A reprint from my review originally posted over at Outdoor Hub
I’d like to thank Kim Emery from Firefly Publicity and Irish Setter Boots for sending me a pair of the VaprTrek boots to do a review on. These boots looked ideally suited to the deserts I frequently hunt, here in Arizona.
From Irish Setter, here are some details on these boots:
New VaprTrek boots are 40% lighter than traditional Irish Setter big game hunting boots without sacrificing support or stability. RPM Technology, a breakthrough composite material, significantly reduces the weight of the boot, providing extreme comfort without the extra weight.
The RPM sole features a bi-directional lug pattern for increased traction and balance during heel strike and toe off. The wrap-around instep provides protection and aids in gripping tree stand rungs or ATV foot pegs. Armatec™ heel and toe protection guards against ground hazards. Underfoot comfort is enhanced with an anatomically-correct polyurethane and high-rebound foam footbed with a ScentBan™ odor inhibiting top cover. And a ScentBan lining delivers scent control through a process that kills odor-causing bacteria.
Irish Setter VaprTrek hunting boots incorporate UltraDry™ waterproofing so feet stay dry and boots stay breathable. A memory foam collar forms to fit the ankle for comfortable stability in the boot shaft. The Cushin™ Comfort Tongue offers long-lasting comfort in the shin area. A speed lacing system with one-tug tightening provides fast, snug lacing.
While waiting for hunting season to roll around, I tested these boots over the course of several hikes in the San Tan Mountain Regional Park, which is within a few miles of my house. Temps and weather varied from 107 and sunny, to about 100 and blustery with summer thunderstorms rolling around. This terrain is typical of the Sonoran desert, hard-packed and rocky, with lots of prickly things.
These boots are very comfortable, first off. The bottom of the boot on the inside is soft yet supportive. The sole is firm enough that stepping on sharp rocks didn’t feel uncomfortable, but they were thin enough that I always had a good feel for the terrain underfoot. The treads worked as advertised, providing good footing whether I was on smooth rock, gravel, or shards. The boots and stitching held up well. The soft sides seemed relatively impervious to accidental contact with cactii, a constant nuisance in Arizona. They were light, as adevertised, and I enjoyed wearing them.
I tend to roll my ankles a lot in rough terrain. These boots provided enough support that I never rolled my ankles, but they weren’t so stiff that I felt like I was wearing ski boots either. Again, I found them to be comfortable, rugged and supportive. Having no body of water to verify that they were waterproof, I came home from one hike, snuck into the bathroom with my boots on and filled up the tub. They are indeed waterproof as I spent several minutes with them fully submerged in the tub. Luckily my wife didn’t catch me. If I could find one “con” – these boots were oddly warm. Not so warm that I was dying, but warm enough that I went and double-checked the box to make sure that I had received the non-insulated boots. They weren’t insulated, but they were pretty “cozy” nonetheless. Of course, it was over 100 degrees out, every time I hiked.
All in all, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend these boots. They are sturdy, well-designed and can handle rough use. I didn’t baby them out in the desert, and there was no sign at all of wear, stitching breakdown, separation, etc. A great product from Irish Setter Boots.