It might be okay to wear your sneakers out behind the house on opening day of archery season, but you wouldn’t want to do that on an elk trip to Colorado, or even later in the fall behind your house. Boots, hunting boots, are not just a clothing accessory, they are an important part of your hunting attire wherever you hunt. I have lots of hunting boots, from light hiking boots to calf height rubber boots, both with and without insulation, and I do have a tendency to wear them out. I am ever on the lookout for a new pair of hunting boots.
So, it was natural then for me to have been attracted to LOWA boots display at the Outdoor Writers Association of America conference in July. While there, I tried on a couple of their samples and was impressed by their fit and weight. When I shared with them my current workout regimen of walking three miles a day, they asked if I would be willing to test a pair out under real conditions. It probably took me all of three seconds to suppress my surprise and say, “ah, sure”!
LOWA sent me a pair of their Task-Force boots, the Z-6S GTX a light weight tactical boot with a mid-ankle support. This is a rugged yet light boot that provides really good ankle support. It is not a boot that one could put on for the first time and wear it all day. It does need a bit of break in time, but not as much as I expected.
Rugged hunting boots are not something you can just pop on and go with. They will need some time to properly mold to your foot. Typically, these boots were pretty stiff out of the box and I began wearing them around the house for an hour or two for the first couple of days
By the end of my third day I was ready to try them out on one of my workout sessions. I figured that my route that day would loop me back by the house after one mile so if the boots were chaffing or otherwise making my feet sore I could switch out my foot gear. I didn’t need to! By the time I had completed my first mile, the boots were feeling pretty comfortable with no unnatural or harmful pressure points. I completed that first workout session and came back to house in a pair of boots that were strong, yet very comfortable.
While I work to get in shape for my annual Colorado elk hunt, I make it a point of wearing the gear I will be using in the field. Boots in particular are an important part of my workout. My daily three mile walk varies between hilly sandy terrain and low lying flat land. These boots performed as well as any boot I have every worn. I figure I have already put nearly one hundred miles on these boots and apart from being dirty, they look and feel like new! Although I wasn’t able to test them this summer over rocky mountain terrain, I will be doing that in a few short days.
The LOWA Z-6S GTX boot is a mid-ankle boot made of a combination of split leather and Cordura with a breathable and water proof Gore-Tex liner. I found its waterproof liner to be excellent as I splashed through streams and mud. The mid-ankle support is very firm and will provide the support I need as I trek the Colorado Mountains. I particularly like their lacing system with the closed loop metal hooks. I have other boots that use the open hook system but I am forced to work the laces through all the hooks each time. With the Z-6S boots, I can loosen the laces and slip the boots on, or off, without having to re-lace them each time. I know, this demonstrates my laziness, but when you are as old as I am you take whatever time saving features you can get? The boots come in four different color options, but none of them are camouflage, which is a bit of a disappointment to me since I need to make sure my footwear matches my backpack! I don’t know why, but my wife contends that the only time I coordinate my clothing is when I am hunting!
The Z-6S boots do not come with any insulation, so these may not be the best boots for cold weather, especially if you are sitting still, but they should work very well for any summer trekking or fall active hunting wear. However, LOWA does have a number of boot models with various levels of insulation and even more rugged boots for the dedicated mountaineer. In fact, they have a complete line of boots and shoes for almost any outdoor effort, including both men and women’s versions.
No one pair of boots will meet every need. I will still need my calf high neoprene boots for frogging, or duck hunting, but the LOWA 6S GTX will be my boot of choice as I tread the mountains of Colorado or the flatlands of Texas. For more information about LOWA boots or where to get yourself a pair, visit their website.