Boots are a big thing for most outdoors people—we generally attract mud, it seems, and without a good boot, the socks tend to get squishy in a hurry.
I’ve chugged along the last several years with a lightweight pair of Redhead Expedition Ultra’s, and they’re still my go-to boots for upland turkey hunting, dove hunting or easing along a pond edge casting for bass.
But there are times when more boot is needed; just as you are sometimes going to need a bigger boat when you go after a certain troublesome shark, sometimes you are going to need a bigger boot when you face serious knee-deep mud, water or wet weather.
The LaCrosse Alpha Evolution might be a good choice in that case.
Tall rubber boots with bonded insulation can be just the ticket for wet cold weather hunting and fishing this fall and winter. (Lacrosse)
Make no mistake, you won’t go boot-scootin’ in these full rubber 17” tall boots. These babies are big, well padded in the soles and well insulated, and if you had to run from a grizzly while wearing them, you’d be in deep doo-doo. Weight is 6.2 pounds per pair, per the company, which is a couple pounds more than boots with less testosterone.
But if you need some really, really warm, tall and really, really dry boots, these are the ticket. I envision trekking across a marshy tundra after a caribou or easing through a green timber duck marsh, maybe wading a high meadow stream for trout as likely duty—as well as more mundane tasks like mucking out the cattle barn.
Rubber boots have the advantage over leather or composite boots that are waterproofed with micro-fibers in that they are completely impermeable to water (and smells) for the life span of the rubber. The “breathable” fabrics do a great job when new, but most soon start to let tiny micro-drops of water or other undesirable liquids through as they work and age, and you start feeling damp and eventually just plain wet.
Rubber also has the advantage of being very easy to clean, since there’s no concern that high pressure spray will penetrate the seams—there are no seams, so you can blast mud and clay off as needed.
On the down side, rubber is not as tough as leather or composite fabric—a sharp stick or jagged rock can put a hole in the uppers if it hits at the wrong angle, while the other materials are more durable. It’s also not warm on its own—it transfers chill quickly.
The Evolution boots, however have a thick bonded-neoprene liner, which makes them sort of a dive suit on steroids in terms of insulation. The toe—where you get coldest usually--is insulated with 1600 grams of an aerogel they call “Primaloft” which the company says is the same stuff NASA uses to insulate space suits. I’ve not worn them in cold weather yet, but suffice it to say we’re not expecting any minus 450 degree days in North Alabama this winter.
The thick rubber exterior layer is seamlessly molded to the thick neoprene liner, and the footbed is inch-thick foam with arch support and adjustable gusset, allowing you to secure them to your feet if you expect to encounter challenging mud—just the sort of thing these boots are designed for.
They’d be ideal for low-country winter deer hunting, where you may have to wade through thigh-deep water to get to your stand, for hunting flooded grain fields for mallards, and for all sorts of winter stream and bank angling.
Serious outdoors and serious cold calls for boots that keep your feet warm as well as dry. LaCrosse's latest does both, but at a premium price. (LaCrosse)
The nice thing for deer hunting is that your feet will definitely stay dry and warm all the way to the blind. Wear a good sock liner and some heavy wool socks and you can likely sit there for hours without your feet and toes going numb. Some of the coldest days November through February produce the biggest deer in many areas. (The company rates these as good for temperatures from plus 30 to minus 70, to give you an idea of how much insulation they have in them—maybe just the thing for that Saskatchewan whitetail hunt?)
The boots are fitted with gussets so that you won’t get heel rub if you walk long distances in them, yet they can still be kicked off in an emergency such as falling out of a boat. A jersey knit liner should keep your feet dry and comfortable. (As with all hunting boots, you’ll want to use a boot dryer on them nightly during the season to get rid of sweat.)
These made-in-the-USA boots are pricey as field/hunting boots go, listing at $350, but if you want the top of the line and can afford it, a pair of these would be very useful for the coming winter across much of the nation.
Learn more at https://www.lacrossefootwear.com
— Frank Sargeant