If you’re a hunter that is looking for hunting shoes, you have no doubt encountered these shoes in many best hunting boots lists. Indeed these boots have won a multitude of awards including but not limited to: Gray’s Sporting Journal’s “Best of 2016” , Field & Stream’s “Best of the Best” and OutdoorLife’s “Editor’s Choice”. But are these shoes really as good as people make them out to be? Or are these just another pair of decent hunting boots at best? Well, we are about to find out.
Upper Section: Nubuck leather
Lining: GORE-TEX (waterproof)
Outsole: VIBRAM Masai
Midsole: PU & SPS Cushion
Footbed: Balance Comfort
Stabilizer: 5 mm nylon
Nubuck leather is basically top-grain cattle leather that has been buffed or sanded on the grain side or outside which produces a surface similar to velvet. The benefits of it are the fact that it is resistant to wear which is important to have in a hunting boot. The word derives from new + buck (skin) according to wikipedia.
GORE-TEX is a breathable waterproof fabric which allows water vapor to pass through but still managing to repel liquid water. This is important as it allows moisture and sweat to come out and ventilate your foot whilst not getting it wet if you step into puddles or rivers.
VIBRAM Masai is a rubber outsole that is manufactured by the Vibram company. Yes, the people who made the shoe with separate toes. If you don’t know what separate toe shoes are, you can see them in all their glory right here. Regardless of your opinion on the toed shoes, nobody can deny the excellence that they bring with outsoles.
Waterproofness – The leather’s durability, in concert with the GORE-TEX liner, allows the foot to remain dry the whole time while wearing these boots which is a big plus in my eyes. In fact, the waterproof abilities are so dependable that I did not find a need to apply any sort of aftermarket water repellent spray. This is something that I wish I could say for many other hunting boots that I have owned in the past.
Climate Control – Being quite honest, I was very impressed when my I didn’t experience breathability and other overheating issues like I did with some of the other GORE-TEX shoes. My guess is that Lowa have finally nailed the design of the GORE-TEX. Whatever is the case, it works and works well which is what matters to me at the end of the day.
Rigidity – You might wonder what does rigidity add to a hunting boot as it might make it harder to become accustomed to your foot as you break it in. And you would be partially right, as this boot takes a little bit of time to break in, like other hunting boots. But unless you’re exclusively traveling on relatively flat trails, rigidity plays an important role in traversing off-trail terrain. This becomes a bigger problem when you have heavier loads to carry with you. When you have a rigid shoe, climbing on steep terrain becomes pretty similar to using planks to boost yourself, which will take a lot of the stress off your foot. While the difference might be slight at first after hours and hours of walking with a heavy backpack you will eventually recognize the importance of a rigid sole.
Lacing – The Tibet GTX Hi feature a very useful lacing system that is commonly overlooked by other hunting boot manufacturers. A more in depth look at the lacing system is shown in the video below.
The Insole – If I were to choose 1 feature that the Tibet doesn’t do well it would easily be its insole. While the built-in insole is decent, it just doesn’t compare to some of the great aftermarket specialized insoles available as of now. As I said, this is just personal preference, but I like to have as much comfort as possible which is why I always recommend good aftermarket insoles. If you’re not going to be on your feet for long periods of times or are not carrying a bag that is really heavy, or maybe if you just don’t care if your feet get a little sore, then you won’t need to worry about replacing the insole and are good to go.
Weight (each boot): 2.2 lb
Overall, this pair of boots definitely has a decent amount of impressive features and is tough to match by other competitors within its target market. Which is why, as of now, I stamp it with Top Hunter’s Choice award, for being outstanding in nearly all aspects. And if you replace the insole then you’ll have an outstanding pair hunting in every aspect. You can purchase the boots here.