Monday, December 5, 2016

Gear Review: Rocky Athletic Mobility Waterproof 800G Insulated Outdoor Boot

As I planned out my gear bag to hunt whitetail in NY, I knew that my boots were in need of an upgrade. I have boots for rocky terrain, warm weather, wet weather, and so on, but I needed something that would not only be waterproof, but also be warm. In fact, they needed to be more than warm. I love my Rocky Broadhead boots for warm weather, so I contacted Rocky and asked what they would recommend for the area I was hunting and the crazy weather that comes with it. A new boot for Fall 2016 was at the top of their list, the Rocky Athletic Mobility Waterproof 800G Insulated Outdoor Boot and there were some available in my size ready to ship.

When the boots arrived, I quickly unboxed them and was surprised by the strong leather smell coming from the boots. I understand new boots have a certain smell, but these were almost overpowering. Temporarily setting that fact aside, I pulled some wool socks on and then the boots. They were oh so comfortable, but my test was going to be walking in them. I walked the yard, around my property, up and down stairs and was delighted that my ankles weren’t being rubbed raw. In fact, I felt like I could wear these daily if I wanted to. They are not lightweight boots, but they are certainly not heavy either. They are a mid-range and very manageable.

Back to the leather odor, and yes I said odor. Why? If I can smell that leather, then so can a deer. I needed to reduce the aroma as best I could. I first washed the boots in scent-free soap and let them air dry. That didn’t help too much. Once they dried, I didn’t have many options as I had to catch a flight out the next afternoon. I sprayed them with scent-killer and let that dry for an hour. Packed they got and I made my way 3000 miles to NY. I told my brother of the situation and how I wanted to get rid of that smell. He had an easy solution; earth scent dryer sheets and a plastic bag. The next morning most of the smell, to my weak smelling olfactory glands, was reduced considerably. I rubbed the outside of the boots a couple more times to keep the earth scent on there.

As I walked down to my tree stand, I noted the feel of the boots as I walked. The support in the heel and arch was quite good, but the heel was a bit stiff. I may end up using some slightly thicker inserts. I figured if I walked around enough that would break in a bit more. Through the field and lane way, I listened carefully for noises from the boots or any squeakiness. Ultra quiet was what came to mind. I was loving the boots! There was no bunching up at the ankles like many 800 gm+ Thinsulate boots do. Rocky did a great job with these. There was great traction across to plowed field and when climbing up the ladder to the stand. No slipping and the grip was true, but quiet.

The weather on day one was just peachy. 67 degrees with a light breeze made for an easy day on stand and for my feet. My feet were comfortable and warm. I was spoiled!

The next three days were the true test. The temps dropped 60 degrees with the wind chill and I felt it all over and down to my toes. I had bundled up well and decided on the first day of cold weather I was not going to put foot warmers in my boots. I wanted to see how well they would perform in the cold weather by themselves. They were great all over, except for my toes. Extremities are usually the first to feel the chill, so I knew that was a big factor, but I also noticed there really isn’t much Thinsulate up over the toes in these boots. I am not sure why, but it would be a big benefit to have a bit more insulation over the toes to keep them toasty. The next day I placed foot warmers in over my toes and that did help a great deal.

Then the snow hit and I am talking 10 inches of it overnight! Time to hike a bit and see what would happen. Not only were the boots waterproof, they kept my feet very warm all over (except for the toes after time) and they remained comfortable. The aggressive tread in the snow was exceptional! I climbed over logs, through brush and over slick areas of dirt to try and get the boots to slip. They held fast and true. I am super happy about that.

The boot material is very string and I found no punctures or tears. I kicked at things, caught them on the stand a few times, and they held up. Plus, they didn't dent when stepping on the toe. Some boots will dent and not conform back to their original shape. The Athletic Mobility boots held their shape and are very durable

One more key factor that I feel should be mentioned were the laces and how well they held. The laces were a great length and held fast throughout all my hunts. They never came undone. I do wish the boots had a lace-locking system to keep the boots from loosening up down at the ankle, but I’ll take what I can get. The lacing works.

The Rocky Athletic Mobility Waterproof 800G Insulated Outdoor Boots are priced right at $159.99 because right out of the box they are ready to wear. I would definitely recommend these boots to you guys and any other hunters out there. They have a great aggressive tread, kept my feet warm, and were very comfortable. With the weather in California being much warmer, I left my boots with my dad to continue too use during the 2016 season. He’s lucky we are the same size! I will follow up on this review with his thoughts on the boots as well.

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