Dubarry Boots—Arctic Voyage Gear Test

In our Warm Feet, Please post of several years ago, we mentioned that we had purchased Dubarry Ultima boots and, after several years, were impressed. At that time, however, we weren’t ready to commit to anything until we had given them a thorough testing.

Well, we’ve used them now for 5 years and we’re still in love with the boots…with each other, too,and that has been 15 years!

Anyway, back on topic. The boots (with the very important addition of Smart Wool socks) kept us warm throughout our 10,000 mile Arctic voyage last year. And though mine, which get regularly bathed with salt water when hauling the anchor and cleaning the deck with the deck wash, looked pretty rugged by the end of the voyage, they came back beautifully after a good clean and condition (using Dubarry’s recommended cleaner and conditioner). They look like they could go on for another 5 years.

So, though they are expensive, that isn’t so hard to take when they last this long. And they are warmer and, since they are breathable leather with a Gore-Tex lining, they are also a lot more comfortable than any other boots we’ve tried.

The verdict? Dubarry Ultima boots get an A++ on their report card!

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Meet the Author


Phyllis has sailed over 40,000 offshore miles with John on their McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, most of it in the high latitudes, and has crossed the Atlantic three times. As a woman who came to sailing as an adult, she brings a fresh perspective to cruising, which has helped her communicate what they do in an approachable way, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

12 comments… add one
  • Jeff H Jun 6, 2012, 11:07 am

    To get this great life, are you wearing them only on board or do you wear them ashore as well?

    A side note…loved the pictures of Kilmarnock, Va. My wife and I keep our boat at Chesapeake Boat Basin, just a mile or two out of town.

    • Phyllis Jun 12, 2012, 8:15 am

      Hi, Jeff; I only wear them on board. Being that they only come in a few sizes, they are actually somewhat too large for me! (A problem women often find with good sailing gear, as we discussed when talking about foul weather gear.) John and I tend to wear boots with more support (hiking boots) when going ashore. Though the friend who introduced us to DuBarrys wore his both onboard and ashore. I don’t know how long his last. I’ll ask him!

      Actually, we were at the Chesapeake Boat Basin and walked into Kilmarnock. Very friendly place.

      Update: Just heard from our friend Alasdair who said that after a few years of wearing his boots onshore and aboard the rubber soles got hard and so dangerous on deck. (I had the same thing happen with a pair of deck shoes—lethal!) But apparently he says that same pair, that are now 20 years old, are still going strong for onshore use.

      Note that last year he bought a new pair that aren’t leather and he doesn’t recommend them as the non-leather uppers chafe very quickly. (Note that DuBarry are apparently very good about repairs, though we haven’t experienced that personally.)

      Hope that helps.

  • Paul Mills Jun 7, 2012, 8:11 am


    DuBarry have agreat reputation over here too… however for me I cannot find ones that fit, even their wider fittings are not good for my small very wide feet.

    Two years ago after a long search I bought a pair of Orca Bay extreme boots, at about £100 a pair less than Dubarry. Thus far they are great, warm, comfortable and waterproof – as well as breathable. They also, despite being higher, fit comfortably over my cart horse calves and warmer socks when needed.

    For years I used wellies that did not breathe and have to say the investment is so worth it for the increase in comfort!


  • Paul Mills Jun 7, 2012, 8:13 am

    PS to my comment above…

    Hazel says that sheepskin uggs are here favourite, extremely warm, ease to slip on and off – and as a bonus their lack of waterproofness means she can hide below, in the warm in wet weather 🙂

    • John Jun 8, 2012, 8:17 am

      Hi Paul and Hazel,

      The Uggs look like a great idea. My feet tend to get cold when I’m below and not moving around and the boat is in cold water and the sole cold . I often wear my DuBarrys in this case, but the Uggs would be better since it’s a good idea to let your deck boots dry out, when below.

  • James Jun 7, 2012, 1:13 pm

    We too have used our Dubarry Boots which have lasted for 15 years, when the soles start to go just send them back and for a relatively small price will resole ,refurbish and return like new.
    They are the only Boots that we have been able to wear BOTH in the Arctic and the Heat as they breath.

  • Colin Jun 7, 2012, 2:28 pm

    Hi Phyllis

    I’m on my second pair, and I have to say that I preferred the older version which had a traditional stitch on sole, as they were easy to repair.

    The first pair of new ones (same as your own) went back as they leaked – replaced without quibble by Dubarry. The replacement pair were fine for a while, but then the soles started to peel off at the toe end. I had them reglued in Morocco last year, and so far so good.

    They are great for on board use, warm and waterproof (enough), but don’t keep the water out entirely if immersed – or maybe it’s just Hebridean weather that gets through.

    Proper green, steel toe capped wellies are the only answer for that!

    Best wishes


  • conny harlin Jun 7, 2012, 3:58 pm

    I purchased a pair 2011 Dubarry Fastnet version,,,,so far so good,,It make me feel good when I hear they last 10-15 years, because they were not cheap…as they say, if it is expensive then it’s good stuff.

  • James Jun 13, 2012, 2:12 pm

    We had the hard slippery sole problem, found a long walk on gravel did
    > the trick………….james

  • Jenny Franklin Jun 21, 2012, 3:58 pm

    I know I’m a bit late in joining this topic, but had to share: hubby John (the older/longer sailor of the two of us!) has had his dubarry’s seemingly for ever, never worn in Caribbean for several seasons and the soles got hard and slippery – but sending them back to DuBarry got an entire resole at no cost. Excellant service – and because we keep going further north rather than further south, now I want a pair too!!

  • Daria Blackwell Jul 31, 2012, 6:53 am

    I love my DuBarrys!!!! Crossing the NA in gale after gale, I really appreciated being warm and dry. Six years and still in great shape.

  • Barry Mar 24, 2013, 3:57 am

    Hi PhYllis. Never heard these called ‘DuBarry’ before

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