Not a Portage Boot
These boots are huge..to accommodate waders, I presume. The lace is stretchy, which also confounds ankle support. I replaced the elastic lacing with good kernmantle cord. This helped, but floppy shoes are not ideal on a trail where footing needs to be precise. Also, there is no foot bed - no support there, and you feel every rock through the sole. I added an insole to provide support and protection. If you buy these for portage boots consider getting a size smaller or try them on first with the socks and insoles you'll need for hiking in rocky terrain. NOTE FROM Boundary Waters Catalog: It sounds like your review is based on the wrong size. We are always happy to make sure our customer get the right size clothing.
Good boots, with some design issues.
Let me start out by saying that I think these boots are awesome, they have incredible grip, and got us through some tough Quetico portages while being very comfortable.
The main issue is the elastic and the holes, this is the weak point, the elastic is a bit weak, but we had little trouble keeping the boots on, even when walking through mud, so it worked. But the little plastic things on the holes of the boots are very weak, a simple pull of the elastic not form the top would pop them lose.
I just received the boots and I must say I am incredibility impressed. The fit was amazing and the quality fantastic. I purchased the CHOTA GAITER SOCKS as fell to complete the package. They feel great with the boots. Can't wait to test them out.
Very Good Solution
Not being a fan of wet feet, for years I wore a pare of Danner GoreTex boots. They were great - as long as I was careful when stepping in the water. Invariably as the portages piled up, I would step in too deep.
Just finished a trip to Fourtown with these boots and the companion socks. Dry feet along with good footing on tough trails, and I'm a fan!
I did try them as "wet foot" boots without the socks and was less pleased - not because of the wet foot, but the foot bed slid around too much, so after one portage, I donned the Caney Fork Socks and all was well.
I particularly like the "soft sole" of the boot. It really grips wet rocks well while giving you comfort and confidence on steep trails, wet rocks, and the like.
While not inexpensive, I think this combo is a good investment if you like dry feet and sure footing.