Pokeboo TREAD rubber boots
I have tried many minimalist boots over the years, including another brand of foldable wellies, and they have all disappointed because they are rarely truly waterproof and have little to no grip. The more waterproof they are, the stiffer and more structured boots seem to be. I was desperately searching for the perfect Winter boots that combined waterproofness and movement-friendly features when I came across Pokeboo and started to get excited. I’d been wearing minimalist footwear or going barefoot for a good 9 years and was never going back to heavy, thick-soled hiking boots or stiff wellies. I love walking and I love feeling the terrain under my feet, except when it’s very cold, muddy and wet.
The Pokeboo tread boot seems to have it all: a thin, flexible sole that allows natural foot movement, a thin, flexible upper that allows movement at the ankle joint; a very flat sole which keeps the foot in a neutral position on flat ground and makes it natural to stack the hip vertically over the ankle and keep the pelvis centred; and a decent grip to keep the wearer steady in muddy conditions. The sole is thin enough to feel humps and lumps adorning the ground and keep the feet joints mobile.
These boots feature no arch support so they are great if you are also working on developing your foot and leg muscular strength and improving the ranges of motion of your foot joints. In case you don’t know, there are 33 joints in each foot, which gives plenty of room for movement variability! These boots don’t interfere with the natural ability of the foot to flex and propel you when you walk or run.
I’m normally a size 5.5-6 but had to go to up to a 7-7.5 for my feet to feel comfortable with enough wriggle room in the toe box. I wear my Pokeboo boots with winter socks when it’s cold and wet and they’ve kept me walking in very muddy conditions this past month, which has been wonderful.
Pokeboo boots are made of natural rubber, which is sourced in Thailand. Natural rubber is a uniquely tough, flexible and highly waterproof material. It is used to make tyres, the soles of most shoes, seals for engines and refrigerators, sports balls and rubber bands.
My pair in size 7-7.5 weighs 0.6kg. For comparison, my daughter’s standard rubber boots weigh 1.3kg – more than double!
The Pokeboo rubber boots won the Good Design Award in 2018. I think they look elegant. I like that the lining is khaki green in contrast with the main colour black. The elastic band is useful to adjust the boot to my leg, depending on whether I’m wearing thick trousers or tight leggings.
These boots may not be intended for long hikes but they did keep me dry through 12k of extremely muddy footpaths, rough terrains and deep puddles, on several occasions. I also went through brambles and did worry that my new boots would get damaged and punctured but, to my relief, no such thing happened. I’ve had my Pokeboo TREAD boots for about a month now and have worn them every day due to the extremely wet weather and they have been brilliant, keeping me walking comfortably and staying dry despite heavy rain and very muddy terrains.
I walk a couple of hours a day on average in the countryside. I’ve also worn my boots to the shops as they are so comfortable. I can jump over obstacles, balance on fallen trunks and even run as these boots don’t restrict my movement in any way.
These boots won’t keep your feet warm unless you wear thick socks. More reason to go up a size if you intend to wear them in the winter months. They are fine around zero but by minus 8 degrees Celsius, half an hour was just about long enough. When the temperature was 9 yesterday, my feet did feel very warm after an hour, and I was wearing thin socks!
I'm very happy with my Pokeboo TREAD boots. I keep them out of the bag and often stuff newspaper inside to keep them upright and warm when it’s very cold. They are easy to clean with a damp cloth and a smear of natural soap. I can recommend these boots after a month of daily heavy use and find them so good that I have included them in the Footwear choice section of the pdf version of my recently published book: Mindful Feet, A practical guide to being attentive to your body from the ground up, available in my Etsy shop: