One of the first purchases we made when we moved to Juneau was Xtratufs for the whole family. Xtratuf boots have been a large part of the Alaskan Culture and a rite of passage for Alaskan new comers. The boot was originally designed as a light weight waterproof boot for commercial fisherman. The Chevron outsole is slip-resistant on boat decks, and the neoprene coating keeps fish oils from penetrating through the rubber.
Not everyone in Southeast Alaska is a commercial fisherman, but living in a coastal rainforest gives us plenty of exposure to wet slippery surfaces. Consumers love the versatility of the boot, rolling down the top makes them cooler for summer and adding a simple felt insole or Bama bootie adds insulation for the winter. But the most endearing feature was the ability to wear these boots for everyday wear, hiking, kayaking, fishing and dancing day after day with little wear and tear on the boots. In other words they were tough, Xtratuf.
In 2011, production of the Xtratuf brand was moved from Rock Island, Illinois to China. It was the last American boot brand to make this transition and both customers and the company say the quality of the product suffered from the move. For over two years the company fought to upgrade the production of the boots. According to the company, the equipment, materials and molds used in the U.S. were moved to China, so the components and production methods would be the same. However for the first two years of production in
China, the glue holding the boot together was poorly applied.
During the next two years Honeywell was able to identify and fix the quality control problem, stating that "the boots are now better than ever" at the Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle in 2013. At the bottom of this timeline is a link to a survey. Click on the link and let us know if Xtratuf is still the boot you know and love.