and protected, I grab my Bog Classic Highs.
These boots are also pretty extreme. If you’re not facing the possibility of extended periods braving the cold or you don’t need the -40 rating, you’re probably better off with a boot that is less specific to those conditions and a little more versatile. The $180 price tag is pretty steep, but reasonable within the market. And for those of us who need dependable performance in inclement weather, these boots live up to their price tag.
Additionally, I’ve only been wearing these for a season, so I can’t speak to their long-term durability. But if there’s one thing I know about myself, I wear things until other people tell me I need to stop wearing them. So we’ll see how they do.
Do I love the Muck Arctic Hunter Tall Boots? Yeah. I do. It’s hard not to love something that keeps you warm when you’re a perpetually cold person. Insulation doesn’t always yield such results, and when it does, I take notice.
They’re not necessarily an everyday wear boot. But living in an extreme environment, they really do serve me on a regular basis throughout my fall hunting season and this temperamental winter requires them as of late. I do think of these as a specialty boot, but if, like me, you have special circumstances like extreme cold and wild winter, this boot will serve you well.