LaCrosse footwear has been in business since 1897, which is an incredible feat in itself. The reason they have been in business for over a century is because they have proven that they make great products. Earning a reputation as a premium rubber boot maker, they have manufactured the Alphaburly boots for about a decade. However, in 2017 they introduced the GORE OPTIFADE Elevated II and Marsh concealment patterns in a partnership with Sitka and GORE with their Alphaburly Pro boots. They are the first rubber boot company to put these patterns on a rubber boot making it possible for whitetail chasing Sitka fans now to have a matching boot. The Alphaburly Pro tread is more aggressive than a lot of their other tread patterns. If you navigate tough terrain, these boots are worth a look.
Bowhunters have a ton of options when it comes to what boots to wear. There are a few things that are a given – you need something that is comfortable, durable, and scent free. Rubber boots are a great option because the rubber doesn’t hold scent molecules like leather or mesh materials do. Historically, the only issue with rubber boots has been that they are not very comfortable. LaCrosse’s focus is on comfort and features to enhance the experience and they have done that with this boot.
I have to say the boots themselves are impressive out of the box. The new concealment patterns look great and at around $180 pair, you definitely feel like a rockstar the first time you put them on. They weigh 2.4 pounds each and are about 4.5 inches wide at the sole on the pairs of 13’s we tested. The boots are available in mens whole sizes from 6-15 and women’s in 5-11.
The initial fit with a thin sock felt like the boot was a little loose, but not enough that it felt uncomfortable. The boot’s Active Fit ankle design is made to feel less like a bulky rubber boot and have a more athletic feel. They definitely felt better and more snug and comfortable with a thicker hunting sock. Compared to the older Alphaburly Sport boot I have from LaCrosse, these boots actually fit a bit more loose in the toe box and ankle, but does allow room for air to circulate.
The improved liner design isn’t something you normally pay attention to in a boot. But, because it has a stamped pattern to increase airflow around the foot and leg, it helps feet stay warm in the cold and still breathe when it’s warm. It has moisture wicking and quick drying elements that make it desirable. Additionally, it is flexible and the uppers are designed to fold down for greater ventilation and cooling.
Cheaper versions of rubber boots are made entirely of rubber and don’t have any flexibility causing them to feel very stiff on your feet. These boots are made from a premium natural rubber over a neoprene liner. The collar is double stitched and the insulated version also includes a Thinsulate liner between the neoprene and rubber giving it a MILD Rating which is 0 – 70 deg . The 800 gram insulated Version is given a cold rating from -50 to 40 deg. I am not sure who is hunting in -50 degrees, but if you test them out at -50 please let us know how they perform. The OPTIFADE Marsh comes in a 1600 gram insulation package rated for -70 – 30 deg.
The uninsulated boots I tested are built with around 3.5 millimeters of neoprene and the toe and heel include 3 layers of rubber. The ankle area includes 2 layers that supports the “Active Fit Design” which effectively redesigns the ankle to fit more snug like a glove. The ankle area is what typically takes a beating from flexing as well as deflecting debris. These extra layers makes the boot more comfortable and easier to get off.
The insulated and non insulated version have 2 different tread patterns designed to perform the best in the environments they are most likely to encounter. The tread patterns on both, are designed to be “self cleaning.” So if you wear them inside, they will hopefully reduce those annoying mud pancakes all over the kitchen floor. I found this to work fairly well. The tread patterns are designed to allow the forward motion of the boot to clean out the tread, it’s pretty neat.
GENERAL USE OVERVIEW
Specifications from LaCrosse:
WEIGHT: 4.8 lbs per pair
CAMO PATTERN: GORE OPTIFADE Elevated II
TRACTION: Best for Mud
FOOTBED: Removable EVA Footbed
SHANK: Nylon Shank
Putting Boots to the Test
Getting the boot on was not a problem and The boot fit snug and was surprising lightweight and didn’t feel like I was lugging around my boot. Obviously, they do feel more clunky that a hiking boot, because rubber itself is just heavier. But the boot feels sturdy and are not made for hiking anyway.
The expandable gusset is a nice addition because people have all different sized calf muscles. Keeping the boot snug on your calves helps make walking easier by not letting the boot feel loose and clunk. Additionally, this is handy for tucking in your pants to keep them dry or out of the snow.
I had no issues with warmth while slowly walking with these boots in 30 degree weather in a normal cotton sock. When wearing rubber boots especially, you must be careful to not allow your feet to sweat or they will almost certainly get cold. Sometimes one trick to avoid the wet foot problem, is to change socks when you arrive at your hunting spot. I have personally done this for years and it works wonders. Having the boot loose enough to wiggle your toes around is an advantage as well.
I wore my last pair of LaCrosse boots for 7 hunting seasons, and they still have awesome tread. There aren’t many signs of wear on these old boots and they are still waterproof. The 2 areas that have shown wear on my old boots were the inside heel that wore down to rubber, and the old rubber style gusset that cracked over time. The new gusset is made of neoprene and quite comfortable around the leg area. The neoprene doesn’t provide the same scent free qualities that the rubber does, but the neoprene is only around the top of the boot, and actually makes walking more comfortable.
Now these took 5-7 to break down in the elements, so I would expect the same level of quality from the New Alphaburlys. Also, if you want them to last, don’t put them in an Ozone bag. Ozone will rapidly deteriorate the rubber.
Considering all the factors and options, here’s the main points to take away. LaCrosse has been in business a long time because their products are durable and people like them. Having the first rubber boots available in GORE OPTIFADE and Marsh patterns is pretty cool especially if you are wearing those patterns. The 2 new patterns looks great, and it will be interesting to see if other rubber boot companies will try to get in that game as well. The Alphaburly Pro’s have a few really nice extra touches like the patterned liner designed to provide extra circulation, the adjustable rear gusset, and a self cleaning tread pattern. Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference.
Other knee boot options…
Muck Pursuit Glory – – $234.99
Frog Toggs Grand Prairie Mud boot – – $119.99
Irish Setter Rutmaster 2.0 – – $149.99