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Carolyn Stevens

Footwear for the Antarctic

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Hi there,

 

I've started researching clothing for the Antarctic, primarily because postage to Australia from the US or UK often takes weeks and is very expensive.

 

I've currently got a problem with footwear. I was going to rent the tall boots via Seabourn but the supplier said the boots aren't suitable for a person with high arches. And I have high arches.

 

I researched buying them, or something similar, but I can't find them in Australia. Which means I would need to:
—Pay an huge price to get them here from the US or UK, when I may never wear them again
—Carry them in my luggage from Australia to South America
—Risk having to post to-and-fro in order to find the right fit and style of boot.

 

Not sure what to do at this point. I'd very much appreciate your suggestions.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Carolyn

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This may seem a bit outside the box, but have you considered orthotics that would fit your foot and you could just put into the Seabourn boot?? I have high arches too, and have a difficult time finding comfortable shoes that I can walk in for hours. I now have a set of orthotics that I can slip into several different pair of shoes.  Made a huge difference.  And buying shoes is now much easier.  Just a thought. 

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Not quite sure why you would need to buy something from the USA.

 

What you really want is a set of waterproof Wellington rubber boots.   Easily found at sporting goods stores, fishing stores, or even on Amazon.com.au -- you'll want the mid-thigh height and you'll be good to go.

 

Even a set of waterproof "rain boot" Wellies should work if they are mid-thigh.

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2 hours ago, FlyerTalker said:

Not quite sure why you would need to buy something from the USA.

 

What you really want is a set of waterproof Wellington rubber boots.   Easily found at sporting goods stores, fishing stores, or even on Amazon.com.au -- you'll want the mid-thigh height and you'll be good to go.

 

Even a set of waterproof "rain boot" Wellies should work if they are mid-thigh.

 

Mid-thigh?  Are you sure you didn't mean "mid calf"??    Even my -40 degree Baffins (made and bought in Canada) are mid calf...  

I'd look at orthotics, too.  I put them in my Sorels - there is zero support of any kind in them.   I live in a winter resort where good working outdoor winter boots are a must.  I have probably 6 different Baffins/Sorels/Bogs and it depends on the temperature and snow for which I put on for any given day. 

 

I would recommend looking at the Bogs Classic boot.  I've got the women's version - I've had them since 2009 and still going strong.  On the website, they call them "farm" or "work" boots.  But, rated to -40, so plenty warm.  go to the bogsfootwear.com website.  There is a distributer email for Australia - that could help you get them fast.  That neoprene top is mighty warm and makes them easier to pack than bulkier boots.  

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7 hours ago, slidergirl said:

Mid-thigh?  Are you sure you didn't mean "mid calf"??   

 

CORRECTION!!

 

I did mean mid-calf, but got my anatomy mixed up.  Good thing I'm not a surgeon.

 

And remember that the temps won't be plunging like in a blizzard - you'll likely find it between 20 and 35 Fahrenheit. 

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4 hours ago, FlyerTalker said:

 

CORRECTION!!

 

I did mean mid-calf, but got my anatomy mixed up.  Good thing I'm not a surgeon.

 

And remember that the temps won't be plunging like in a blizzard - you'll likely find it between 20 and 35 Fahrenheit. 

 

When I was working as an official for bobsled and skeleton, I was standing outside on sheets of ice for hours at a time.  The air temp could be in the 30s/40s (fahrenheit), but that ice was COLD.  I wore the Bogs and Sorels on the "warmer" days, but when I'd go to Calgary and the temps were below zero, the Baffins came out.  Same when I worked as a lift at a ski resort - standing on the snow all day long, the feet needed something warm, even when it was not so cold.  Now, I well the Bogs when I have to go out and shovel my driveway.  

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I have the Arctic Muck Boots and I'm very happy with them, but if you are only going to use your boots this once it may be an unnecessary investement. Agree that Wellington boots might do the trick, but on some occasion I found mid-calf would be too short, unless you have a wide calf and the boots fit snugly against them. I would go knee-high to make sure (some landings can be really "wet").

Get the boots at least one size too big for you (maybe two) so you can wear a couple of warm socks. Since you can buy similar boots at a local store you can try them on for size and comfort. A support sole might be a good idea.

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This may sound like a dumb suggestion and you may be taking a chance but Ushuaia has a lot of sporting goods stores and some of them appear to be well stocked.  You may be able to buy them there or maybe even rent them.  The problem is researching the stores before you get there.  Are you staying in a hotel on the night before your cruise departs.  Maybe the hotel could help you with your problem.

 

DON

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On 9/3/2019 at 7:04 PM, Carolyn Stevens said:

Hi there,

 

I've started researching clothing for the Antarctic, primarily because postage to Australia from the US or UK often takes weeks and is very expensive.

 

I've currently got a problem with footwear. I was going to rent the tall boots via Seabourn but the supplier said the boots aren't suitable for a person with high arches. And I have high arches.

 

I researched buying them, or something similar, but I can't find them in Australia. Which means I would need to:
—Pay an huge price to get them here from the US or UK, when I may never wear them again
—Carry them in my luggage from Australia to South America
—Risk having to post to-and-fro in order to find the right fit and style of boot.

 

Not sure what to do at this point. I'd very much appreciate your suggestions.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Carolyn

Definitely agree with the orthotics or some type of insert. And remember that you will not be wearing these boots for more than a few hours a day- maybe 2 or 3 at the most. You must take them off once you board the ship after being on land. The boots provided by the ships are wonderful- super warm and waterproof. I usually only wore one pair of wool socks and my feet never got cold. No way would spend the money to buy them or take up packing room in the suitcase. 

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Carolyn,

We did their March trip last spring and loved it so much we are doing the December trip.  I too have high arches but had no problem with the boots I rented from their supplier.  If you are really concerned, just bring a pair of arch supports. 

Mary Pat

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What boot brand does Seabourn use ? If it is Mucks - they have inserts that you can remove and replace with your own or go without entirely (I recollect Bogs do the same). I bought my own Arctic Sport mid calf muck boots for my trips. I have wide calfs and a high "top of foot" (I have no idea what that bit is called!) and plantar fasciitis. I found that removing the existing inserts gave me more room for the top of my feet. When I loaned my boots to someone with high arches - she removed the inserts and replaced them with her own orthotics.

 

Bogs are easily sourced in Aus. https://bogsfootwear.com.au/shop/style/971616-216.html This one mentions a contoured inner sole which may suit you. It doesn't mention if its also removable so its worth contacting them to ask.

 

 

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We will be sailing to Antarctica on Seabourn Quest in November. In reading several trip reports from people who have been on this sailing within the last year or so, it has been reported that these Bogs boots are the boots that you get when you rent from Seabourn. And, as PerfectlyPerth mentioned, there is a removable insert in the boots. 

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000TH2OBW/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Because we live in a cold climate and would have a further use for them, have space/weight in our luggage, and  the purchase price for us isn’t significantly more than the cost of the rental, we decided to buy them. I also have high arches and my orthotics fit in them nicely in them, although I found I needed a size larger to do so. 

 

If you opt to rent them and the size you order doesn’t fit or work with your orthotic inserts, you can exchange for another size once on board. 

 

I hope this helps!

Tammy

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On 9/3/2019 at 5:04 PM, Carolyn Stevens said:

Hi there,

 

I've started researching clothing for the Antarctic, primarily because postage to Australia from the US or UK often takes weeks and is very expensive.

 

I've currently got a problem with footwear. I was going to rent the tall boots via Seabourn but the supplier said the boots aren't suitable for a person with high arches. And I have high arches.

 

I researched buying them, or something similar, but I can't find them in Australia. Which means I would need to:
—Pay an huge price to get them here from the US or UK, when I may never wear them again
—Carry them in my luggage from Australia to South America
—Risk having to post to-and-fro in order to find the right fit and style of boot.

 

Not sure what to do at this point. I'd very much appreciate your suggestions.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Carolyn

 

This is precisely the question I am wrangling with right now.  After reading a bunch of Seabourn Antarctica posts early on, people were recommending just go with the rental boots, and so I forgot about even looking further.  NOW, when I think it would be a good idea to go ahead and order the boots, I find they do NOT recommend these boots if you have a high arch or calves more than 18" around.  I have high arches, husb has 18-1/4" calves.  AaaaiiiiEEEEE!!!  And it's NOT that I need an arch support, it is that my high arch won't even allow me to get my foot through the shaft of many boots.  Back when I was looking, I read a few things and decided I would probably buy a pair of Bogs.  I went to an REI store (expensive American athletic and camping store), could not even begin to get my foot into the boot.  And now when I Google boots for going ashore in Antarctica, the Antarctica websites say do NOT bring regular, uninsulated, knee-high boots, or you will be sorry, and it could be dangerous (frostbite, I presume they are inferring).  I am figuring we will probably end up renting the boots for husb. and I will also rent  men's size, as I often wear men's athletic shoes anyway.  I was on Sorel's (really big name in arctic boots) website earlier today and chatted with a representative, told him I needed 14" high, waterproof, preferably rated -40C degrees, boots for Antarctica.  He recommended Sorel Caribou for both men and women.  We have a high-end shoe store which carries Sorels here in my smallish northwestern USA town.  We will go tomorrow morning and see if they have any we can try on for height and size.  

 

We are on Feb. 23, 2020, Quest embarking Santiago.  How about you?

 

Judy/Juju

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Carolyn,

 

Short answer - consider renting men's boots, as I am thinking of doing.  Good luck to us both.

 

Juju

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Jujuju2 said:

the Antarctica websites say do NOT bring regular, uninsulated, knee-high boots, or you will be sorry, and it could be dangerous (frostbite, I presume they are inferring).

My first trip to Antarctica was early season and colder than any polar expedition I’ve done since, and the ship’s loaner boots at the time were uninsulates rubber wellies. Some people did complain about cold feet, but I wore thin sock liners and then two pairs of ultra-thick wool expedition socks and was actually okay fo even the longest 2-hour landings. So if you can’t find an insulated boot that fits, it is possible to use an unlined boot as long as you seriously layer up your socks! (And they would have been even less of an issue on my trips where the temps were mostly above freezing.)

 

PS - I don’t have high arches, but I have very wide calves, and I’ve been okay with the unisex/men’s loaner boots. Especially since I size up anyway to fit my thick socks and leave a warm air pocket.

Edited by kaisatsu

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40 minutes ago, kaisatsu said:

My first trip to Antarctica was early season and colder than any polar expedition I’ve done since, and the ship’s loaner boots at the time were uninsulates rubber wellies. Some people did complain about cold feet, but I wore thin sock liners and then two pairs of ultra-thick wool expedition socks and was actually okay fo even the longest 2-hour landings. So if you can’t find an insulated boot that fits, it is possible to use an unlined boot as long as you seriously layer up your socks! (And they would have been even less of an issue on my trips where the temps were mostly above freezing.)

 

PS - I don’t have high arches, but I have very wide calves, and I’ve been okay with the unisex/men’s loaner boots. Especially since I size up anyway to fit my thick socks and leave a warm air pocket.

 

Thanks, kaisatsu!  Good to know.  The husband should be good then at least.  Seabourn's affiliated rental agency says its boots are rated -40C/-40F, which is one reason I want them to work out for us. 

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9 hours ago, Jujuju2 said:

 

Thanks, kaisatsu!  Good to know.  The husband should be good then at least.  Seabourn's affiliated rental agency says its boots are rated -40C/-40F, which is one reason I want them to work out for us. 

Just to clarify slightly, I usually wear a 37 or 38 in regular women's shoes, but I take a 40 for my expedition boots, which have always been either men's or unisex. (I've never been on a ship that offered a difference for men's vs women's boots as loaners.)

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6 hours ago, kaisatsu said:

Just to clarify slightly, I usually wear a 37 or 38 in regular women's shoes, but I take a 40 for my expedition boots, which have always been either men's or unisex. (I've never been on a ship that offered a difference for men's vs women's boots as loaners.)

 

Thanks.  I did catch that on the rental page.  The chart says my husband who wears a 13 should get a 14, and if I get men's, I will need an 11.

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On 9/3/2019 at 5:04 PM, Carolyn Stevens said:

Hi there,

 

I've started researching clothing for the Antarctic, primarily because postage to Australia from the US or UK often takes weeks and is very expensive.

 

I've currently got a problem with footwear. I was going to rent the tall boots via Seabourn but the supplier said the boots aren't suitable for a person with high arches. And I have high arches.

 

I researched buying them, or something similar, but I can't find them in Australia. Which means I would need to:
—Pay an huge price to get them here from the US or UK, when I may never wear them again
—Carry them in my luggage from Australia to South America
—Risk having to post to-and-fro in order to find the right fit and style of boot.

 

Not sure what to do at this point. I'd very much appreciate your suggestions.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Carolyn

 

Carolyn,

 

I got this reply from the boot rental place today (I had told them I tried on Bogs some months ago and could not get my foot through them, but could get into Hunters): 

 

"Thank you for your email.  How exciting that you will be traveling to Antarctica!  The brand of the boots that we offer for rental are made by BOGS, and the style is Classic High.  It sounds like the boots that we offer will not work for your high arch and that you will need to purchase your own to bring with you."

 

Luckily we have shoe stores in town I can go try on boots.  I will go today.

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Posted (edited)

Hi, I am returned from two stores, and am ecstatic.  First store did not have tall boots, second store (REI) had Bogs, but not the classic, but they had a similar men's boot, not as high.  The 14 was just fine for husband, and I could get my foot (snugly), even with two pairs of socks, through the men's 11.  Yay!!!  And yes, the boots Seabourn's agent rents do seem to be unisex.  When I click on size charts for either men's or women's, the men's chart pops up.  So (just to be safe), we will order one men's 14 (46) and one men's 11 (43) of the rentals.  

 

Now I can go back to worrying how to get a tropical and an arctic set of clothing (we are staying on through Manaus) into one large suitcase each.  

 

Thanks, everybody who replied.  Carolyn, if you are able to go try on tall Hunter rain boots anywhere and can get them on, you could take a leap of faith, based on my trying on multiple boots for us both, and figure you will be able to get the Bogs Classics over your arch. Oh, and I did see somewhere that Seabourn has an exchange day onboard before reaching Antarctica, where you can exchange parkas and boots.

Edited by Jujuju2

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21 hours ago, Jujuju2 said:

 

This is precisely the question I am wrangling with right now.  After reading a bunch of Seabourn Antarctica posts early on, people were recommending just go with the rental boots, and so I forgot about even looking further.  NOW, when I think it would be a good idea to go ahead and order the boots, I find they do NOT recommend these boots if you have a high arch or calves more than 18" around.  I have high arches, husb has 18-1/4" calves.  AaaaiiiiEEEEE!!!  And it's NOT that I need an arch support, it is that my high arch won't even allow me to get my foot through the shaft of many boots.  Back when I was looking, I read a few things and decided I would probably buy a pair of Bogs.  I went to an REI store (expensive American athletic and camping store), could not even begin to get my foot into the boot.  And now when I Google boots for going ashore in Antarctica, the Antarctica websites say do NOT bring regular, uninsulated, knee-high boots, or you will be sorry, and it could be dangerous (frostbite, I presume they are inferring).  I am figuring we will probably end up renting the boots for husb. and I will also rent  men's size, as I often wear men's athletic shoes anyway.  I was on Sorel's (really big name in arctic boots) website earlier today and chatted with a representative, told him I needed 14" high, waterproof, preferably rated -40C degrees, boots for Antarctica.  He recommended Sorel Caribou for both men and women.  We have a high-end shoe store which carries Sorels here in my smallish northwestern USA town.  We will go tomorrow morning and see if they have any we can try on for height and size.  

 

We are on Feb. 23, 2020, Quest embarking Santiago.  How about you?

 

Judy/Juju

Use the ships boots! I am heading back to Antarctica with Nat Geo/Lindblad- traveled down there 3 years ago. I too worried about the arches and calf sizes stipulated for the boots, but ended up using the ships boots and they were great. They are very experienced with fitting people for the boots, and while they may not be your totally perfect fit, they will be perfectly fine for the amount of time that you will have them on. If you have high arches, bring orthotics and extra thick socks. It is certainly not worth it to haul large, heavy boots down there, not to mention hauling dirty boots back home. I can't vouch for Seabourn, but am sure that their boots are very similar to Lindblad and they are very warm, waterproof and have very good traction/tred. You will have the boots on for maybe two hours a day as you cannot wear boots that go to shore around the boat for contamination reasons. I cannot recommend enough using the ships boots.

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1 hour ago, beezer248 said:

Use the ships boots! I am heading back to Antarctica with Nat Geo/Lindblad- traveled down there 3 years ago. I too worried about the arches and calf sizes stipulated for the boots, but ended up using the ships boots and they were great. They are very experienced with fitting people for the boots, and while they may not be your totally perfect fit, they will be perfectly fine for the amount of time that you will have them on. If you have high arches, bring orthotics and extra thick socks. It is certainly not worth it to haul large, heavy boots down there, not to mention hauling dirty boots back home. I can't vouch for Seabourn, but am sure that their boots are very similar to Lindblad and they are very warm, waterproof and have very good traction/tred. You will have the boots on for maybe two hours a day as you cannot wear boots that go to shore around the boat for contamination reasons. I cannot recommend enough using the ships boots.

 

People who need to heed the advice "do not rent these boots if you have a high arch" are NOT people who are worried their arch will fall if they wear the rental boots for an hour or so.  They are people whose arch is SO HIGH they cannot physically get their foot through the shaft of the boot.  So if their foot won't go through the throat of the boot in the first place, it is for SURE not going to go through with extra socks and an orthotic.  I know your advice was well-intentioned, and you have probably never even imagined some people have that problem with boots, but that is why the rental agency gives that advice.  Enjoy your next trip.  We went to Galapagos with National Geographic, and it was wonderful, particularly if you want to go on 3-4 expeditions per day.  

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Posted (edited)

And a final follow-up of my boot research, just in case it will help anybody else with the same worries about the Seabourn rental boot for Antarctica.  

 

We had lunch with friends today who reminded us there is another old-time and very popular high end sporting, hunting, camping store in town.  They were sure that store would carry Bogs boots.  So we went there, and they did!!  They had the Bogs Classic High boots in stock on the shelves, in both men's and women's.  So husband and I were both able to try on the exact model boot we will be renting, and they did fit the same as the model we tried on yesterday (the Bozeman), but now we know for sure. 

 

The Bog's Classics DO come in both men's and women's, and there IS a difference, a really BIG difference for women with high arches.  I could not begin to get my foot through the throat of the women's boot.  So I will be ordering men's, and more importantly, I will be able to get my foot into them.  

 

So, to summarize, for women with high arches.  I normally wear a women's 10 US shoe, 11 in athletic shoes (runners), EU 41-43.  I wear a men's size 9.5 US athletic shoe, EU 43.   I will be ordering ship's rental Antarctica boots in MEN's size 11,  EU 43.  I will probably wear two pairs of socks inside.  If I can get my foot into the men's, you likely can too.  

Edited by Jujuju2

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