This is part two of our early and late season boot review by Hunting Consultant Garth Jenson. View part one to see how we rated top late season boots.
For my early season scouting and archery trips I really prefer a lightweight, breathable boot that won’t melt my feet in the middle of the hot summer days. I still like leather boots for the protection from sticks, rocks, and the occasional rattler, but I will compromise a little bit during the early season on that aspect. I still like to have at least a 1/2 or 3/4 shank boot for stability on steep slopes to protect against foot fatigue. I prefer a waterproof boot, even during the summer months, for those all too often thunder busters.
These will hold up a little better than some of the other early season boots as they are all leather and won’t get torn up by rocks and debris if hunting in rougher country. These have Lowa’s patented Monowrap system that is pretty cool; it allows for good foot support without adding a lot of weight to the boot. However these boots still won’t take the place of a stiffer trekking style boot if you are on steep slopes, but that is not what they were designed for.
These boots are on the fringe of being a little overkill for my early season scouting. They have the most support of all my early season boots. If I know I’m going to be in steeper, rougher conditions, I will take these. These boots are heavier and take the longest to break in out of the four early season boots I’ve listed. The great thing is I could also use these during my late season hunts and be fine, so these could qualify as an all season boot, which is good if you like the one-stop shop approach.
These are on the lighter duty side of an early season hunting boot. These work excellently for hot weather in mild to semi-steep terrain. I like these boots for scouting when I’m not worried about packing heavy loads out of the backcountry. If you want a comfortable lightweight boot to run the trails during summer scouting trips, I would highly recommend these boots.
I have really been impressed with these boots so far. They fit snug to your foot using their anatomic footbed system that keeps them lightweight yet surprisingly sturdy. I wouldn’t recommend these boots for heavy loads, extremely steep terrain, or muddy/slick conditions. The sole is solid but is made more for trail hiking and semi-rough terrain. These boots break in very easily. All in all, this is one of my favorite summer scouting boots. Unfortunately, these boots will not be part of the 2015 line as the lighter version of these boots, called the Reston, will take its place. The Reston is basically the same boot, only it has a fabric mesh incorporated with the leather and the Zion is full leather. However, the Zion will still be sold through retailers while supplies last.