The Muck Boot Apex Lace Up is a chunky boot with solid build and total waterproofing. If you live somewhere that gets wet and muddy, these boots make a lot of sense.
Pros / Reasons to Buy
- Very solid build
- Totally waterproof
Cons / Reasons to Avoid
- Very heavy
- Takes some time to break in
At first glance – in fact, even on closer inspection too – it might seem that these Muck Boot Apex Lace Ups have no place in this round up. Muck Boot are best known for their rubber wellington boots – beloved of farmers and gardeners – and these boots are their attempt to hybridize a pair of wellies with a hiking boot. The result is a relatively heavy and bulky boot… that also happens to be quite unique in terms of their durability, waterproofing and requirement for practically zero maintenance. If you live or hike in places where it gets very wet and muddy, these boots offer a unique and compelling option.
Compare to Similar Products
- Black Diamond Mens Mission Leather Low Waterproof Approach Shoes
- Regatta Vendeavour Pro
- Danner Panorama Mid
- Related: 20 Best Waterproof Hiking Shoes
Analysis and Test Results
The Muck Boot Apex Lace Up is certainly an interesting and unique product. Muck Boot are best known for their rubber wellington boots and this product is their attempt to hybridize these with a pair of hiking or walking boots. The resulting boot manages to achieve something we have seen no other product do: it gives the durability, waterproofing a need for zero maintenance you’d expect from a pair of gum boots and puts this into a trail-friendly package you can wear all day on a hike. We wouldn’t wear these boots in the high mountains or on technically rocky terrain, but for muddy forest walks in the English Winter they are hard to beat!
Initially we thought this was a bit of an odd-ball product, but with use we’ve really come to appreciate these boots. Sure, the are far lighter options out there, but if you want to go out for a winter hike and know you’ll run into mud, then these boots are what we always reach for. We’ve found ourselves wearing them more than we expected, and they’ve become a key item of our kit
The Muck Boot Apex Lace Up features Muck’s own molded rubber sole with a relatively deep thread pattern. The rubber is relatively hard and has clearly been selected for its durability. Whilst other boots and shoes in this round up feature softer but less durable rubber to help with traction on wet rocks, these boots are clearly focused on mud where the harness of the sole is less of a concern. At first glance, the boots appear as if they could be exceptionally stiff, but they are actually quite flexible and give quite tactile feedback of the ground below them. In muddy conditions, we’ve found this can be very helpful to prevent you from slipping.
These Muck Boots are not very breathable at all, but, given their intended use, this makes perfect sense. The outer is made of solid, unventilated rubber with a few panels of a material we suspect is neoprene – a material that is not known for its breathability. In hot conditions, these boots get hot and stay hot and even on a cold day, the boots can quickly start to feel warm as they trap your body heat. The inside of the boots is padded with a soft foam like material that’s covered in a wide mesh. This padding helps wick moisture away from your feet and this process can be helped by wearing appropriate socks – our reviewer usually pairs these boots with Merino wool hiking socks – so, whilst they can get warm, they don’t tend to get sweaty.
The high cut of these boots means they do offer some ankle support. However, the boots themselves are not massively rigid, so there’s less support here than you might expect – we think the high ankle plays more of a role in keeping water out than it does in providing support. The result of this is that whilst these are high boots, they offer better flexibility and allow more ankle mobility than more rigid hiking boots. These boots are definitely more at home on muddy country walks than in the high mountains and with this in mind, the decision to prioritize mobility over ankle support makes sense to us.
Out of the box, the Muck Boot Apex Lace Ups come with more pronounced arch support than perhaps any other product in our round up, but even so, it still was not really obvious to our reviewer whilst wearing the boot and we’d still describe them as ‘neutral’ in this regard. It’s possible to add in supplementary insoles into these boots that offer more pronounced arch support if needed and, if this is something you’d benefit from, this inexpensive modification can make a big change to the comfort of these boots.
The Muck Boot Apex Lace Up is offered in a single width, suitable for normal to wide feet and are available in sizes from US 7/UK 6.5/ EU 40 up to US 15/ UK 14/EU 50 – it’s good to see the larger sizes offered! We think a lot of people who consider these boots would do so for activities like dog walking or winter hiking and might want to consider a slightly larger size so they can combine the boots with thick socks – or even layered socks for extra warmth in winter.
These boots are fully synthetic with an upper section made from a mix of thick rubber – the same material you’ll find in a pair of wellington boots – and what looks like neoprene. These materials make perfect sense for these boots and the value of their choice is that these materials are tough and as such these boots don’t need any special care or cleaning. If you come back with them covered in mud, they can easily be blasted clean with a garden hose or scrubbed with a bristly brush… or not! You could just as easily leave these boots caked in mud after a walk and it wouldn’t have any detrimental impact on them at all.
These Muck Boot Apex Lace Ups are purely utilitarian. They look exactly how you’d expect a hybridized wellington and hiking boot to look. They might not win any beauty contests or design awards, but we have to say their utilitarian looks have a certain charm. As far as we can tell, they are offered in a single pale grey color way.
Durability is one area where the Muck Boot Apex Lace Ups really shine. They are made from tough and extremely hard-wearing materials and we have no doubt that could last you for years – perhaps even decades. The real beauty of the material choices in these boots is that require no maintenance. If they get covered in mud, you can just leave them to dry out before knocking the excess off against a wall. Or you could clean them with a blast from a pressure washer or with a coarse bristle brush, If you wanted to. We doubt that anything but the most abrasive cleaning tools – maybe a wire brush – would damage these. Muck Boot’s own promotional images show the boots being worn for dog walking and this seems like a perfect use-case for them: after you walk, you just take the boots off and leave them until the next time you need them.
That same durability is really beneficial for winter hiking: You don’t need to clean these boots down after a walk and this makes them a great choice for when you’re struggling to find the motivation to go out into the rain. There are certainly plenty of people living in warmer places who might find this usage case quite unusual, but if you live somewhere it gets wet and cold, then the maintenance free durability of these boots makes a lot of sense.
There’s no way to sugar-coat this: the Muck Boot Apex Lace Ups are the heaviest boot in our round up by quite a long way. At 1800g/3lb 15oz they are even substantially heavier than the B2 rated Scarpa Ribelle Lite HD mountaineering boots we’ve reviewed elsewhere. The weight is certainly noticeable, but when we consider what these boots do and what they can replace, perhaps it’s not so bad. The durability and absolute waterproofing of these boots (and we mean total waterproofing here – these aren’t just rain proof; you can walk through streams in them) is at a level you’d typically either need to a pair of very heavy duty mountaineering boots or a pair of wellies to match. In our review, only the Scarpa Ribelles we’ve mentioned above match this level of durability – but they are also a much stiffer boot and unsuited to general walking like these are. Compared to a pair of similarly sized wellies, these Apex boots will likely be both lighter and more comfortable for longer walks. With all this in mind, perhaps the weight isn’t so bad.
The Muck Boot Apex Lace Ups come with a removable padded insole. This insole is better cushioned then most in our round up and we think that most buyers will be perfectly happy with it. If you want added cushioning or better arch support, then you can easily swap out this insole for an aftermarket option and this is a great way to fine-tune the fit and comfort of your boots.
The Muck Boot Apex Lace Ups took a bit of time to break in. That perhaps isn’t surprising given their thick rubber upper. Breaking in perhaps isn’t the best term here as the boots are still as rigid as when we first received them, perhaps a better way of looking at it is that you need to get used to the boots – they need to break you in! This might sound brutal, but it wasn’t a particularly tough process and certainly worlds away from the lengthy and painful process we remember from old-style hiking boots. After a few warm-up walks, we were more than happy to wear the Muck Boot son longer trails. Our reviewer recommends pairing these boots with thick hiking socks – or even two socks layered together – which should contain a material like Merino Wool. This is not only to help ease-up any rubbing the boots may cause, but also to help wick sweat away from your skin and into the boot’s lining.
The clue is in the name and the Muck Boot Apex Lace Ups use regular laces! They have a basic multi-zone lacing system which still gives good control over the tension in different parts of the boot – which is a great way to fine-tune the fit. Also, if you want to adjust things even more, you can change the lacing pattern you use to give a very different feel to your boots – we have a comprehensive guide to this which is well worth checking out.
The Muck Boot Apex Lace ups feature thicker rubber around the toe section and a raised section of the sole provides a toe cap. Combined, these will provide some protection from stubbed toes if you trip or stumble on the trail. However, the toe protection is not a substantial as you might think and there are certainly other products in this round up that do a bit better in this regard.
Hiking Shoes v Hiking Boots
The choice between hiking shoes and boots is very personal, but the conditions in which you use your footwear should also play a part in your decision making. The Muck Boot Apex Lace Ups are intended for use in wet and muddy conditions and in this regard, we think boots are the better choice. In very muddy conditions you can easily sink in past your ankles and here a boot not only helps keep mud and water out but can also keep your footwear on your foot when you try to pull yourself out of the mud! For sure, these boots don’t’ offer quite as much protection from the mud as a proper pair of high wellies, but they certainly do a lot better than shoes.
The Muck Boot Apex Lace Up is a fairly unique product. Many people reading this round-up might question why you would want to own a pair of boots like this – on paper, they don’t seem to make sense. However, if like to go outdoors often and you live or hike somewhere where it often gets wet and muddy, these boots suddenly make a lot of sense. The fact that they need practically zero by way of regular maintenance or cleaning is a really strong plus point in our opinion too and can really be a decisive factor to motivate you to get out on really grimy days. The boots are heavy, but when compared to what they can replace, their weight isn’t such a bod thing, in our opinion. For those who live in a warm dry place, these boots may seem illogical, but if you want to embrace the wet, the cold and especially the mud then these boots are a great choice.
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