The XTRATUF II are 100% waterproof neoprene boots, paired with a slip resistant sole and added stabilizers to support your feet and ankles. They retail for about $100-$120 USD and are available in men’s and women’s sizes. While they aren’t pretty, they come from a brand with a serious reputation among commercial fisherman, and some street credibility in Alaska and the pacific northwest where they’re known as the “Alaskan Tennis Shoe”. I’ve tested these boots for over a month now, but yesterday was my first opportunity to test them on some winter fishing.
The XTRATUF II are comfortable and warm, even in subzero temperatures, and are perfect for hiking through messy terrain. The soles are tough and grippy in snowy, and muddy conditions, but exercise some extra caution on ice. On my most recent winter fishing trip I battled to get up a hill covered in black ice. I wasn’t the only one that had trouble getting up the hill, but I definitely had the most trouble.
In researching the company I discovered that they recently moved some or all of their manufacturing from the US to China to deal with the overwhelming demand and an aging factory. Some die-hard fans of the brand aren’t happy with the change, and there have been reports of boots coming apart. XTRATUF says this was due to poor training at the new factory and they have resolved the issues. While I can’t speak to the quality of the old boots I can tell you that I’ve had no problems with the materials or construction of these boots.
Overall, I really do think these boots are fantastic. Winter fishing can be extremely cold and having dry, warm feet is a blessing. I really hope success won’t be the downfall of this quality American brand, but if they really can make tougher boots in the US I know many people would be willing to pay a premium for them, myself included.
They aren’t pretty, but they’ll keep your feet warm and happy.