Popular Mechanics (USA)

Outdoor Gear Thaw-ready mud boots tested for waterproof­ing and cleanabili­ty.

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WHEN WINTER BEGINS TO THAW AS warmer weather arrives, you can count on terra firma feeling less than firm. Mud puddles engulf trails and fields, and even rainslicke­d sidewalks can threaten to douse your socks. Now’s the time to arm your dogs with a pair of mud boots.

The features vary from pair to pair, but mud boots share two main elements: impenetrab­le rubber (or a similar material) to block water and high-traction soles to keep you on your feet. The most utilitaria­n models have a molded one-piece rubber upper that’s bonded to the midsole and outsole. For insulation and a second barrier against water and oils, heavy-duty offerings incorporat­e a flexible neoprene bootie within and extending beyond a rubber shell, making them appropriat­e for job sites and other constructi­on and project settings. There’s also the classic duck boot, which is typically lighter and has an upper of rubber and full-grain leather, more suitable if you plan to wear them primarily for tracking across slushy sidewalks or muddy paths. Whatever you need them for—whether it’s working in the garden, doing chores on the farm, or cleaning up a flooded basement—we’re confident one of these pairs of boots will serve you well. We tested them ourselves.

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