Experience this story and others in HIGHStyle, a print magazine by Highsnobiety, available from retailers around the world and our online store

You can tell a lot about a person by their shoes. If said shoes are steel-toed and snake-proof, they might have a thing or two to tell you. While workwear blogs obsess over weltings, the most interesting — and perhaps most striking — category of work boots has gone thoroughly unexamined.

Known colloquially as “muck boots,” this genre of jumped-up galoshes provides both armor and traction to workers whose jobs require hardcore (and often semi-aquatic) protection. But it’s off the clock where muck boots really shine. With a mucky fall upon us, we took the top performers of functional footwear out for a stroll.

DUNLOP

Boot brand Dunlop has made protective rubber footwear for almost a century, but we’re happy the Hazmax Steel Toe hit the market after color film. Bathed in an acid slime green, the boot is made from a specially formulated PVC rubber that actually protects you from acid slime (or, in the words of the NFPA 1991 safety standard, “specified chemical, biological, or radiological terrorism agents.”)

Hazguard Boots

Hazguard Boots

$121

Dunlop

Buy at Grainger

LACROSSE

For some, waist-deep is more than a metaphor. That’s where LaCrosse comes in. The brand has been producing protective boots for workers and outdoorsmen since 1897. The 32 inch Economy Hip Steel Toe is a symbol of their last legacy. Next time your friend tiptoes around a puddle to save their crispy kicks, show them these.

Economy 32" Waterproof Steel Toe Boot

Economy 32" Waterproof Steel Toe Boot

$90

LaCrosse

Buy at Gearcor

HUNTER

A British bootmaker known for their “Wellies,” Hunter is the first choice of pastel prepsters and gardening Nans alike. Their Balmoral Adjustable Rain Boots pack a gorpy Vibram outsole and cinchable gusset, giving the standard rubbers a major upgrade. If you slip with these on, it’s probably your fault.

Balmoral Neoprene Boots

Balmoral Neoprene Boots

$265

Hunter

Buy at Hunter

THE ORIGINAL MUCK BOOT COMPANY

What came first: the muck boot or The Original Muck Boot Company? Either way, the eponymous souter has earned its reputation as a premier muckmaker. The Wetland Rubber Pro Snake is one of the brand’s hardiest models, upgrading the vaunted Wetland Premium with a special rubber compound that makes it impervious to snake strikes.

Muck Boots

Muck Boots

$160

The Original Muck Boot Company

Buy at Dick's Sporting Goods

Order HIGHStyle a magazine by Highsnobiety, via our online store.

  • Photographer:David Brandon Geeting
  • Market:Malaika Crawford
  • Set Design:Megan Kiantos
  • Photography Assistant:Justin Guthrie
  • Set Assistant:Suzy Zietzmann
  • Set Assistant:Suzy Zietzmann

What To Read Next