Patti Steger, Steger Mukluk owner and Mukluker-in-Chief, wore them for the first time on an Arctic expedition in 1982. That's also when she learned to sew them. By 1985, just three years after that expedition, Steger was making Mukluks out of her house for people who would provide their own leather. Now, 27 years later, she has a staff of 30, and makes 12,000-14,000 pairs every year.
One selling point that's held since the beginning: They’re twice as warm and half the weight of traditional winter boots. Made in the northern Cree Indian style, they have durable, flexible treaded rubber soles, and they stay flexible and supple for years. "Remember that flexibility, breathability and insulation are the keys to warm feet," Steger says. "One pound of weight on your feet equals five pounds on your lower back. Heavier doesn’t mean warmer."
The moosehide and canvas Arctic model is the top choice for expeditions, and Steger’s warmest Mukluk with the most aggressive sole.
Inside, the boots have wool felt liners and each pair comes with several insoles to choose from—a 9mm polypro-lined wool felt liner, a 9mm wool felt insole, and a supportive contour insole. They’re rated for extreme weather, which means 20-degrees Fahrenheit or colder. Choose a larger size or wider fit to be able to squeeze more socks inside.
The boots are recommended for normal to extreme winter activities. In other words, you can use them for everything from shoveling the driveway to Arctic and Antarctic expeditions. Famous explorers and mountaneers concur. "After our traverse of Baffin and spending almost a month wearing the Mukluks I am completely sold," Ed Viesturs says. "Never had my feet been so comfortable and warm in frigid conditions." Will Steger, who has worn Steger Mukluks on all of his Polar and Arctic expeditions for the last 25 years attests: “Steger Mukluks are a must for your feet in cold weather."
And, they are as-seen-on-TV—the Arctic and other Steger originals have been worn in Northern Exposure, Iron Will and Grumpy Old Men. They look authentic because they are. Available now, $180; mukluks.com.