These boots are ideally suited for wilderness paddling when the water is cold and portages are on the menu. The Chota Nunavut Mukluk features an aggressive outsole tread and raised heel designed for traction and comfort on rugged, wet terrain. Chota's lacing system is very easy to operate and works very well to keep the foot securely positioned in the boot, even when traversing steep terrain that would cause feet to slip or role in other similar footwear. The upper is fleece-lined, 3 mm closed-cell neoprene that extends upward to just below the wearer's knee. Sturdy vulcanized rubber toe caps and heel counters offer excellent protection from the inevitable trips, stumbles and rock-smacking impacts common when wading through cold, swift and murky waters. The skin-out neoprene gasket coupled with a nylon cinch strap keeps the top comfortably in place just below the knee and retards flooding and turning into a 10-pound, water-filled weight on each foot -- a safety feature as well as a comfort one.
One of our SNEWS testers, who wore a pair during four weeks of Alaska wilderness and ocean paddling adventures, had the following to say:
"The Chota's are incredibly comfortable and provide great traction. They offer enough support to enable one to hike around camp yet they're also comfortable enough to wear while sitting in a kayak or raft all day. Because the tops of the boots are neoprene, my feet did get wet while jumping in and out of boats, however, they remained very warm. My companions, who were using regular rubber boots, were fine if they could manage to prevent water from coming in over the top of their boots, however, if water did get in their feet quickly chilled and remained cold -- inspiring envious looks frequently during the trip. I found that by wearing my Chota's with neoprene socks and a pair of synthetic liner socks under those, my feet remained very toasty and also were most comfortable and blister-free even when walking."
Our only wish, which holds true for any paddling footwear, would be to find a way to keep the feet warm AND dry -- Gore-Tex combined with a Polartec fleece application maybe?
Suggested Retail: $95
For more information:www.chotaoutdoorgear.com
Men's sizing only (women go to www.geartrends.com for a sizing conversion chart)
Rating: 4.5 stars (1 to 5 stars with 5 representing absolute design and functional perfection)