For work and play, I wear rubber boots a lot. Some have knee-high tops, which are great at keeping out water but awkward when sitting; others are useful for walking through muck, but lack traction on hard surfaces. With two pairs at work, and two at home, I have choices when I go boating. But most often, I turn to one particular pair: the Xtratuf 15″ Legacy Boot. Truly tough and highly waterproof, they’re nonetheless almost as comfortable as a big pair of wool socks.Made for deck work on Alaskan commercial fishing boats, these boots are designed to be strong and grippy, yet supportive enough for long periods of outdoor work. I wore my Xtratufs on a small-boat cruise along the Inside Passage every day for more than a month, with daily excursions over boulders, through cobble, and on barnacle-strewn beaches. The grip was equally good on natural surfaces as it was on deck, with one caveat: small shells and pebbles tend to get stuck in the tread, which can scratch wood floorboards and diminish the soles’ traction a bit. (On the bright side, picking pebbles out of the treads provides evening entertainment at anchor.) Two years later, the boots are still going strong, with barely a sign of wear.

Photographs by the author

The soles provide a good grip ashore and aboard though pebbles can get caught in the tread and require removal by hand.

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