July 6, 2022
The Gypsy JournalBy Jason “Gypsy” Kladiva

Steger Mukluks

”Hey! Where’d ya get dem boots?!”

I can’t tell you how many times I have been yelled at from across a street, a parking lot, or while guiding in Yellowstone National Park from somebody wanting to know where I got my boots. This has been going on for almost 30 years. So let me tell you where I got those boots: Steger Mukluks. Ely, Minnesota.

Guiding a group at the Lower Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park in my Steger Mukluks

I have been wearing Steger Mukluks since I was a canoe guide in Voyageurs National Park and Quetico Provincial Park in the early 1990s. I picked up a pair in the Steger retail store in Ely and took them back with me to Chicago. They have been on my feet on numerous crossings of the Mackinac Ice Bridge, the Langjokull glacier in Iceland and every winter trip I guide into Yellowstone. I am on my third pair. These boots do the trick in -45 or 35. Never have cold feet. Never have wet feet. $200. And they last.

The design for my “mukluks” go back centuries. People of cold climates from Reykjavik to Patagonia have worn a version of this style with a leather base (in this case moose hide) with a cloth top (canvas on these) and a lining usually of wool (yup!). So these are nothing new or anything I came up with.

However, if you go back to the mid-1980s, you will find that arctic explorer Will Steger took the early design, made a few modifications and used them on several sled dog expeditions to the North Pole. Need I say more?

Steger Mukluks