Boots. My stories about hunting boots sound like clips from Goldilocks and the Three Bears…these are too big, these are too small, these are too thin or these are too cold. I have long searched for hunting footwear that can withstand what the elements provide. I assure you, I am not a shoe person by nature. You will not find Gucci or Jimmy Choo shoes in my closet. The extent of my footwear collection consists of Simples, Crocs, Sketchers and a mountain of flip flops. Comfort and function are key at all times because frankly, if the feet hurt, then the fun is over…and if my fun is over…so is everyone else’s. You can thus see why it is in the best interest of all around me to find great footwear.
Kenetrek has filled that bill. Jim Winjum of Kenetrek has engineered the Women’s Mountain Extreme 400 boot. I have had the pleasure (and how often can you use that word when describing boots?) of field testing these boots and can only rave about them. First; they are created for a woman’s foot. The design is somewhat narrower than the men’s boot, but the great part is that the heel is narrowed to reduce slippage and rubs. I tried these with both thick and thin socks- I literally had no rubbing or pressure points. Second; support. The Extreme 400 has a heavy duty nylon midsole with steel shanks. This really didn’t mean much to me until I spent some time hiking about the rocks in Montana and just as the song says, “I’m a believer!”. They are bomb proof! The sole is quite thick, but don’t be alarmed because this boot is very lightweight for all of its function. In fact, weiging in at 3.2 pounds per PAIR, there is no excess baggage here. Third; warmth. Insulated with 400 grams of Thinsulate, these boots are warm. That’s not the best part. The Extreme 400 comes with a WindTex waterproof membrane. Now, if I was reading this review, I would think the writer just took that information from a hangtag. OK, so maybe I took the VERBIAGE from the tag, but here is what the ‘WindTex waterproof membrane’ means to me…you can literally wear this boot in and out of streams without any (and I mean ANY) moisture seeping into the boot. The tongue of the boot is a singular piece with triple stitiching- it is waterproof as is the padded collar that extends up the booot. Fourth; quality. Did I mention triple stitiching? The boot is made of full grain leather that is lieterally made in one piece…no seams. I looked. The rubber is tightly bonded and the sole is reinforced for protection. So many great features- so little time.
The Women’s Mountain Extreme 400 retails for $325. As this may seem a higher price point, I can attest to the fact that they are worth every penny. Not just for the reasons listed above, but also because these boots will last for many years. I try to put it in perspective this way- we don’t flinch at spending $500 for ski boots that actually fit. Why? They have too feel good and work hard. Running shoes? No problem to pay over $100 for a pair, yet if you are putting miles on them, you can only eek out about 6 months max on that pair. I foresee using these boots for years- so if I am buying one pair of boots to cover many years, these boots are much cheaper in the long run than the $200/year I shell out for running shoes. Yes, that smells distinctly of ‘women’s spending logic’, but the funny thing is…you all understood!
Do me a favor…check out these boots. There are numerous dealer locations, but click on www.kenetrek.com and go to Kenetrek Mountain Boots.