Foxtrot Hiking Boots from Hunters Element by Christie Pisani
Footwear are like tyres. We know it should be high quality, after all it’s our only connection with the earth while we walk. But it’s just so tempting to skimp on the good mud terrains and whack on a pair of retreads to get by. Works in most cases, and I personally like the feel of a soft thin sole when stalking deer in the lush greens of South East Queensland, and wetsuit booties are often the boot of choice. But away from the coastal rainforest greenery it doesn’t quite cut the mustard, and it only takes one encounter with a prickly cactus to smarten up on appropriate footwear for types of terrain. Ignoring my good advice to myself, I recently embarked on a five day trip to Cape York to hunt hogs in the humid tropical summer. Typical dress code for the Cape is shorts, singlets, and thongs, so although cool, my poor feet were a hard, cracked state of affairs by the time I get home.
Enter Hunters Element Foxtrot boots. Foxtrot? Really? I ask myself as I eagerly tear through the over-enthusiastic postage wrapping. I remove the Veil camo adorned boots, give them a sniff (mmm, new boots smell!) The boots are very comfy straight out of the box. I do a little bit of Foxtrotting across the lounge room floor and am surprised by their softness and quietness, and soon make sense of the name. Foxtrot. Light on my feet!
Two weeks and a few local walks later (no blisters, bunions, sore feet in sight) I am strapping them on to test their burr resistance in Bourke NSW, where thongs and wetsuit booties are a massive no-no due to the sheer ferocity of the flora. Everything either sticks, spikes or splinters.
The boots begin a little stiff at the Achilles, but that softens up very quickly, and there is a good balance between ankle support and mobility. After hours of walking, often in difficult terrain (sand, swamp and stubble) my legs do not feel the burden of a long walk in heavy footwear, and upon taking them off at the end of the day I do not even feel the need to beg, blackmail or barter for a calf massage! The soft and light soles allow me to get in quietly during a stalk, despite the crunchy undergrowth of the drought stricken country, but without the cursing of the dreaded encounters with devil thorns. Not that it is a necessity in this climate, but the toe cap would be ideal dew resistance in the wetter climates. As it turns out, an angry young boar tried to make a meal of my toes, but could not quite get through the rubber toe armour, and the hydrafuse lining kept my feet dry as I foxtrotted on the edge of a swamp trying to escape his chomping jaws!
By the end of the trip the Foxtrots no longer looked like new boots, with a splattering of pig blood, mud and a collection of burrs dread-locking the shoelaces (note to self, tuck them in next time!) But testament to their breath-ability, and my commitment and courage at sticking my nostrils anywhere near them, they still smell like new