If you need a good pair of backcountry hunting boots, maybe you should be looking at what hikers are wearing.
Very recently I found myself on an elk hunt out in Colorado. Never before have I experienced anything in the outdoors that was so natural, raw, uncut, and true to the spirit of hunting than that trip. As luck would have it, I took the trip with my buddy who's a career hunting guide.
He was the one taking pictures of me and my other friend, Chris, gasping for air. A lot of things can go wrong when you are seven miles back on public land.
One of my guide friend's first major pieces of advice while preparing for what was about to happen was to make sure we had good boots. If your boots don't work, he said, every single step you are going to take will be nothing but pure agony.
This is why the hiking boot concept was such a strong factor in boot selection. By his recommendation, the Asolo Fugitive were the way to go, even if they had no mentions of hunting in their product description.
He advised the Fugitive for several reasons. They are super lightweight, have a water-resistant suede leather upper, include a waterproof Gore-Tex lining, and have one of the coolest soles I've ever seen on a boot.
The lacing system allows the boot to give you all the ample ankle support you would need, and the toe box is big enough that walking up or down a mountain doesn't jam your toes. In short, these boots are some of the best you can find if you plan on doing some long distance hiking and walking. If that coincides with hunting, well, so be it.
Before this, I only ever wore those branded as hunting boots. Most hunting boots are waterproof, but they have soft soles and lots of insulation. That's great and all, but not if you are walking on rocks. Hunting boots are often heavy as well, with the assumption that a generalized, across-the-board assumption that all hunters need something that can take a beating. All of those things together can make or break a trip.
After researching then wearing them, I'm convinced the Asolo Fugutive will outperform what you might expect from most hunting boots, as long as you use them in the intended situations.
Asolo boots are well known in the hiking and backpacking industries, but they aren't common in the hunting world. Since Western hunting typically means you will be climbing up and down rocks for miles upon miles. If your boots aren't functionally light, wearing out too fast is a great concern.
Sure, a hunt is what you make it. However, you can make it whole lot more with a pair of great boots.
The Fugitive really shines in the shock absorption department. I've already mentioned the rocks several times, but the hard rubber soles allowed me to traverse sharp, jagged terrain and not feel anything. Most hunting boots can't offer this kind of comfort.
The high tenacity nylon of the boots really makes a big difference. You can feel the boot stretch to mold to your foot as you take each step. With the polyurethane midsole, they break in quickly and adjust on the fly. Great boots do this on their own through trial and error, but the Asolo Fugitive does this by design.
To top it off, the water-resistant suede puts up with any amount of liquid abuse you can dish out. Be honest, how many of you have blood-stained hunting boots? That's not as much of a worry with these.
Another big factor that made the Asolo Fugitive a great choice is how they handle pack weight. If you're successful while elk hunting, you are going to carry a lot of weight. Boots that aren't broken in and molded to your feet are almost certainly going to cause blisters, probably in a big way.
Most backpacking boots have layer upon layer of support in between the lasting board and the actual sole of the boot. This is done to allow for that extra weight to push down on the sole during a hike. On our way out to our camp, we all carried about 70 pounds of gear. When we got our elk, we all carried about 120 pounds on the way back, followed by another trip back and get our packs again. If a boot isn't rated for that kind of punishment, accomplishing it would be a nightmare.
Another thing I noticed about the Fugitive is how they allowed my feet to breathe. Carrying all that weight both ways in wool socks can make your feet get pretty soggy by the end of the day. Thanks to ventilation that's actually engineered into these boots, they were dry and ready to go every morning I slipped them on.
Overall, I couldn't have been happier with the Asolo Fugitive. This pair of lightweight hiking boots could, and maybe should, be marketed to mountain hunters as ideal in many ways. Had I gone with what I was familiar with and opted for a pair of branded hunting boots, odds are this trip wouldn't have been half as successful. I give you a guarantee I couldn't have traveled as far I did in boots less equipped to handle the punishment.
If you find yourself in the same situation, scheduling a hunting trip down the road, you should make sure you give the Asolo Fugitives a good hard look.