Sunday, May 22, 2011

OBN Gear Review: Irish Setter Boots

This is a first for me as I will be doing my first gear review on An Outdoor Adventure.  Why am I doing a gear review you might ask?  Well the folks over at the Outdoor Blogger Network (see the OBN badge on the right side bar for a link) offer weekly gear give-aways to outdoor bloggers so they can field test the equipment and write reviews.  I was the lucky winner of a pair of Irish Setter Rut Master Boots!  So here we go.....

First, let me just say that the folks at Irish Setter are first class!  I won these boots about a week ahead of my turkey hunting trip.  I emailed Joe at OBN and expressed my concern about receiving the boots in time for the hunt.  He shared my concern but then responded by saying that Irish Setter had agreed to ship the boots 2nd day air so that I would receive them in time!  They arrived as promised and are beautiful.

I am a heavy user of rubber hunting boots as they keep my feet dry in wet conditions (such as water crossings, muddy conditions, and heavy dews), but the primary reason is scent control during deer hunting.  I am really hard on my boots while hunting and expect them to perform without fail.  Here is my review of the boots highlighting those aspects that I look for when purchasing new hunting boots.

The first thing I noticed when unpacking the boots is that the quality is obvious.  These boots are made to last.  I pulled out my old hunting boots and did a side by side comparison. 

Side by side comparison of New vs. Old

1.  Heavy Tread:  You can tell this boot has an aggressive tread before you even pick it up.  It has cleat like grippers along the side and when you pick it up to take a look at the bottom you are even more impressed.  The lugs are thick but are spaced out enough that it won't just be a mud trap.  Able to provide traction when you need it most.  I took a look at my sad pair of old boots and noticed that the tread was almost gone in most places.  Granted, these are very old boots, but the wear is more excessive than you would expect.

Serious tread on the Irish Setter Rut Master

Tread that didn't hold up on the old boots.
2.  Reinforced Tops:  The biggest complaint from my old boots has been solved by the folks at Irish Setter!  The weakest part of most rubber boots is where it flexes in the front where my foot meets my ankle.  This has caused my old boots to crack and wear in this area causing holes in both boots!  The Irish Setter boots have reinforced material in this area to prevent that from happening!  Wow!  I know it seems like I am over emphasizing this point, but if you ever stepped in a creek on a day when it it just above freezing and you felt cold water rushing into your socks through your "water proof" boots, you would share my enthusiasm.  These holes also compromise the "scent free aspect of the boots and are the primary reason for utilizing them during deer season.

Pointing out reinforced areas with double layer.

What happens when you don't have reinforced area.
3.  ExoFlex:  What the heck is that?  Well, if I only read about it, I wouldn't have believed it, but this actually works.  The Irish Setter boots have this flexible area in the back that is where you place your heel inside the boot, that allows you to slip it on.  The boot "gives" just a little as you slip your foot in so it isn't a chore, but once you have it on, it is a nice snug fit.  The old boots, well you just use brute force.

4.  Comfort:  When you put on my old boots, you can feel the "thin" construction, like there is no cushion of support between me and the sole of the boot.  The Irish Setter boots are luxurious.  They have a cushioning that provides tennis shoe type of comfort with the protection of rubber hunting boots.  No pics on this attribute, but you can imagine me smiling as I put them on!  

Over All Review:  I tried to utilize these boots during my turkey hunt, but the conditions weren't right for this test.  These boots will thrive in a cold and wet environment, but this trip was very hot and very dry.  Had it been a normal wet Spring season, they would have been perfect.  I know that I will be utilizing these boots also this fall season as I bow hunt whitetail deer.  Overall, I give these boots a 5 out of 5 star rating due to their heavy duty construction, aggressive tread, comfortable fit, and the innovative design that helps you more easily put them on.  Let me express my thanks to the folks at Irish Setter Boots for donating the boots and thanks to the Outdoor Blogger Network for coordinating these gear reviews!


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