Let’s be honest, boot shopping can be a frustrating and laborious experience. Unless you’re lucky enough to live near a retailer that is both hunting focused and fully committed to the boot fitting process, the average shopping experience is more akin to a choose your own adventure story than most of us would prefer.
Rolling the dice with one of the many online retailers or hopping from one big box outdoor store to another, can be time consuming and costly. Between researching specific brand and model characteristics, reading online reviews and then trying countless models either at home or in-store we all know how much time can be wasted making one of the most important decisions a backcountry hunter will ever be faced with.
And despite the plethora of “mountain boots” available on the market today, most brands either spend more time and energy on marketing hype than they do field applicable fitting information or offer a limited selection of models that send many hunters looking elsewhere. Until now.
Just a few weeks ago, Schnee’s announced a significant expansion in their boot model line-up and the introduction of their new boot classification system. This classification system represents one of the most exciting initiatives I’ve ever seen in the footwear industry. It’s a very important change in how they rate their boots and communicate with the discerning boot shopping public. In my opinion, they have raised the bar in terms of helping the prospective customer determine the best boot for any given hunting scenario, and with the new models now available, have proven their commitment to producing the highest performing hunting boots available today.
One of the most neglected sub-topics within the boot fitting realm is boot flex. How the sole, midsole and upper materials flex in relation to your body and the terrain you’ll find yourself in, is of paramount importance. Size and width are commonly discussed but, in my opinion, the flex characteristics of a boot should receive as much if not more attention, and Schnee’s has implemented an easy to understand flex rating system that includes this critical functional characteristic. In next month’s Roam article, we are going to dive into the weeds on how to determine the most appropriate flex rating for your unique needs.
For now, take some time to review the PDF linked below and familiarize yourself with the new classification system and boot models in preparation for next month’s in-depth article on boot flex. Of note, personally, are the new Timberline and Teton models. I’ve had the opportunity to test these two boots recently and do not exaggerate when I say that these are two of the most impressive hunting boots I’ve ever worn. They sit on opposite ends of the flex rating system and, as such, represent different tools for different hunting environments but for my needs these two models are standout additions and I can’t wait to test them further.
Is there a boot for every foot and every environment in the new Schnee’s line-up? It would be editorial suicide to suggest as much. That said, I do feel that this is the most exciting and comprehensive hunting focused boot lines I’ve seen in the industry to date.