LaCrosse Alpha Deck Boots are Xtratuf Killers

By Tony K

I live within a couple hours of two temperate rainforests and the town with the highest amount of rainfall in the contiguous U.S. That makes deck boots my daily drivers from late October through May. I love the utility of rubber ankle boots. They’re great for some light yard work and running errands. And as they’ve become more popular, more comfort and better build quality has generally followed. For years Xtratuf won the brand recognition, and likely the big sales. But now LaCrosse has introduced their Alpha Deck Boot and Xtratuf should be shaking in their deck boots.

LaCrosse boots and waders have a devout hunting following. Their products are durable, comfortable, and are built to withstand some of the most brutal terrain outdoors enthusiasts will encounter. For many years my wife has been wearing an old pair of LaCrosse green ankle boots. They’re not hunting boots, but they’ve held up phenomenally – far longer than I ever expected simple rubber boots to last. LaCrosse knows how to make a boot and I was excited to see if their Alpha lives up to the brand’s heritage.

Three different deck boots from LaCrosse, Grundens, and Xtratuf lined up on a wood deck.

TLDR: The LaCrosse Alphas are awesome

There are plenty of other options to choose from, but save yourself some time and just buy these. The shape feels more like a shoe which I didn’t even know I wanted in a boot. My foot feels more secure compared to Xtratufs and Grundens. I’m not going to run a marathon in the Alphas but after wearing them all day I appreciate a more secure fit.

The arch support is immediately noticeable compared to other brands I’ve tried. Combine that with the more secure fit and you have the most comfortable all-day deck boot I’ve worn so far.

The sizing was right in line with the other deck boots I’ve tried. I wear size 11 in Xtratufs and Grundens. Size 11 in the LaCrosse Alphas fit perfectly. But LaCrosse also offers half sizes in regular and wide options.

Light gray LaCrosse Alpha Deck Boots at the end of a truck tailgate

Durability of the LaCrosse Alpha Deck Boots

My biggest gripe and most common point of failure in all of my previous deck boots has always been cracking in the rubber and seams failing. I can’t remember wearing out the sole on previous boots, but inevitably water always starts to find its way in. I understand this is bound to happen with rubber boots at some point, but given the daily wear and tear on my boots during the fall and winter months, I have historically averaged a new pair every season. Occasionally I’ve been able to squeak a pair through two seasons. Failure almost always comes through cracks in the rubber near the area where the top of the boot bends or the seams give out.

I haven’t been in the Alphas long enough to say those same failure points will hold up better, but the reinforcement near the top of the boot where it bends while taking a step leads me to believe that LaCrosse is at least attempting to keep the water out for the long haul. Some boots from other brands are reinforced near the areas that see constant flex and movement, but the Alphas so far have held up the best.

A closeup view of light gray LaCrosse Alpa Deck Boots being pulled on with yellow pull tabs at the top of the boot
A man wearing LaCrosse boots walking through grass

The pull tabs at the top of the boot feel secure. This is a small detail, but I recently had three of the four tabs completely fail on my brand new Grundens.

Finally, the lips on the heels are great for getting the boots off using your toe. This isn’t an innovation from LaCrosse, but the lips on the Alphas are burly. I don’t think I’ll be wearing them down any time soon.

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A light gray and a green rubber ankle boot next to each other viewed from above
The LaCrosse Alpha Deck Boots (Left) next to the Grundens Deck Boss Boot (Right)

Things to know before buying the Alpha Deck Boots

Six inches is a common height for ankle deck boots. The Alphas are also advertised as six inches but they’re slightly taller than other boots I’ve owned. The opening at the top is also bigger. The additional height is great for keeping water out when walking through tall wet grass and the large opening makes for an easy on-and-off. But I find that my pants are constantly bunched up near the ankle – more so than other deck boots. This is a small issue but noticeable when wearing pants that taper towards the ankle.

The Alphas are also heavy. XtraTuf deck boots are noticeably lighter, which might be appealing to you. But keep in mind that the additional weight of the Alphas comes with more support and potentially a more durable design. I was at an outdoor industry trade show last year and a sales rep from a competing brand (not LaCrosse) showed me an Xtratuf deck boot that was cut in half next to their boot with the same cut. The side-by-side comparison of each boot’s internals was compelling. I love my Xtratuf Legacy Boots. But when it comes to deck boots, the LaCrosse Alphas are just better. I was initially worried that I would feel the weight of the Alphas throughout the day, but so far this hasn’t been a problem for me.

LaCrosse says their Air-Circ liner system helps regulate the temperature inside the boot. Maybe there is some marginal improvement in internal temperature compared to other brands, but the Alphas are still rubber boots. It’s gonna get sweaty in there.

Who should buy the LaCross Alpha Deck Boots?

I think we can all acknowledge that choosing your next deck boot is not complicated. Try on a bunch of them and get the ones that feel the best. If this is the hardest decision you’re making today, you’re doing all right.

Deck boots have become a fashion accessory in the outdoor world but they’re also practical. Boaters, anglers, moms, dads, brewers, and weekend warriors all appreciate the convenience and utility of a rubber boot that looks and feels good. They keep feet relatively warm and dry and they’re generally reasonably priced. Someone recently told me that deck boots in the outdoor world are kind of like Uggs for people who don’t want to wear Uggs. Not sure how I feel about that. But I want to wear my deck boots all the time.

I’ve had too many pairs of deck boots from different brands and I have a lot of opinions that go along with them. The best fit of all the boots I’ve tried so far is the LaCrosse Alpha 6” Deck Boots. They’re far more comfortable than the other brands I’ve tried and they’re built by a company that has a long history of rugged design. After several months of testing and regular use, the Alphas aren’t showing any signs of cracking or failure.

The real question is – will I be replacing them next season like all the others? I’ll update this review when I find out.

A man standing in gravel wearing light gray LaCrosse Alpha Deck boots

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