When is a welly not a welly? Well, the MuckBoot Outscape has some ideas about that. A crossbreed between a full-fat standard Wellington and a trainer, the MuckBoot Outscape sits in the middle (where else?) of the MuckBoot range, and is available in men's and women's iterations both with an RRP of £110 (there's also an even shorter Outscape shoe in the range). We think these are some of the best gardening boots around, but how does the usual design match up against today's best wellies of more traditional stripes? Read on for our MuckBoot Outscape welly review.
- Shop the Outscape range at The Original Muck Boot Company (opens in new tab)
MuckBoot Outscape short boot review: design and build
Designed unlike any welly you’ve ever seen before, the MuckBoot Outscape looks more like a dive boot than a welly, and indeed, has many of the same components involved too. Muckskin neoprene lined and with a robust pull tab, a trainer-style sole unit and a memory foam footbed, there’s plenty of tech going on here. Raised rubber rands front and back protect the high-wear areas at the toes and heel, and an exposed section of neoprene at the ankle adds a chelsea boot flavour to the mix.
The two elements you can’t immediately clock are two of the most interesting though - the outsole is far from normal. There are three distinct areas to it, a rubberised outer edge as most people would expect, but the inner tread is billed as ‘self cleaning’. Made from a substance that feels almost like felt, this is unusual. A more obvious highlight is that area in the central foot, a hardened section labelled ‘shovel ready’, but is equally helpful when using a garden fork, spade, etc.
MuckBoot Outscape short boot review: performance and comfort
Comfort-wise, the MuckBoot Outscape isn’t without flaws. First impressions are excellent, the thin neoprene upper flexing wherever your foot demands, the dual-density insole luxuriously soft underfoot. Pulling the boot on is easy with the generous finger tab, and the sole is just the right balance between stiffness and flexibility. The snag is that the section of boot over the foot arch comes in strangely low, rubbing the top of the foot. Sizing up from your normal trainer size is recommended. That said, this snugness does keep the boot firmly in place, essential for more active multitasking and things like driving.
The breathability is surprisingly good for an entirely waterproof neoprene boot, although on hot days it soon runs out of steam. The taped seams refused to give way in testing, and the overall light weight and flexibility makes the MuckBoot Outscape a breeze to wear for long periods without noticing.
The big business here, the ‘self cleaning’ sole, works best in light conditions. Dust and light garden detritus such as grass clippings shed easily, but heavy clay soil only partially - not entirely surprisingly. To be fair, the MuckBoot Outscape is marketed as a lightweight all-rounder, rather than a heavy boot for all-day digging and serious garden construction projects, so it won’t stand up to serious abuse.
MuckBoot Outscape short boot review: verdict
The MuckBoot Outscape is a welly that isn’t a welly, and a trainer boot that isn’t a trainer either, so it’s difficult to make comparisons easily. It’s less robust and hardy than a real welly, but more waterproof and garden-ready than a trainer.
This makes it perfect for the garden potterer or allotment botherer who’s just popping in for a few moments while en route elsewhere, and effectively solves the problem of driving or cycling in real wellies, which is possible but somewhat messy. Finally, in the hotter months the lighter option of the MuckBoot Outscape will be a welcome respite from sweaty welly hell for many a keen gardener.
Overall, the MuckBoot Outscape is a versatile option for light outdoor meandering of all types, especially where a heavier boot would be overkill. Niche, but useful.