I finally broke down and purchased some good winter boots. I normally just use my 400 gram hunting boots all winter and just add a layer of wool socks to get by. This year however my feet were telling me that wasn't going to be good enough. I don't know if it's my ripe old age of 37 or if I'm just becoming a sissy. Either way, I knew I was going to have to buy some boots that were actually built for the cold winters up here in Northern Minnesota.
I wanted a boot that was warm, 100% water proof, scent free, non-bulky and comfortable to hike in. I narrowed it down to the Irish Setter Rutmasters (1200 gram). I then checked if these boots were avialable locally since I'm super picky about the fit of the boot. I wasn't going to chance ordering a pair online. I wanted to know how these boots fit me, were they going to be to heavy, or way to bulky to climb into my deerstands with?
I went down to my local sporting goods store and grabbed the biggest pair they had, a size 11. I usually wear size 10 but I had heard with these boots you needed to go a size or two larger since they were made to fit so snuggly around the ankle area. And that was right on. These boots fit like a good pair of gloves, which I feel is great considering the larger size of the 1200 gram boots. It makes them feel more sporty and maneuverable. Another thing I noticed were how comfortable the insoles were, plenty of cushion with support in all the right spots.
After wearing these boots for the past two months I have to give them an A+. My feet went from freezing after only a couple hours in the stand to being the warmest part of my body during a multi hour sit in the stand. They are extremely comfortable and supportive for longer walks in the woods. I like the taller height of the boots, especially when drudging around in 14 inches of snow. The Rutmasters seem to be very durable. I've had them out in the thick brush, riding on the four wheeler, in the stand and even all twisted up in the wood pile without a singel rip or scrape. They have an aggressive tread pattern that I like for that extra bit of bite in the sloppy stuff as well as a cinch strap around the top for keeping it out of the boots.
Overall, I would recommend the Irish Setter Rutmasters to anyone looking for a great pair of well built boots. They come in multiple configurations for all weather types as well as a couple different camo patterns. I think I will be buying a non-insulated pair for my spring fishing trips!