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July 18, 2006

Tough Boots: They Don’t Wear Nikes in Alaska

Boots If you’re going to Alaska this summer, it makes sense to wear what the Alaskans wear, especially when it comes to boots.

If you go to any coastal town in Alaska, you’ll find most inhabitants wearing a less-than-attractive neoprene rubber boot called Xtratufs, made by the Servus Rubber Company of Rock Island, Illinois. 

These boots are super supple, stretchy, and will stand up to any fish blood or chemical you come into contact with. The boot rests on a traditional cork foot bed with a Goodyear sole that sticks like glue to boat decks. They’re a generous fitting boot, so if you’re a size 10 1/2, buy a 10. One of the very few easy-to-kick-off rubber boots I’ve ever owned, Xtratufs are warm and comfortable, perfect for a long day of salmon fishing.

The Xtratuf is the number one selling boot in Alaska. It’s so popular that the town of Sitka has a “Running of the Boots” every year. The first run, in 1995, was done by locals wearing nothing but Xtratuf’s. (Nowadays, entrants wear clothing.) Check out www.runningoftheboots.org.

Show up at a fishing camp wearing a pair of Xtratufs and your guide will be impressed. You can get a pair at this link for about $65. http://www.seattlemarine.net/products/xtratuf_boot.html


Rick Young

Right on about the Xtratufs. First visit to Alaska was in 1999 and was told to bring rubber boots and foulweather gear. It turned out that I didn't get to shopping until my flight layover in Seattle. I almost bought a pair of (another well-known brand) boots, but the clerk then suggested Xtratufs for about $10 more. After trying them on and finding out how comfortable they were, it was no question.

After returning back east I am sttill the only person walking around in Xtratufs, and still think they're great. We have a place in the NY Finger Lakes and they get an annual workout.

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This is obvious because when we're in Alaska we need resistant and special boots because there's an extreme condition there.


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