The Rockports in question (they could have been known as XCS, not sure) were actually lined in Goretex membraine and I remember an advert with some bloke standing in a storm drain as the water gushed around him and his stance remaining (rock) steady on account of the ingenious suction-like tread on the soles.
I wore my first pair of Rockports to the point of destruction and promptly went out and bought another pair and I remember at the time thinking I wouldn't actually need another pair of shoes ever.
Wouldn't be seen dead in them now of course, and the same could be said for Caterpillars, but louder. How these stalwarts of the building site came to become a mainstay of street fashion is beyond me, but the fact that some people still wear the slightly similar but slightly less aesthetically offensive Timberlands does lead me to believe that maybe it isn't the popularity of these sorts of shoes that has changed as much as my taste.
Of course I unreservadly apologise to anyone who still wears either of these brands of footwear, although after 20 years I might suggest you try out something else.