Hiking boots are one of the most important pieces of equipment for the outdoorsman. A good boot can make the difference in comfort and duration in the field. And it can also save your feet from unnecessary blisters or other foot related medical issues.
If you’re like me, there are four phases to the life of your hunting boot. First phase is the “Right Outta the Box” phase which requires adequate time on local trails to try to break in the new pair so you aren’t aching during peak hunting/hiking season.
The next phase is the “Prime” phase where your boots fit perfectly, operate flawlessly, and still look decent. This phase usually lasts only one to two seasons, depending on how rugged of an outdoorsman you are.
The third phase is what I call the “I Should Buy New Boots” phase. Let’s be honest here, none of us want to throw away our old pair and go shoe shopping. This phase really tests the durability of leather and the waterproofness of GoreTex. We’re lucky if we can make it an extra season in this phase. Duct tape usually helps.
The last phase is appropriately named the “Time to Buy New Boots” phase. You know what I mean. Boot’s soles are flopping around on every step. The GoreTex tab has fallen off, which is okay since the boots are as porous as the Viking’s defensive line. And mud has impregnated itself into the boots leather making you actually believe that’s how the boot was originally designed. It’s time to dish out some money and get some new boots.
Last year I purchased a new pair of hiking boots in preparation for my August Alaska hunting/fishing trip. I picked up a pair of Salomon Quest 4d II GTX hiking boots from REI. They have a perfect balance of rigidness where needed, but flexibility for overall performance. They are waterproof and breathable, using GoreTex liners (I don’t buy boots without it). Comfort is top notch with these boots, however, every foot is different and I recommend trying on several different boots before settling.
The Salomon’s one downfall is that it uses a shoelace gripper aimed toward keeping the boot tight at all times. It does accomplish this objective, however, it loosens the shoelace above that point and requires a double, sometimes triple, knot. It also adds a little more effort when taking the boot off.
All in all, this is a great boot and I recommend it for the avid outdoorsman. It’s August right now and if you’re currently in the fourth phase of a hiking boot’s life, go check out Salomon’ at your local outdoor retail store. #CelebrateMan