Most hunters will tell you that aside from the firearm or bow in their hand, the most valuable piece of hunting equipment is probably the boots on their feet. If a boot’s waterproofing doesn’t keep your feet dry, or the boots simply break down while in the field, a hunt can quickly go south.
Now, I’ve been in the market for new hunting boots since I shredded my last set in the Rocky Mountains while archery elk hunting in the fall of ‘18. Granted, those boots were more than a decade old and had seen repair work by a cobbler or two during that time. But they were lightweight, durable and kept my feet dry, and I wanted something similar in my next set. So, I turned to the Irish Setter VAPRETREK 8-inch waterproof boot in Mossy Oak Break-Up Country.
I totally get that everyone’s feet are different, so the most important thing to check first when buying new boots is the fit. For me, these boots were comfortable straight out of the box, testing the fit wearing a pair of Smartwool medium-weight hunting socks and sticking with the medium (D) width boot. They do also come in an extra wide (EE) boot, if that is a feature you need.
After a desirable fit, I also want boots to match my style of hunting. Every other year, I hit the West for a backcountry hunt, but I also wear my hunting boots while scouting and hunting for white-tailed deer, as well as upland game and the occasional dove hunt. I might even sport my boots for a weekend backpacking trip.
According to Irish Setter’s website, the VAPRTREKs are loaded with trade-marked technology (click here for a full list) designed to fit all my requirements.
“Perfect for hunting, hiking or weekends in the field, these boots are even lighter than before and feature new technologies that enable better traction on rough terrain, greater overall durability and outstanding all-day comfort.”
Before heading straight to the field, I tried to break in the boots by wearing them to work, hiking the neighborhood with a loaded pack, sporting them to church (don’t judge me) or while running. During that week span, I never felt any points of discomfort, and I felt no shifts with the insoles or bunching up of my socks.
Touted as waterproof, I tested the VAPRTREKS by standing in one of the creeks on the back property at NWTF headquarters. I kicked, splashed and walked in ankle-deep water for quite some time with my feet staying dry. Still, I dried the boots off and gave them a NIKWAX cleaning and waterproofing treatment when I got home, just for extra protection.
I know a week is not enough time to determine if the boot will withstand the rigors of hunting, but I do like the rip-stop fabric and the beefed-up protection on the parts of the boot that will tend to wear most quickly.
Overall, I feel these boots will more than fit the bill for my needs, and I’ll surely be wearing them the remainder of the this hunting season and into early scouting for the upcoming spring turkey season.