My waterproof boots get used hard on the Mississippi River, and these Muck Boots are proving to be up to the task.
by Leon Pantenburg
Nobody appreciates dry feet like a canoe guide. Get your feet wet while shoving off from shore, and you can plan on soggy, soft feet. In hot weather this is no big deal. In cold weather, this means cold feet.
Quapaw Canoe Company and Big River Wild Adventures guides are in and out of canoes several times a day. The water can range from ankle high to thigh deep. Most of the time, my waterproof boot needs are meet by my knee-high Muck Boot® Chore Cools® (On the river, I wear a wool sweater, and UF PRO P-40 All-Terrain pants. These items have proven themselves after extensive, hard use and come highly-recommended.)
In other instances, the knee-highs are overkill and too heavy. When hunting or foraging in swamps with some standing water, all you may need is waterproof protection to about ankle-high. In that case, the Apex boots are perfect.
I wrung out the Apexes on a five-day, 60-mile Mississippi River canoe trip near Vicksburg, MS in the middle of November. A cold snap hit, and the temperatures ranged from below freezing to highs in the 60s. I wore the Apexes exclusively as soon as we beached the canoes. There was a lot of standing and walking while we guides prepared foot, set up the cook station, gathered firewood, erected shelters etc. The Apexes were great!
Here are the specs (according to the Muck Boots website).
- 100% Waterproof
- 5mm CR Flex-Foam neoprene liner is 100% waterproof with exceptional comfort, flexibility, shock absorption and heat retention properties; adjusts to the contours of your foot to resist blisters and chafing
- Lock-down zipper closure system, with a waterproof zipper, the industry’s finest and most durable technical zipper construction
- Velcro stretch collar for custom fit
- Scree collar to keep out debris and prevents chafing
- Breathable mesh lining facilitates air circulation to improve comfort and reduce heat and moisture
- Dual density comfort footbed with memory foam for long lasting cushioning
- EVA midsole for lightweight comfort and shock absorption
- Lugged rubber outsole for durable traction
- bioDEWIX™ antimicrobial footbed insert topcover with NZYM™ for odor control and moisture management
- Pull-tab for easy on and off
- Muck Boots’ lightest outdoor/hunting boot – Weight 2.65 lbs size 9
- Estimated height: 7.9in
- Estimated max calf circumference: 9.8in
- Comfort Range: Sub Freezing to 65°F / 18°C
Here’s the good stuff:
Fit: I ordered my usual hiking boot size – one-half to a full size larger, with wide width. The size 11, wide-width Apexes fit perfectly. I typically wear thick wool socks, and everyone’s feet swell slightly by the end of the day. The boots fit to size.
Bio Dewix Dry™: According to the website, this material removes moisture away from your foot, reduces drying time and is naturally cool and dry. It is plant-based using renewable resources. After wearing the boots for 12+ hours every day, my socks got dampish from perspiration. This is to be expected while wearing a waterproof boot – the average person produces about one quart of sweat in a day, and about 25% of that comes from feet alone. The boots were never uncomfortable, and they didn’t get cold, despite the freezing temperatures.
Scent free: Rubber and similar synthetics don’t carry scent, so you can walk to your deer stand relatively undetected. Midwest deer hunter tip: If your hunting grounds are near an area where cows graze, step in a fresh plop. The smell is one the deer are used to, and it will further disguise your scent.
Comfort range: The website claims the boots are comfortable from below freezing to 65 degrees. That range appears to be accurate.
Mesh lining: Muck Boots claims the lining helps circulate air, which reduces heat and moisture. As far as I can tell, this works. But in the summer heat, nothing can make a waterproof boot comfortable!
Velcro stretch collar: This is another amenity that shouldn’t be overlooked. Walk on sand much, and you’ll realize that while walking, you are also kicking debris down the ankles of the boots. The collar allows the boot to be sealed off, which alleviates that problem to a large extent.
Zipper system: My go-to canoe boots for years were a pair of rubber bottom, leather top Sorels. They were fine, except in those dark, pre-dawn moments, when I was getting up to help prepare breakfast. Wrestling my way into the boots, and dealing with the laces, was a consistent no-fun exercise.
The Apexes were a snap to put on. The zipper worked really well, and didn’t jamb, even with all the sand around. I also didn’t notice any leakage, even though I several times waded in water almost to the tops.
Comfort footbed: I hiked all over Island 62 on the Mississippi and the boots stayed very comfortable. Most of the walking was over deep sand, which can lead to sore feet, but there was not any rubbing or chaffing. The boots stayed free of sand because of the stretch ankle collar. My standard Buffalo Wool socks fit perfectly in the Apexes, and provided their usual warmth and comfort.
The other stuff:
My experience with the Apexes has been limited, so far, to this one canoe trip. I will be wearing them a lot during deer season in Mississippi, and will check them out under different situations.
But for right now, I think I’ve found my canoeing boots. These Apexes are worth considering if you are looking for a solid, reliable waterproof boot.
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Thanks for sharing!