For over 12 years I have roamed around the hills carrying out control on various different ungulates and when I’m not doing that, I am hunting something somewhere in New Zealand with my bow. In that time I have owned a lot of boots. All of which have been top of the line. To be fair, there’s not too many boots I haven’t used. Some of which have been great and some not so good.
So how do the new Alpha boots compare to the good and the bad of yesteryear? Well, the first thing I noticed was the ‘ready-to-hunt’ comfort. No wearing-in required. The fit was spot on, including width for us wide-footed Kiwis. So it was time to put the boots through hell.
The Alphas started their life in the Marlborough Sounds where they got a morning and evening dunk in the sea. This is extremely hard on lace hooks, stitching and glue. The Alphas didn’t show any rapid deterioration due to the salt bath.
Then there is the gradual chipping and abrasion caused by wading through scrub and fern. Believe it or not, but if you stride through enough thick stuff it most certainly tests leading edges and stitching. Once again, the Alphas handle it.
I also work in the Sounds over winter. This means the boots are almost always wet from Monday to Friday, they never really get a chance to dry out. This makes the leather and stitching soft and very susceptible to getting sliced or glue giving up. The Alphas took it all on with ease.
The next part of the Alphas life has been spent in the back country of South Marlborough. Here the terrain is mostly rock and scree. Also extremely hot and just straight-out harsh on boots.
The rock is lethal on tread as it rips chunks off the sole each day. Then there’s the scree and grit that works away at everything like grinding paste. But after all this, the Alphas keep on going. The heat dries the boots out so much the leather can split and your sweat wreaks havoc on your steel components. But the Alpha boots have soldiered on.
The things I have really enjoyed so far is the comfort. I spend hours in boots, so comfortable footwear is a must. The Alpha boots have had some huge days out for work and bow hunting and not once have I got a blister. I go into some pretty gnarly places that are potentially life threatening, so need to have confidence the boots are going to hang on. I just wouldn’t even bother with a boot that wasn’t going to handle and support me in these situations.
So all up it’s been 736.5 hours of boot hell and the Alpha boots are tracking nicely, still comfortable as ever. I most certainly rate them as my go-to boot. I have two other different pair of boots in the shed that don’t really get a look in these days now that the Alphas are on the scene.
I’ll keep this brief cause I know you’re busy. The Bravo boots were given to me for a thrashing as an everyday boot wearer. My job as a farmer and hunting guide the demand comfort, ankle support, good construction and toughness, the Bravo fitted the void with ease.
They were light but well made. Often with a lighter boot quality is compromised, these stood the test and held up with nothing but a few scratches after six months of use. I wore them hunting regularly and did some serious big walks. Several days Chamois hunting clocked in 24+ Km’s and my feet didn’t hurt which was a bonus.
The Soles were O.K., quiet enough for bow hunting and sufficient grip in the East Coast hill country but were found not to be the best boot for grip on real slippery greasy slime covered rocks, as I found in South Westland which for me was the only negative.
Moderately priced these boots would be a great farm boot/hunting boot and will certainly last longer than many boots currently available.
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