Friday, 17 September 2010

These Boots were meant for Stalking!

Stealth is the prerequisite of an airgun hunter - and I'll never forget the late, great John Darling telling me how important the correct footwear is for stalking. JD used to wear trainers, in fact - he said they allowed him to 'feel' the ground as he inched into range.

I've taken his advice on board; I usually hunt in either my Rocky Pro or Tenaya boots, both of which have soft (well, soft-ish) soles that let me tread with some feeling of what lies underfoot. And for the mucky, winter months, I swear by my Dunlop Wildlife Deluxe wellies which are made of incredibly soft rubber that's also very well insulated against the cold.

The Rockys are a tad weighty and, I must confess, the Tenayas get uncomfortable after a few hours - and as both have done a fair few seasons, I've treated myself to some new hunting boots. They're made by the famous Scandinavian outdoor clothing specialists, Harkila - brought into the UK by Seeland - and I've chosen the Lynx GTX 6 style ankle-boot with JD's immortal words still implanted in my mind.

Harkila Lynx GTX 6 boots
The Lynx is billed by Harkila as their 'ultimate' stalking boot because it's been designed in conjunction with specialist hunters to be incredibly light and flexible. In fact, what caught my attention at first was the fact that Harkila's advertising hype says you get a feeling of walking 'bare foot'! Well, I'm sure some license has been taken there... but the Lynx boot is incredibly light - each foot weighs just 240 grammes! - and the thin sole is flexible enough to let you stalk over most terrain with the sort of stealth every airgun hunter yearns for.

I've only worn them for a couple of easy-going outings so far - to break them in - but I'm intending to wear them for the entirety of this weekend's Midland Game Fair. As I expect to be on my feet in an outside environment for around 16 hours each day, I think I'll get a good idea of how comfortable they're going to be under field conditions. Mind you, the uppers are made of Harkila's 'Memory Fit' material, so I'm sure they'll feel like a well-worn pair of slippers come Monday morning!

Over the next few weeks, I'll bring you a further update once I've used them on a few of my hunting trips. They're a mix of Nubuck leather and Tietex cloth (which is also very silent), and they look very well made - plus the Gore-Tex lining and Texel Tundra changeable liner should stop my feet from getting sweaty and wet.

Gore-Tex lining
The design of the boots has to be seen to be appreciated. Just look at the underside of the insole, which Harkila call their Footbed: it's made of differing density foams and, along with plenty of insulation, has impact-resistant gel inserts at the heel and ball points. 

Footbed insole
I'm not sure how well the Pursch Sole System will cope in slippery conditions, mind you. To me, the tread has been compromised in order to improve the ground-feel - but these guys know what they're doing, so I don't think it'll be like walking on slick tyres in wet weather. 

Pursch Sole System
They're finished in Mossy Oak Break-up camouflage, and the outer's protected with clear, synthetic ribs along with a solid toe-cap. As the GTX 6 is an ankle-boot, there's no need for quick-tie loops, and the laces are well made and slightly elasticated to cope with wet conditions.

Clear side-ribbing
My first impressions of these £130 boots are very favourable - and I'm really looking forward to putting them through their, erm, 'paces' over the next few weeks before bringing you a no-holds-barred report on my Blog. Watch this space...

1 comment:

  1. could you tell me how thick the sole is please ? with and without insole , thanks buddy