Not being a commercial fisherman, I had no exposure to the Xtratuf® brand of outdoor gear until a pair of 6-inch ankle deck boots showed up in the office, courtesy of our local West Marine store. For anglers and other outdoors aficionados, owning a pair of sturdy nonskid foul-weather boots is a must. Likewise, if you live in a place with persistent drizzle such as the Pacific Northwest, a go-to pair for boating, dog-walking or errand-running can be of equal necessity.
Xtratuf ankle boots provide capable protection from rain and puddles, and as an owner would be wise to pair the uninsulated boots with a set of Smartwool socks, sizes run about a half-size larger than marked. So then, by my estimation, they are sized well. In case your foul-weather adventures require more steps than simply stepping out on wet boat decks, the soles are well cushioned and comfortable for walking reasonable distances. The standout feature of these boots, however, is the twin finger loops—front and back—that can be used to leverage the boots on and off. I’ve owned far too many rubber boots that forced an ankle-breaking maneuver just to get them on that I found Xtratuf’s offering to be a dream come true.
Camouflaged clothing has never been a necessity for me, so I’ve no need for the optional camo upgrade. But if I did, apparently the newest flavor in designer camo is a brand called Kryptek®, which patented a variety of designs employing a modern take on the timeless relic. My test boots had a reptilian pattern that Kryptek calls “Yeti,” which is composed of a white and gray lizard/feather pattern “for winter and snow-covered camo.” I don’t plan to sneak up on a polar bear anytime soon, so I’d more likely choose one of Xtratuf’s neutral colored boots—perhaps the ones with octopus or fish-pattern lining. Bottom line: This is a solid foul-weather boot for under $100, and that’s “tuf” to beat.
Available at: xtratuf.com and westmarine.com