Dressing like an Alaskan is not an easy thing to do, as I learned when I went to college in Alaska, as a transfer from Bend, Oregon, from a dry climate to a wet climate. Before I made the trip I bought some standard rubber boots since I knew it would be wet.

How Alaskans Dress

Photo Provided by Mark Zeiger

A few days of walking the streets and trails of Alaska told me that I had the wrong boots. Not only were the boots clunky and making the back of my heels sore, but everyone was looking at my boots when I passed by. They knew I was from out of town by my boots.

So, I started looking at what they were wearing and noticed they all wore the same boots, a kind of tight, flexible boot that was quiet when they walked. I thought it was strange that everyone wore the same boots, but decided to find out what they were. I decided to ask the next person I met on the sidewalk what they were called. “The boots? Sitka slippers.” “Excuse me?” “They’re XtraTuf Boots, but we call ‘em Alaskan Slippers. You need to get yourself some if you want to live here.” So, I did.

Xtratuf Boots are also known as Alaskan Sneakers, Alaskan Tennis Shoes, and Alaskan Slippers!

As soon as I put them on, I felt like part of the gang. I rubbed a little dirt on them so they didn’t look so shiny. Walking down the street I noticed that no one was looking at my boots. I was not an “outsider” any longer. I was now learning how to dress like an Alaskan, boot-wise, anyway…almost like the crew on the Deadliest Catch!

If you come to Alaska and plan to spend any length of time at all, you want to learn how to dress in a manner that does not make you look like a tourist. We welcome tourists here, but we also know they are from another country and won’t be staying long. We treat tourists in a friendly manner, but we don’t share our secrets like, where to catch the good fish, and where the best beaches are. If you want to know those things, you have to show me you plan on staying awhile. To do that you need to start with your boots.

Alaskan SneakersIf I see you in XtraTufs, then I know you plan on being here longer than a week. I think maybe you plan to find work or buy some equipment to really see our state. When you wear XtraTufs, you are making a statement that says, “I’m not a tourist any longer.”

You also want to get yourself a good sweatshirt and a pair of faded jeans. You can wear an ‘Alaskan Beer’ sweatshirt, but be sure you have washed it a few times first. And don’t wear a hat that says Alaska on it. That says tourist loud and clear.

If you are a lady, feel free to wear a dress with your XtraTufs on a rainy day. No one will stare at you or snicker. We are used to seeing that because we see it as a practical outfit. We are pragmatists up here, so, whatever works, we are for it. We figure maybe you have mud in your driveway and you want to keep your good shoes dry and in your car til’ you get to the party. We like practical ladies here. And XtraTufs are very practical…

Learning how to dress like an Alaskan is pretty easy with the right pair of boots!


  1. I’ve sent you several emails privately, but you have not responded.


    Is that clear enough? I’ve asked for a link and attribution, but I can find none on this page. Remove the image now.

    Thank you,

    Mark Zeiger (owner of the copyright on the photo of the woman in the blue coat and Xtratufs)

  2. Mark,

    Let me first start off with a sincere apology for not responding sooner, that is not my style at all.

    Evidently I am having email issues I was not aware of, I have not seen any private emails from you regarding our original agreement. I sincerely apologize if my response was delayed in anyway.

    I have given you full credit for your work, please see the bottom of this page

    You can check Google’s cached version of that page, this link has been there since the beginning.

    Could you please clarify where you feel I should provide additional credit? I am very happy to work with you to get my website updated to your standards. Also if you feel for any reason I cannot regain your trust I also willing to honor your request to remove the content.

    Again I apologize deeply for any misunderstanding, your comment on my website on 4/17/2011 was the first I knew of this issue. I have been moving, and have not stayed up on the website over the last couple weeks so I just saw your comment.

    Admin X-Tough Boots

  3. Shane,

    Thank you for getting back to me.

    The article that had me concerned is this one: http://www.x-tough.com/how-to-dress-like-an-alaskan/ (the one these comments are associated with) This one has the uncredited photo of my wife. It’s the one that came up in search queries.

    Because of the use of my photo, and the similarities between the articles, it appeared you’d replaced my article with one of your own, and kept the photo. That’s what sent me off.

    It looks like all you’d really need to do is link the photo to the edited version of my article, or just add a quick photo credit at the bottom of the photo.

    I’m sorry about the confusion, and the emails getting missed. My message in the comment section was a “last resort” effort to reach you, but all along I felt the whole situation was inconsistent with the type of person you seem to be.

    Sorry to reply in your comments section, but this reply bounced from your server, stating “No such user.” May I suggest you delete my comment, and your reply from the page after the link’s added to that article? It’s not my intention to make your readers think ill of you.



  4. Mark,

    I have no issue with your actions, I would have done the same thing. I will update the site immediately, giving full credit. It was an honest mistake, I often reuse images around my site, and failed to provide appropriate citation in this case.

    I am glad we could find common ground, I look forward to our continued positive relationship.


  5. I love my tufs and rock the tuf and dress look frequently!

    Alaskan Dermish

  6. Very Civil argument kudos to both of you , I like the Pic and the Writeup , I think alot of people use photos off the internet lol , no harm when when theres an apology =) So most all alaskans wear these? Do they have Liners? THanks

  7. Memphis,

    Glad to hear you enjoyed the exchange 🙂

    Yes, many Alaskan’s own one or more pair of Xtratuf boots. Most wear the original version because they last so long they have not needed a new pair yet. Although I am hearing good things about the newest Xtratuf II boots! The insulated variety have a type of liner for the insulation but the non-insulated versions do not have liners. Most people wear wool socks inside as the liner.

    Let us know how your first pair works out!

  8. Troy Nickle

    I need a pair of rubber boots that my feet will not get cold in. I wear a size z10 1/2 what do you recommend . I just got a pair of rocky mud sox and they have e hole in already. I am poor. But I need good boots to live . Thanks troy

  9. Troy,

    I would recommend going with the size 11 insulated boots, this will give you room for a nice pair of wool socks inside. If you dont think you will have good think wool socks then I would stick with the 10.5 insulated boots. They should still be warm in most conditions even with thinner socks.


  10. are these the boots the Klicher’s wear on the Discovery Channel show Alaska: The Last Frontier ?

  11. Brian,

    Yes they are the same boots! Here is a picture of them on their website wearing Xtratuf boots

    From what I can see they are wearing the original Xtratuf boots


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