"Take care of your feet." How many times have you heard experienced hunters tell you that? I must say it ten times a year to new hunters looking to upgrade their gear. "Get quality boots first!" I have said it once, and I'll say it again, if you take care of your feet your hunt will be so much better. Recently, in my search for a new lightweight boot for hunting in SoCal, Rocky Brands reached out and asked me if I had heard of their Broadhead Boot. I had not and after discussing the benefits of the boot they sent me a pair to field test and review.
I am going to start this review with this - I have two different size feet, as many people do. My issue is that my left foot is a 10.5 and my right is a size 10. Buying footwear is a challenge for me! When my size 10.5 boots arrived, I was concerned about the right foot and rightly so. Sure enough, the left fit perfectly and the right was loose. The good thing is that I was able to tighten up the right boot enough to reduce any extra play inside the boot. Many boots I have tried are so rigid that they don't allow for that. The Broadhead boot not only allows for it, but you can cinch them up too tight if you aren't careful. The first time wearing them that is precisely what I did. I had to stop and loosen them a bit because they hugged my leg and foot so well.
The boots are insulated with 400g insulation. Many will frown on that for hunting in the heat, but we also get colder temps later in the season. 400 g insulation is a good balance. It is listed that they are waterproof, but I did not test out the waterproofing features due to the drought and lack of standing water.
Some information about the Broadhead Boots from the Rocky website:
- EVA footbed
- Guaranteed Rocky® Waterproof construction
- 400 Grams of 3M™ Thinsulate™ Insulation
- Rubber EVA Outsole
- Cement construction
- Ripstop upper
- Moisture management lining
- 8 Inches in height
- Each boot weighs 22.75 oz
The first thing I noticed is that these boots are incredibly lightweight. They look heavy, but that is misleading. I truly love how light they are. I have taken them hiking with 65# on my back over miles of dirt and when setting up trail cameras in the high desert of SoCal. I never even thought about them! They truly feel like a great pair of sneakers on the trail. I took them out on our recent scouting trip where we hiked 2,000' vertically and the boots made a difference. Keep in mind that if you hunt in snake infest areas, these are not snake-proof.I wore snake gaiters on each trip, over the top of the boots, and everything was very comfortable.
The tread is unique and holds up well in dirt, rock, and sand. I did everything I could to get the boots to slip when hiking on rocks. I even hit up some jagged rock to see if it would go through the tread or the fabric. They not only held up well, there wasn't any damage to the boots at all (SEE FOLLOW UP BELOW). I played soccer in them with my daughter and they felt like sneakers. they gripped the grass well. I hiked on dirt, sand, rocks, wet leaves, and the Broadhead Boot owned every one of them. After the hikes over rocky terrain and vertical climbs, I checked the tread and it held up well!
Here was one of the best parts of the field test. I always tell people not to wear cotton socks when they hike as they absorb moisture and you get more blisters, but who listens to me all the time, right? I know many of you wear cotton, so I decided to wear my old, cotton socks on a recent scouting trip. The weatherman said it was going to reach 95 degrees by 10:00 am and I was wearing cotton. I hit the trail at 5:45 am and hiked four miles in 75-80 degree weather. My feet got warm, but that was it. There were zero hot spots, no blisters at all, and my feet didn't slip around inside the boot. In fact, the socks stayed put. Sometime they can crinkle down inside your boots when hiking. Not with the Broadhead boots from Rocky. I was impressed. I continued to wear cotton socks throughout the entire field test. The socks again soaked with sweat, but not once did I get a blister or even one hot spot. The interior of the boot is well designed and hugs the contour of your foot. My feet thank you Rocky!
Normally, on our hikes out of the canyons we hunt, we complain and whine about how hot it is and how our feet hurt. We actually cracked some jokes and talked about how well my boots were holding up. My feet did not hurt at all. In fact, it felt like I was wearing sneakers. There was no ankle rubbing and no aching in my feet. My feet were loving the boots.
|This is with the boots completely laced up. Plenty of extra lace to go around.|
The only thing that really bothered me about the boots was extremely minor and it was the laces. They are sooooooo long! They don't need to stretch to the moon and back. I think if Rocky reduced the laces by at least 20" they would be much better and not catch on things. I had to wind them around the top of the boot, tie extra knots and there was still plenty of room.
FOLLOW UP: My Rocky Broadhead boots are definitely waterproof, but I did notice that they are starting to peel at the edges of where the rubber meets the fabric. Not sure how long that will last. That's not looking too promising as I have been wearing them in the SoCal heat and they seem to be coming unglued. I'll be keeping an eye on that.
EDIT: The Rocky Broadhead boots retail for $164.99. Initially, I thought this was a great price, but in my opinion, if the boots are peeling and I've only had them a couple months, something isn't right. Your boots should be an investment in foot care and comfort, but also quality. While these are super comfortable and very lightweight, they are showing wear from the field testing I am continuing to do. I am not so sure that $164.99 is such a steal. I am going to continue to wear them throughout the hunting season in California (which goes until Dec. 31). If I have anything more to add, you'll see it here!
Great news! Rocky Boots is offering you, the readers of the SoCal Bowhunter blog, a great discount! The code below is good for 20% off a purchase at Rockyboots.com.
Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think and share if there is something else you want to know about the Broadhead Boots!