Mid Season Boot Selection
Archery hunting can be painful! Hot, dusty, no water, and maybe a heartbreaking close call or two. After a few weeks of getting your butt kicked in the early season, it is just about time to bust out the rifle and hopefully, finally start filling some tags! Many of us are in the process of swapping out some of our early-season gear and adding in our mid-season kit. Which for most of us means your garage or gear room probably looks like a bomb went off. Along with heavier base layers and more insulation pieces you may want to think about switching boots. It's about time to clean up and condition those lightweight, early-season boots and break out something a bit more heavy duty and warm.
When picking a mid-season boot you should be looking for a few specific features. Enough ankle support and midsole stiffness to provide comfort and stability on those heavy pack outs in rough country. I prefer a boot with durable all leather construction to hold up to the bad weather and different types of terrain. Unless your feet run very cold, don't overdo it on insulation. Instead, look for light to moderate insulation for more versatility. Temperatures on midseason hunts can swing drastically so I want a boot that will keep me as comfortable as possible in all kinds of conditions. You may be asking it to perform in weather with 50-60 degree temperature swings and in a variety of different country. From elk and deer in rough mountain terrain all the way to cut corn fields chasing pheasants. More versatility is the name of the game.
One of the hardest questions we get asked is what level of insulation do I need for a particular hunt or temperature. This question is so hard because there is no right or wrong answer. First of all, there are so many different variables that can affect internal body temperatures. Poor circulation and dehydration are two of the most common. Everybody tends to run a little hot or cold, so what works for one guy may not work for another. The activity level of your hunt can be another factor to keep in mind. Generally, your feet are going to be warmer on hunts with a high activity level. If you are doing a lot of hiking you can usually get away with less insulation than you would on hunts with a lot of sitting. Changing socks sometime during the day and drinking plenty of water can pay huge dividends in keeping your feet comfortable. The other problem is, air temperature does a fairly poor job of describing how cold it actually feels. A 30 degree, heavy, damp morning treestand sit in the midwest is going to feel a lot colder than a crisp, sunny, 30 degree morning glassing for elk out west. Anytime a boot shows an actual temperature rating, be wary.
The Nevada and Guide will both be a 3 on our flex rating. The only real difference between these two models is the height. The Guide is two inches taller than the Nevada. Both of these boots are extremely versatile and would be a great choice for an all around midseason boot.
The Hunter will be very similar to the Guide and Nevada, with a couple of exceptions. At twelve inches the Hunter will be two inches taller than the Guide and a full four inches taller than the Nevada. This can come in handy when hunting in snowy or wet conditions, especially if you do not like wearing gaiters. The Hunter is also rated as a 4 on our flex rating. It will feel stiffer through the midsole than both the Guide and Nevada. Both the 3 and 4 flex will work in a variety of conditions and terrains which one you choose will come down to personal preference.
The Briksdal is a very unique boot in our lineup. It is a 4 on our flex rating with a height of nine inches. It tends to fit slightly narrower and has a more low volume feel than the Hunter, Guide or Nevada. With the asymmetrical, lace to toe design, it will still fit a wide range of hunters. If you have a narrower, low volume foot the Briksdal would definitely be my recommendation.
The Wild Rock is very similar to the Guide. They will have the same height, fit, and flex. The Wild Rock will have a couple of features that are specifically designed to perform in wet and nasty conditions. We use a pre-treated full grain leather rather than Nubuck for the upper. This full grain leather is the next step up in water resistance from our standard nubuck. The Wild Rock also utilizes a slightly different Vibram outsole that is specifically designed to perform in snow, rain, and mud. If your mid-season hunts tend to be in colder, wet weather it may be the perfect choice.
No matter what boot model or insulation level you decide on, here are a few things to keep in mind this rifle season. Wear high quality merino blend socks and change them regularly. If your feet sweat walking into your stand, change your socks once you get there. If you are hiking and moving a lot, change socks during the middle of the day. Keep a ziplock bag in your pack to throw the used pair in. Wear gaiters. A good gaiter will keep moisture and debris out of your boots. They will keep you dry and more comfortable and hopefully hunting longer. Get some of our Crispi leather cream and make sure you are treating and conditioning your boots regularly. Just like your truck or rifle, proper maintenance on your boots will ensure good performance.
Finally, if you have any questions about gaiters, socks, the boots mentioned above, or any other Crispi products please give us a call. We would love to chat and help you out.