One of the most important things to take care of on any hunt is your feet. Regardless if your day hunting for antelope or packing in several miles into the backcountry for elk, the fact remains that once you’re feet are ruined, so is your hunt.
Probably one of the biggest misconceptions that hunters develop nowadays is that boots are boots. Contrary to popular belief, all boots are not created equal and there are criteria that should be met when you purchase a new pair. Whether you’re trying to stick within a budget or you don’t think you need "a several hundred dollar pair of boots”, I highly suggest you rethink your reasoning for not looking at a pair of high-quality boots.
Last fall, I was given the opportunity to test out a pair of Crispi Summit GTXs. Right now you’re probably saying to yourself, "Crispi? What kind of boots are those?” Crispi is an Italian boot company and relative newcomer to the US market. However, don’t let that fool you. They’ve been building high-end boots for over 35 years.
I needed a pair of lightweight boots that would be best suited for early season hunts. About a month before my antelope hunt, the Summit GTXs showed up in my office. A month isn’t a lot of time to break in a new pair of boots before a hunt, but I was bound and determined to use them. So, I wore them everyday to work and even cruised around in them at home while doing yard work.
One of the first things that I noticed with these boots was the weight. I wanted light and I definitely got what I asked for. These boots weigh in at an incredible 1.4 lbs. each! Before putting them on, I was a little skeptical that a boot this light could support my size 13 feet. Again, I was shocked and the amount of support around the foot was more than ample. Knowing all of my "criteria” had been met, I was off to antelope camp with a tag in my pocket.
After putting a few miles in the sagebrush flats, I noticed that I wasn’t feeling any foot fatigue. Foot fatigue develops when your foot is being overworked and it usually stems from an improper fit or the lack of structural support your foot demands. I’ve seen guys grab boots off the shelf and try to fold them in half and explain, "How comfortable they must be.” In all actuality, you want a boot that does the complete opposite and hardly moves when you attempt to fold it.
The Summit GTX falls into this class, as it has a definite backbone when you try to "flex” it. You want a boot like this because it will take a lot of the work out of the equation for you. The boot will absorb and spread out the support needed when you’re walking, making you use less energy via your feet. Also, this boot’s anti-torsion system is noticeable when you wear them. While sidehilling up a steep bank of the river, I could feel the boot working, while my foot was not. From water and mud to sand and cactus, the Vibram® sole with its Supergrip mixture and shock absorbing midsole were given a workout.
Some of the features that stood out to me on this boot were the GORE-TEX® lining, water-repellent suede and high-resistance fabric. I ran these boots through the ringer on that antelope hunt; repeatedly crossing a small river in knee-deep mud, constantly going from wet to dry and back again. Another great add on to these boots is the rubber toecap, as I think they greatly improve the life of your boots.
At the end of the hunt, it was nice to see a completely dirtied pair of boots yet have my feet feel just fine. No blisters, no aches and pains…nothing. So when you’re in the market for a new pair of hunting boots, I’d suggest giving a second look at Crispi. While you don’t see ads for them on TV and all your buddies don’t have them, you may start a new trend in your hunting circle after they find out how much you like yours.