Feeling defeetedby boot choices?
I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who fishes the Elite Series regarding what type of boot he should have and it got me looking around. I have to admit that it’s really overwhelming. There are a lot of choices, with a wide range of prices, so I thought I would share what I think are my current Top 5 based on what I look for in a boot.
To begin with, the market is generally more geared towards hunters; as most people aren’t wearing much more than a pair of sandals when they’re on the boat. But for those of us who compete, we know firsthand how harsh the environment can be, and how crucial it is to have our bodies kept warm and dry. So I look for boots that are tall, rubber/neoprene, breathable, waterproof (not water-resistant), and rated for weather that falls somewhere between 60F and -20F.
1. Woody Max, Muck Boot Company $194.95
This is not only the most expensive boot of the five, it is also my favorite pair I own. Not because I am committed to buying them over and over, year after year, but because I bought my first and only pair in 2001 and they still look like they did the day I took them out of the box without having to apply any oils or treatments. At almost $200 a pair a lot of you will pass on them, but if you only wear them to hunt and/or fish, I can assure you that they’ll last long enough to justify the purchase. Waterproof, and rated for temps ranging from 40 below zero to 60 degrees Farenheight, these boots will keep your feet warm and dry on the boat, in a tree stand, in rain or in snow.
2. Alphaburly® Pro Side-Zip 18″ Mossy Oak® Break-Up Infinity® Hunting Boots, Lacrosse $150
Lacrosse is certainly not new to the boot industry. Having been completely redesigned for 2013, the Alphaburly® Pro offers comfort, support, and durability, while simultaneously providing new features like a full-length side zipper and pairing it with the classic ankle-fit design from 1963 to deliver a boot that is both comfortable and sleek. It’s a great blend of old and new, and a unique representation of what Lacrosse has to offer for the future. Tall (18 inches) lightweight (4.5lbs per pair) and rated for temperatures ranging from 60 to -20 F, this is absolutely a great option for anyone.
3. Rutmaster 800g Thinsulate™ Ultra with ExoFlex™ Fit System, Irish Setter $184.99
One of the few I explored which offered scent control, the Rutmaster offers a wide variety of features that make it an enticing product for consumers. I’ll admit that it’s not the first company that comes to mind when I think of boots, but Irish Setter isn’t exactly an untested company. The ExoFlex system allows for a unique wear that will stretch for easier on/off, and instantly lock into place while wearing to provide extreme performance. The height is relatively the same (17 inches) and so is the weight. The tread is a bit more aggressive than the others, but I personally find them to fall somewhere in the middle in terms of overall warmth during really cold weather when having to sit for long periods of time.
4. HeadHunter 12, Duck Commander $120
The Duck Commander line was something I decided to look into because I thought that a company that was so good at making duck calls would have to put their name on a good boot too, right? Not so much. While it is by far the most affordable of the group, the boot itself feels bulky and cheap even though it’s lighter, because it’s a much shorter boot (12 inches). The base isn’t as comfortable, and you’ll get cold in weather below 40 degrees. I’d say you’d be fine if you live south of Tennessee, but if you spend anytime at all in cold weather you won’t be “happy, happy, happy” that you bought this boot.
5. MudSox 1000G WP, Rocky $169.99
Last but not least we have the brand new MudSox WP by Rocky. Full neoprene, and jam-packed with insulation from top to bottom, these boots are no joke when it comes to keeping your feet warm. They also feature removable footbeds to help you dry them after you’ve had them on all day. The only downside to these boots is that they are a bit on the heavy side at over 8 lbs per pair. But if you’re not doing much walking and just want to be sure your feet are able to keep warm when you’re battling winter wind and waves on Erie or Simcoe, this is the boot for you.