I was in the market for a pair of boots that could be a good mid- to late-season boot for hunting elk during rifle season or hunting mule deer during the rut in December. I hunt in varied terrains from rolling hills to steep, rocky mountainsides so I needed a boot that could handle either while also being comfortable enough to wear all day.
I did not have the money for a high dollar mountaineering boots so brands like Scarpa and Asolo were out of the question. The boot I needed had to be an 8″ model as I needed better ankle support than what my 6″ Merrill Moab’s were giving me. After being given the opportunity to test out the Wolverine Edge Extreme, I decided it would be good to give them a try.
By the Numbers
Here are the specifics about these boots:
- Nubuck Leather and 900 Denier Polyester upper
- GORE-TEX® breathable waterproof membrane lining
- 600 grams 3M™ Thinsulate™ Ultra Insulation
- NXT® Odor Control
- Removable Open-Cell Polyurethane Cushioned footbed
- Vibram® Rubber outsole
While most of this technology is also featured in other boots, what is most appealing about these boots specifically is the 600g Thinsulate insulation (a good, balanced amount for varied hunting environments), the Vibram outsole, and the NXT odor control. There 3 things are all very important to me in a boot so the fact that they are all present in the same boot is a huge plus.
What is so special about a Vibram outsole, you ask? Vibrate soles are a rugged outsole that is capable of handling repeated abuse without breaking down too quickly. On top of that, they are also very comfortable to walk on. Historically, having a rugged outsole meant that the footbed was hard and uncomfortable. With a Vibram sole, this problem is alleviated and you can walk in comfort across very rugged terrains. I have had Vibrams in my last two pairs of hunting boots and I will never go back… ever. In fact, once the original cork soles wear out on my Red Wing Heritage boots, I’ll be having them replaced with Vibram soles as well. They are that good.
After extended testing in rocky terrain as well as snow, one thing became very clear: The ankle support on these boots is great for the price point. When you lace them up, your ankle feels secure and well-padded. However, when you begin traversing uneven terrain, it becomes clear just how locked in your ankle really is. I tried to roll my ankle in these boots and I could not do it. The support is great for anyone who finds himself hiking in steep country.
These boots fit a little big to size. I typically wear a 10.5 and the 10.5 in these boots was HUGE. However, keep this important note in mind when choosing a size for your boots:
You should try the boots on with the socks you will be wearing while hunting in said boots. It does you no favors to wear dress socks while trying on hunting boots. If you wear thick wool socks, bring a pair with you when you try your boots on so that you can get the right fit. Personally, I will be wearing a pair of First Lite Compression Socks and a pair First Lite Cold Weather Socks over the top of those when wearing these boots so that I can comfortably wear them in well-below freezing temps. This means that I need to step up about half a size over what I would otherwise wear in these boots to get the right fit. I went with a size 10 (a 9.5 would have fit perfect with normal socks) and the sock combo inside of these boots was perfect. I wore them in a foot of snow for about 2 hours and did not feel any cold on my feet whatsoever (my socks were also nice and dry as no moisture got through). The combo of the First Lite socks and the Thinsulate in the boots was perfect.
Overall, I am very impressed with these boots, especially at the price point one finds them. MSRP on these boots is $230 and I think that is a very reasonable price for what you are getting. There are a few things in particular that I like and dislike about these boots:
- Comfortable fit – These boots gave me zero complaints about how they felt once they were laced up. They fit snug and feel great on my feet.
- Warm – The Thinsulate is a good supplemental warming solution that makes up for where your socks may come up short.
- Great Ankle Support – As mentioned above, these boots provide great ankle support in varied terrain.
- Lightweight – Considering all of the technical features these boots possess, they are very light.
- Camo Pattern – I have never known of an animal being spooked by lack of camo on boots. It makes the boots look cheaper and I wish they had left the camo off of these otherwise great looking boots.
- Tongue Thickness – The tongue is really thick up top to the point that it can interfere with lacing at the very top of the boot. It is a small inconvenience, but an inconvenience nonetheless.
- Too Stiff for Some Scenarios – While the stiffness is great for traversing inclines, it can also keep your feet from comfortably resting when you are sitting down. However, this is a trade-off with any mountain boot as support and full range of motion are at odds with one another. For their intended purpose, these boots have a good mix of support and range of motion.
I am very pleased with these boots and I think you would be too. I would have no hesitation about wearing these for days in mild or even cold temps. These would be good choice for an all-around, one size fits all boot. If you are looking for some new boots for 2016, check out the Edge Extreme at Wolverine.com.