By Mark Fike
As a former Marine, I understand the value of good boots. When you hunt as much as I do, you realize that your gear is incredibly important if you want to be successful in the field.
For me, that includes my clothing and boots.
I hate to be cold and I don’t really enjoy being wet. I also hate spending money on something that does not hold up. Some would call me frugal, but I tend to think of it as being smart.
Approximately 7-8 years ago, I was in dire need of some waterproof boots that were camouflaged and warm. I looked around everywhere and friends suggested the big-name brands that they used.
Along the way I stumbled across the company, BOGS Footwear, which I had not heard of before. The BOGS brand was new to me but had a boot that looked like it might work out.
After talking to a rep with the company, I arranged to get a pair for the whole family. I was taking a chance on a company I knew nothing about.
I knew I was hard on boots—often running through briars, swamps full of beaver stumps, and lots of mud, but I also knew kids are really rough on boots too. Finally, I knew my wife was a connoisseur of create comfort. Between the four of us, I knew I would find out if these BOGS boots could live up to their claims.
Those original BLAZE boots lasted all of us a long time.
We are all cold-blooded when it comes to our feet, and although we did get cold toes at times, we readily admit the BLAZE boots did a great job and lived up to the advertisements—and then some.
They were lightweight, easy to shuck on and off, and had plenty of traction. Not to mention, they were pretty warm.
My pair lasted 5 years through some brutal use before they finally started leaking. To be honest, I still have them and have been SHOE GOO’ing them to use around the farm for sloppy chores.
Rewind to 2 years ago.
I called the company back and asked about the one weakness I found in the original pair (AFTER 5 years of use) and was told the boots had since been redesigned.
That piqued my interest. I obviously needed a new pair of boots, but my question was, “Is the design a cost saving measure for the company, or was it an improvement?”
I decided to find out.
The BLAZE II boots are everything the first pair of boots were, but with the one chink in the armor I had found now fixed.
The boot is one piece without the old neoprene flex section on the top of the arch. That was comfortable when bending, but the new model is still very comfortable and less likely to begin leaking in that spot.
I have worn these boots fishing, wading, frogging, rabbit hunting, deer hunting (extensively), waterfowl hunting, in deep snow, while plowing snow, and on and on for nearly 2 years now. I am happy to report these boots are holding up great.
My feet, with proper socks, stay warm enough even on the most bitter days in a layout blind waiting on geese for hours. My feet are still dry despite rabbit hunting some tough briars too.
The specs include 2000-gram Thinsulate blaze orange lining, which the company claims can keep you warm well down into Arctic temps while still breathing and keeping foot sweat to a minimum.
The outer shell stretches (and it does feel comfortable) and the lugs clean out easily.
These boots fit snug enough not to go flying off if you step in the mud but are easy enough to get off. In short, COMFORTABLE all day long!
In closing, I have owned a lot of hunting boots. There are some good brands out there, but these fit the best for me, keep me warm as any other boot, are lightweight, and unlike other well-known brands, are not so heavy in the sole that I feel like I’m carrying concrete blocks on my feet.
I expect these boots to last another few years, at least. For my money and the terrible stuff, I put my boots through, I will continue getting BOGS BLAZE II as long as they keep making them as they are now.
For great boots you can count on, I certainly recommend them.