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This review is for the new redesigned style of the Boundary Waters boot by NRS.
I already had the old style of the Boundary Waters boot that I had worn on a few canoe trips to Quetico. The old style has the "moccasin" style foot form. When I saw the new style of the Boundary Waters boot that has more of a "boot" style foot form, I thought that would be an improvement over the old style to give my foot some extra support. However, the new style failed miserably on my trip to the Boundary Waters the week of July 4, 2021. I wore the new boots a couple of times at home for muddy dog park visits before my Boundary Waters trip. The boots fit and felt fine. But once I was on the portages in the Boundary Waters the boots became a big problem. When I was walking over the rocks on the portages, if I hit a rock on an angle, the sole of the new boot grabbed the rock and the whole boot turned on my foot. I ended up with the sole of the boot on the side of my ankle and me standing on the opposite side of the boot. I had to constantly try to get the boot back in position several times on each portage with the canoe on my shoulders. Between portages I tried to tighten the boot laces as tight as I could get them, but the problem persisted.
I ended up abandoning the Boundary Waters boots after the first day and wore my camp sandals and socks for the rest of the trip. I packed the boots at the bottom of my pack and didn't wear them for the rest of the trip. The boot fit is not the problem. Before my trip I ordered a size 12 of the new designed boot from Amazon, as that was the size of my old Boundary Waters boots. The size 12 was too large. Amazon did not have a size 11 that could be delivered in time for my trip. So I returned the 12's to Amazon and ordered a size 11 from Olympic Outdoor Center. I believe a size 10 would be too small for me. I think the problem with the new design is the new sole that is glued to the bottom of the boot. Since it is a stiffer foot bed, and has enhanced traction, the new sole grips to the angled rocks and then the whole bottom of the boot would turn on my foot. With the old style boot the sole is thinner and wraps up the sides of my foot so I did not have this problem. And as I said above, I tried tightening the new boots as much as I could, but that did not fix the issue.
This was not just my isolated problem. When I went to the NRS website to return the boots under their satisfaction guarantee, I saw that another purchaser posted a low rated review because he/she had the exact same problem with the boots on a trip to the Boundary Waters
It is too bad because I was hoping for an improved experience with the new design. And I am concerned that once my old boots wear out, I won't have a good replacement option. I will stick to my old style of the Boundary Waters boot and hope I can get them to last several seasons. If you can find the old style in stock anywhere in your size, I recommend them.