Flip-Flops Beat Bad Boots

Flip-Flops Beat Bad Boots

While packing for a weekend of scouting I threw a pair of high-budge boots in the truck. I used them on a coyote hunt in Illinois. I'm scouting for elk and I felt wearing them on flat stuff for four full days of hunting would be sufficient to make them usable. It wasn't.

Friday morning we started up a steep trail and then hiked overland to find some lookouts. Even though the labeling indicated the company designed the boots specifically for elk hunting, within .8 miles I was breaking into my first aid kit and applying moleskin to the blister on my left heel and adjusting the laces. At one mile we turned around. Walking further would have put me out of commission in short order.

I spent the rest of Friday and all day Saturday in my flip-flops. I've spent a lot of time in Africa so I know flip-flops can be great mountain shoes for the right guy, but I'm accustomed to boots.



Saturday we tried to make the most of me being bootless so we drove a road that turned out to be exceedingly treacherous. Not wise. We got in deeper than I expected faster than I expected. Had we stuck the truck, I would have hiked out in my flip-flops.

Sunday, I really wanted to explore a valley about six miles off the road. I patched up my left heal, donned my best wool socks, laced the boots very carefully and set out. By the two mile mark my right heal was blistering and I was out of moleskin. I trudged on barefoot another mile then gave up.

As I limped back to the truck, losing an entire day of scouting, I thought a great deal about where I went wrong. I easily could have completed Sunday's hike in sneakers. It was idiotic not to pack them. In my humble opinion having a pair of boots fail me in the mountains is emotionally just below finding my wife in bed with a Canadian. I also couldn't help but daydream about the gorgeous pair of Kenetrek Mountain Extremes sitting lonely on my boot shelf in my basement.


I know there are certain readers who lose their minds when I endorse products on this blog so I'm going to be very clear here. My boss buys my boots. I spend so much time in the mountains making him mountains of money I just send him the receipt. And if I can get him to pay for Kenetrek boots, I can clearly get him to buy me any boot in the world. I'm that good. The point is this; I can have any boot in the world, therefore, I'm objective.

I tape mountain hunts for Petersen's Hunting TV. My resume includies B.C. mountain goat, Bezoar ibex, Gredos ibex, not even naming the easy, boring ibex, Carpathian chamois, Pyrenean chamois, desert bighorn, mule deer and lots and lots of elk. There is only one boot that I stuff in my duffel with complete confidence and that's the Kenetrek. As a side note, when I first received my Kenetreks I cheated on the break in miles prior to a chamois hunt. Guess what? I taped that hunt comfy and blister free.

My Ghandiesque hike down the stony path allowed me to meditate on a few things. 1) If you're coming out West, go cheap on your rifle or optics before your boots. You may or may not shoot. You will hike. 2) Scouting is about learning the turf, but also about working out the kinks before the starting shot is fired on opening day. I'm grateful I figured this boot fail out in June rather than on October 20th. 3) If it's your first time out in the Mountain West or you're trying any new tricks, throw every viable piece of footwear you own in a duffle. You may be surprised what works. My flip-flops kept me in the game€¦at least a little. 4) This one eliminates the previous three. Just put in some O.T. and buy the Kenetreks.


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Is That a Grizzly Bear?

Is That a Grizzly Bear?

Kevin Steele and Jason Morton are above the Arctic Circle pursuing grizzly bears in Alaska and put a stalk on what they believe is a good one.

Hunting Coues Deer South of the Border

Hunting Coues Deer South of the Border

Former Delta Force Operator Kyle Lamb hikes the rugged desert mountains of northern Sonora in pursuit of the diminutive Coues species of whitetail.

.500 S&W vs. the King of the Beasts

.500 S&W vs. the King of the Beasts

Smith & Wesson's Tony Miele and host Kevin Steele track an African lion across the Kalahari for the ultimate handgun showdown with the King of the Beasts.

Top Ten Hunts

Top Ten Hunts

Here at Petersen's Hunting we have compiled the 10 best hunts caught on camera from the last 2 years of Petersen's Hunting TV. Enjoy!

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Chances are good that you're not getting the best out of your trail cams. Optics

3 Ways You're Using Trail Cameras Wrong

Tony J. Peterson

Chances are good that you're not getting the best out of your trail cams.

Are predators really to blame for declining deer numbers? The answer might surprise you. Conservation

Do Coyotes Really Affect the Whitetail Herd?

Jeff Johnston

Are predators really to blame for declining deer numbers? The answer might surprise you.

These are our favorite new products of the year for the archery crowd. Bowhunting

Best New Bowhunting Gear for 2020

Petersen's Hunting Editors - May 21, 2020

These are our favorite new products of the year for the archery crowd.

Learn how to grill the perfect medium-rare venison steak with these tips and tricks. Recipes

Venison Grilling Tips

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Learn how to grill the perfect medium-rare venison steak with these tips and tricks.

See More Trending Articles

More Clothing

 Sitka Gear unveils the EWS clothing system for whitetail hunters. (Lynn Burkhead photo)

Sitka Clothing

Head Afield With the Newest Apparel Offerings

Lynn Burkhead - January 19, 2018

Sitka Gear unveils the EWS clothing system for whitetail hunters. (Lynn Burkhead photo) Sitka

RED WING, MN  — Irish Setter is now offering the Black Bear Boot to its line of welted big game Clothing

Irish Setter Black Bear Hunting Boots

Ben OBrien - May 26, 2011

RED WING, MN  — Irish Setter is now offering the Black Bear Boot to its line of welted...

Looking for some new wallet-friendly camo? Check out these affordable options for 2018! Clothing

Affordable Hunting Apparel for 2018

Kali Parmley - September 13, 2018

Looking for some new wallet-friendly camo? Check out these affordable options for 2018!

OSG's Michael Bane sits down with Sitka Gear's Chris Derrick to look at a couple products from the Equinox line, designed to provide some relief from the warmer months. Clothing

Sitka Gear Shows Off ESW Series for Early Season Whitetail Hunting

Lynn Burkhead - January 31, 2018

OSG's Michael Bane sits down with Sitka Gear's Chris Derrick to look at a couple products from...

See More Clothing

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Hunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now