I’m not a big fan of rubber boots–I’d rather wear lighter and less bulky leather ones and spray them with Scent Killer—but a week ago I hunted Anticosti Island in northern Quebec, where the ground cover is more than 70% peat and bogs. If you don’t wear rubbers in that watery habitat, you just can’t go.
Each day I slogged a minimum of 8 miles through boot-sucking bogs, and splashed across omnipresent streams and beaver ponds. I was pleasantly surprised with the Instinct Whitetail Rubber Boots I wore. They were comfortable and easy to walk in. Not bulky and clumsy like other rubber boots I’ve worn in the past.
Favorite feature: The breathable, water-repellent and quiet fabric uppers, which look good in Outfitter camo. They are soft, pliable and relatively thin, and add greatly to the feel and comfort of these boots.
These are “ankle fit” to keep your feet from slipping up and down (and rubbing and causing abrasions) as you sink and then pull back up from the sucky muck. But they don’t bind your ankles like a vise, putting too much pressure on the top of your feet, like many ankle fit rubbers do. My feet didn’t move from the cushioned foot beds as I slogged and waded along. I wear a 10, and with 2 socks, the fit was just right.
Cabela’s says the rubber-and-sponge outsoles help to prevent foot fatigue. I don’t know how you qualify that, but I will say that my feet felt surprisingly fresh at the end of a long day of mud-walking. The medium-depth lug soles functioned well. I only pitched over and went down once, which was a miracle in that quagmire. Those of you who have slogged miles in the bogs, sinking a foot every other step and fighting to keep your balance as one boot pulls up (insert giant sucking sound here) while the muck grabs the other one and pulls it under know what I’m talking about.
Without question, the thing I like most about these boots is that my feet stayed remarkably dry. I’m not talking about from water on the outside, but they did not sweat much at all. Cabela’s claims on its website that the Instinct rubbers are “lined with temperature-regulating, moisture-wicking, odor-managing technology.” Well, that technology, works. I will add that I wore my favorite sweat-wicking liner socks beneath thicker hiking socks.
The fact that my feet stayed dry, comfortable and happy was even more remarkable when you consider that these boots have 800 grams of Prima Loft insulation. I got them originally to wear on long sits in blinds up in Saskatchewan in November, where the temperature is below zero most mornings. Up on Anticosti last week, it was 60-70 degrees, and I was walking constantly to boot. Good testimony to “temperature-regulating, moisture-wicking, odor-managing technology.” It works.
If you need a new pair of rubbers for your deer hunting, especially in the upcoming cold weather, give the Instinct boots ($160) a look. Read these customer reviews, which closely mirror mine. It’s a small sample size, but I second their 5-star rating.