My Search For
A Good Rubber Boot
(Part 2)

Dateline: 11 January 2016 AD

In my creek, with dry feet.
(boot selfie)

In my previous blog post I explained that rubber boots these days are not as durable as rubber boots used to be, and the reason for this appears to be that most rubber boots these days are made using a synthetic, thermoplastic, so-called rubber, as opposed to more durable natural rubber. Then I told you about two long-established companies in France that still make rubber boots using natural rubber.

I decided that I would get either a pair of the French Aigle rubber boots or LeChameau rubber boots. Both are available from online sellers. But the European sizing concerned me. I wanted to actually see the boots and try them on.

The Aigle boots appealed to me a bit more than the LeChameau, but they both seemed pretty much the same. I saw that the LeChameaus were sold by Orvis. I have never been to an Orvis store but I knew there was one in Rochester, NY, which is a couple hours west of me. Then I learned that there is an Orvis store in Manchester, Vermont.

Manchester is east of me a few more hours than Rochester. But Vermont is special to me. I hiked the Appalachian Trail there when I was a teenager, and went to the Sterling School (now Sterling College) for a year. 

Marlene and I had our 30th wedding anniversary coming up in late November, and I hadn't taken any vacation for all of 2015, so we decided to just drive to Vermont.

It was a short, multipurpose vacation. In addition to checking out the boots at Orvis, we visited the Window Quilt workshop, the Vermont Country Store , and King Arthur Flour. It was a good time

The Orvis store was something. We walked in and first looked at a table of men's plaid dress shirts. Marlene said "These are nice shirts." Then I turned over the price tag... $130. We recoiled from the table in unison.

Orvis has absolutely beautiful, high-quality clothing. It's the style of clothing I like. But it is shockingly expensive. If the shirts were $30 each (or even $40), I might have splurged and bought one. But I'm in the wrong socio-economic class to be buying clothing at Orvis. Boots, however, are different...

A little further into the store, a man asked if we were looking for something in particular. Well, as a matter of fact, we were hoping they had some LeChameau boots? His face lit up and he took us to the LeChameaus.

LeCahmeau, Vierzon

I tried on a couple pairs of the leather-lined Chasseur. Size 43 fit best. The Chasseur is very nice. Price: $400.

I did not buy the Chasseur. I couldn't justify it. The British Royals can (and do) wear leather lined LeChameau rubber boots, but they're filthy rich. I'm a commoner.

Having done my research, I knew the LeChameau Vierzon boot, with jersey lining, was only $200 a pair. The Vierzon doesn't have a long side zipper (a nice feature) like the Chasseur, but I can manage without that. I just want a natural rubber boot that will hold together and keep my feet dry for years to come.

Manchester Orvis did not have any Vierzons in stock, but the Orvis Man (Dale Robinson—a downright nice guy) was very helpful. He called the warehouse (in a southern state) and found that there was one size 43 in stock. He ordered the pair for me, and they showed up at my house a few days later.

Within minutes after their arrival, I had my LeChameau boots on and headed to my field to work on digging a ditch (more about this in a future blog post). 

My LeChameau boots are comfortable. They are not as heavy on my feet as the Bass Pro boots that prematurely failed me. They are not insulated, which means they are more of a spring and fall wet-weather boot, not a winter boot. 

On the downside, they don't look quite as manly as the camouflaged BassPro boots I had. But I didn't buy the boots  for their looks as much as I did for their durability and longevity.

I expect the boots will get a puncture or two in the years ahead, but that isn't a problem. Natural rubber can be patched easily and securely.

Is it good economy to spend $200 on a pair of rubber boots when I can get other rubber boots for $100 (or less) elsewhere? Well, if these boots last as long as I hope and expect they will, I'll consider them an economical purchase. 

Specifically, I'm hoping they will last at least 10 years. That would be 5 times longer than the $100 BassPro boots. And if that proves to be the case, even the $400 leather-lined Chasseurs would be a good value.

A couple of interesting sidenotes...

1. It turns out that the Vierzon boots are not made in France. They are made in Morocco. I think the high-class, leather-lined Chasseurs are still made in France. Also, if I understand correctly, some of the LeChameau footwear is now made in China.

2. Dale Robinson (the Orvis Man in Manchester) told me that the only real problem they've had with the natural rubber boots is that they do not hold up to chicken manure. Apparently, a chicken farmer bought a pair and continual exposure to high-ammonia chicken manure deteriorated the boots. I raise some chickens but I'm not concerned since I don't deal with heavy concentrations of high-ammonia chicken  manure. Still, it's a good thing to know.

So that's the story about my search for a good rubber boot. So far, I like my LeChameaus. If there are any new developments with the boots, I'll let you know.

Stained Glass at VT Orvis
(click for larger view)


Cynthia (C.L) Lewis said...

Thanks for the rundown on the boots. I have been buying $30 "rubber" boots from the farm store and have had to do it yearly. $200 for a pair that would last is worth it. However, I do have chickens (though I wouldn't call myself a chicken farmer)and so have to weigh that fact in too. $200 for a long lasting boot is fine. $200 for a short time boot makes me cry. We have an Orvis in our area... I may have to check them out. Thanks for the info!

Herrick Kimball said...

Orvis Return Policy:

"For more than 150 years, we have offered the strongest return policy in the business. We will refund your money on any purchase that isn't 100% satisfactory. Anytime, for any reason. It's that simple."

Paolo said...

Hallo mr. Kimball, apologies in advance for the off topic comment, I write you here since this is your most recent publication and there are better chances of you reading it. i'd absolutely love to read your Idea Book For Gardeners but it would be very expensive for me since i live in Italy and I was wondering if you could consider publishing a digital version of it, something that would allow me and other non-american readers to enjoy it at a reasonable price and with immediate delivery. Again, sorry for misusing this post's comments section, I did it out of real interest in your book.



Herrick Kimball said...

Hello Paolo,

Thanks for the off topic comment. No problem.

I have had that book professionally edited for misspellings and other minor glitches. My plan was to work on an updated (edited) version and get it reprinted this winter. Then make the updated copy available as a less expensive PDF download.

However, I'm behind with just about everything these days and I'm thinking I will scan the book as it is and make it available in the next month or so. When I do, I'll announce it here and at

Best wishes,

Herrick Kimball

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate your posts like this. If I get a chance to check out an Orvis store, I will look up these boots. I'm tired of the Wally World boots. btw, apparently, my hubby and I and you and your wife all celebrated our 30th anniversaries last November. Congrats and PTL! You also visited all the places I would have loved to visit in Vermont. :D Especially, KAF.

Herrick Kimball said...

Hi Herrick,

Being a milk farmer and having farmed in 100% irrigated land, you can imagine that boots are something I care deeply about(maybe too much).

My son and I live in our boots, if I am out on the farm I have no other Shoes to wear for work.

The things I have looked for and found about 20 years ago are, 1) COMFORT subset lightness, I will not accept aching legs at the end of the day. 2) durability, we work on barb wire fences, mechanic, Cut fire wood, etc. by the way I didn't care about price, if they last they are cheap at any price. 3) Not hot in summer Not Cold in winter.

I decided to do an exhaustive search to see what was available I searched US, European and Canadian, and with the inter net the whole world.

At the time that I first tried them the closest that they were available was in Canada, now, you can get them from Q.C. Supply in this country.

By the way the first pair that I bought lasted 7 years as my only working shoe.

Now for moment of truth. they are called....... Purofort (which refers to the process/material).
They are a very light Polyurethane material, very resilient, we use them hard.

If you do not get the steel toe they are quite temperature neutral ( in other words not to hot or cold)

You can buy a warmer boot but you cannot buy a tougher/warmer/more comfortable boot.

(Eric V. in MO)

Anonymous said...

I've had real good luck with the MUCK brand, specifically the Muck Master type.....Through a wholesaler I paid $65 and I'm on my second year now....The last pair I had (Chore model) lasted about 3 years before they wore out....I only wear them in the spring/fall/winter, they're too hot to wear in the summer (insulated)....What I like best about them is that they're real comfortable...I mean I can work all day in them and no sore or blistered feet...Typical rubber boots are usually real tough on the feet....At $21.50 or so a year, I consider them a good deal, for me anyway...James

deborah harvey said...

are they roomy enough for socks?

deborah harvey said...

i have contacted he closest orvis near here. want to try them on for size. thanks again

Herrick Kimball said...

I appreciate the feedback from people who have used other kinds of rubber boots. I neglected to say above that the Purofort recommendation is an e-mail that I received.

Herrick Kimball said...

The pair I have is comfortable with one pair of regular socks. With an additional sock that is a little bit heavier, my feet are much snugger but not uncomfortable. It's a good idea to see them and try them on.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Kimball, GREAT posts on the boots. They reminded me of this from
Men At Arms, by Terry Pratchett:

"The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to to spend less money. Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances.

A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars.

Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles. But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while a poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

This was the Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socio-economic unfairness."

IOW, save up your money if you have to in order to BUY QUALITY. Glad you found some quality to buy, it's getting harder to do these days. ~~Sassafras

Herrick Kimball said...


What a great comment!

I hope I've found great quality. That was my objective. But only time will tell.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Herrick
In the wet west coast of Scotland we find nora wellies are the best - comfy, tremendous grip and never crack.
Happy to send you over a pair if you like. Just tell me your size!
Best wishes

Anonymous said...

Great posts on farm/garden boots. I share your sentiments about shelling out good money for made in China (shoddy) quality. After reading, I ordered a pair of La Chameau women's mid height Vierzon on Amazon, on sale for about $67. Saw them marked down on a couple other websites, too, so look around.
Ordered one size up based on reviews there and elsewhere, and they fit well. The La Chameaus have an interesting feel -- like soft, stretchy skin that conforms to your foot. The fit is narrower than my mid height classic Bogs garden boots -- but not tight, just a slimmer, sleeker line.
My Bogs have been pretty good, but they do wear out (leak) after a couple years. However, the Bogs do have flowers on them, which gives them a certain appeal… (I suppose Herrick probably wasn't looking for floweredy boots, hah.)
We'll see how the La Chameaus feel in various seasons. The Bogs are handy -- easy to slip on/off -- and are quite good year round, not too hot in summer and very toasty in winter snow.
I'd love to try a pair of Aigle Parcours as well.