Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Give it some welly

Hunter recently sent me a pair of boots to test in the field. Now these are not cheap boots, and Hunters are often regarded as the toff’s welly of choice; more associated with prestigious game shoots than my typical airgun pest control assignments. The Balmoral Sovereign has an SRP of £299 (which could buy you a decent airgun or a complete set of economy fishing gear) but shop around and you can actually get them for under £200. That still sounds like a lot of money but my old Hunter Galloways are still going strong after eight years of serious abuse. If the Balmorals last that long, I think they’ll represent great value.
I’ve always found that Hunters fit me well, on the foot and on the leg. With the Balmoral Sovereigns, the fit is even better, and there’s a full-length, zip-up side gusset so they’re easy to pull on and off. The fit on the ankle is great and these boots come with two sets of cushioned insoles; you use the thick insole for a snug fit with lightweight socks in the summer and the thin insole to make extra room for thick socks and good blood circulation when it’s cold.
The boots’ shell is tough rubber (available either in brown, which I've got, or olive green), the leg is lined with leather and the foot is lined with neoprene for comfort.

The all-terrain Vibram outer soles are incredibly grippy on mud, and have provided great traction on slippery clay river banks. However, the same could not be said on granite during a recent trip to Dartmoor. The treads didn't grip very well at all one the smooth stone and I ended up on my backside on one occasion - thankfully I wasn't carrying a gun...
After four months of unsympathetic field testing these rugged boots are showing no sign of wear and have not let in a drop of moisture, even when wading with the water level close to the top. They are surprisingly supple and have done an admirable job of keeping my feet warm and dry this winter. Something of a heavyweight in terms of footwear, they may not be the best choice when soft footfall is required for stealthy stalking but they certainly keep out the elements. I'm very impressed - just be careful on the granite...

1 comment:

  1. hi, first time visiting ur blog, and fell in love with it straight away.

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