The Right Boot

Nothing puts the “kabash” on a hunt quicker than wet, sore and damaged feet, especially if you are in the backcountry and depend on them for your main mode of transportation. Avoiding the moment when your blisters cause you to “tap out” starts long before opening morning of your hunting season.

I had a chance to sit down with my good friend Phil Francone who runs Meindl Boots USA and asked him what he suggested was the best way to pick the right boot for any hunter. “The best place to start in selecting the right boot for you, is to start by DE-selecting boots that will not work for you!” Phil stated plainly. He then went on to line out the basic key factors that must be considered when picking a boot that works for you.

  • In what terrain will the boots be utilized? Rough or smooth, will there be massive elevation gain or loss? This will help you start identifying boots that will NOTwork for your hunts.
  • What temperature or conditions will you be hunting in? if you are huting in cold, wet, and boggy hunting conditions this will help you decide if you want a boot with insulation or no insulation. Is a gore tex liner a necessity? Once again identifying boots that will NOT work for your hunts is the key to finding what will work.
  • Your foot structure and size is vital for good boot fitment, measure your foot! Do you have high arches or low arches, wide or narrow feet, and are your feet even the same size? Go into a shoe store, like a JC Penney’s or a Macy’s that has a Brannock foot measuring device and get your feet measured (BOTH OF THEM). I have a buddy that has different sizes and widths for both his feet and he always wondered why he had a hard time getting boots to fit when he just ordered them by one size.
  • As with any other gear personal preference plays a part in choosing what boot fits best and is most comfortable for anyone. Trying out options like the Cork Footbed VS Memory Foam in the Meindl Boot as this will allow you to compare and contrast and choose the best one for you.
  • Hunt of a lifetime…… Don’t be stupid and cheap when it comes to one of the most important pieces of equipment you will be using constantly when you finally get to go on that limited draw or “Once in lifetime” hunt. Find some other place to skimp on your equipment, make your feet a top priority.

Here are few more helpful tips for selecting the right boot for you… start by actually trying on the boot. (REMEMBER - MEASURE YOUR FOOT!) Sometimes that is tough and if you can’t be in the store physically many boot companies will allow you to try on boots and then send them back if they don’t fit. The heel cup must not slip as you step and the toes can’t touch the front of the boot or you will be in agony… especially on a decline. Another important step is breaking in your boots, wear them around for a few weeks prior to the hunt, this will help insure proper fit and molding of your foot to the boot, you might look silly on the golf course hiking up and down the fairways but you won’t be sorry once the terrain gets tough and the weather turns rough on your hunt.

In summary, while all to often overlooked, your feet will shut you down quicker on a hunt than anything else short of medical emergency. Be smart, choose wisely and you will be glad you did when you can manage the strain of the hunt without the obstacle of foot agony.

For more info on proper boot selection and fitment listen to the #INSPIREDWILD PODCAST Episode 039 – The Best Boot for You - or download it on iTunes, Stitcher or Podbean.

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