Don’t bother racking your brain; unless we’re related, chances are you’ve never heard my name. I’ve had a few articles published, sure, but in the wide world of outdoor writing, I’m a nobody. Which is precisely why it floored me when Kenetrek called.
After drawing a once-in-a-lifetime rifle tag to hunt pronghorn antelope in Oklahoma’s panhandle, I sent Kenetrek an email asking if they’d be interested in sending me a pair of boots for the trip, never expecting that I might actually get a response. But respond they did. And in a big way, too. Kenetrek not only mailed me a pair of their Desert Guide Boots, they also sent two pairs of socks(Canyon Lightweight and Montana Midweight) and a pair of Hiking Gaiters.
I’ll be honest; wearing that pair of Kenetrek boots didn’t make me more successful on my antelope hunt. I could’ve shot the pronghorn I did wearing nothing but flip flops. I’d have been picking stickers out from between my toes but I could’ve done it. The feature I appreciated most on that particular hunt wasn’t the firm foot bed designed to navigate narrow ledges or the reinforced stitching in high wear areas; it was the toe guard. After duck walking the length of a couple hundred yards, my guide and I crawled on our hands and knees for another couple hundred. That’s when the CRP got thin. We covered the last hundred yards on our bellies, six inches at a time. Forearm, hip, toe. Forearm, hip, toe. By the time I got into position to shoot, every muscle in my body ached. Except for those in my toes. They didn’t cramp once.
My Kenetreks were put through their paces properly the following spring during Oklahoma’s turkey season. I’ve never had a pair of boots break in so quickly. They might’ve been a bit stiff the first couple of mornings, but they were never uncomfortable and by the end of the week they felt like they were custom fit. The Canyon Lightweight boot socks Kenetrek sent were perfect for the cool mornings and humid afternoons of a spring turkey season. The star of the spring, though, was the pair of Hiking Gaiters I didn’t ask for and never knew I needed. For years I did my turkey hunting in upland field pants to keep the morning dew and and the grass seeds out of my socks. But those gaiters have changed everything. I like to run and gun when I’m turkey hunting and dry socks keep me in the woods longer.
Listen, Kenetrek boots aren’t perfect. The swiveling grommets make me want to cuss when I’m in too big a hurry. They insist I slow down and take my time and pay attention to the task at hand. And the Desert Guide boots I have are heavier than I expected them to be. Four pounds doesn’t sound like much weight when you see it on a website spec page, but after a mile or two trudging through mud and muck, a guy feels every ounce on his feet.
But that’s quality for you. There aren’t any shortcuts when working with full grain leather. And grommets that don’t swivel are grommets that snap off. Things that last are solid and sure and these boots will continue to hunt long after I can’t. If I keep them clean and waxed, my as yet unborn grandson will one day slip them on and be just as tempted to cuss those grommets as I am.
Give Kenetrek Boots and Gear a look at kenetrek.com!