Many years ago when I had just started into hunting with my
father and grandfather the preparation for the annual Pennsylvania deer season
was as big of a deal as the actual hunting itself. I remember the prep for one
season in particular when my dad had come home from work one day and told me
about the ultimate hunting boot that he had heard about. He was determined to
get a pair and promised me the same!
The brand of the boot was Wolverine
however I can’t remember the exact model. We traveled to the local mall that
weekend and I got my first pair of “real” hunting boots. In those days a pair
of shoes or boots were lucky if they lasted more than a couple of months for me.
Not only did the Wolverines last and last but they also fit me like a glove.
I’ve always been impressed by those boots and have owned many pair of
One thing that I learned while doing this review was that I
didn’t know very much about boots. Still don’t – but I at least know enough to
be dangerous now! A boot that fits you well and has quality construction can
make your hunt and the reverse can quickly become the case if your boots do not
fit or are cheaply made. The Wolverine Field Trekker is either one or the other
– let’s see which…
The Field Trekker is an 8” high boot (measured from the top
of the sole) designed for an aggressive hunting style and solid ankle support.
The term boot construction refers to the method in which the sole is coupled
with the “upper”. The “upper” is the material part of the boot above the sole
that surrounds your foot, ankle and a portion of your leg. The Field Trekker
employs the Comfort Stitch process. This process is a Wolverine variant of the
traditional stitch-down (Norwegian Welt) construction method considered by many
as the ultimate boot making process. Basically the outer layer of the upper is
turned out and stitched directly to the edge of the sole with super strong
thread. Traditional stitch-down construction is known for its amazing
ruggedness and Wolverine’s process adds comfort and flexibility to this time
A combination of full-grain/top-grain leather and 1000
Denier Cordura Nylon makes up the Field Trekker upper. Leather is generally
split into two halves before tanning because it is so thick and the outer layer
(top layer, top-grain, full-grain) is generally considered to be the stronger,
more durable of the two. 1000 Denier Cordura is a 100% nylon material that has
its origins with the Dupont Rayon Company, which invented Rayon Cordura in the
late 20s or early 30s. Rayon Cordura continued into the 50s when it was
outplaced by Dupont’s nylon, which proved to be a superior material. Some years
later Dupont transferred the Cordura name to their nylon product and for years
it went through various improvements until in the 80s when it started to be
used in sporting good accessories such as boots. Today Cordura® is a registered trademark for durable fabrics (Invista
Corporation) and is used extensively for boot construction. Cordura is said to
be 2 times more durable than standard nylon and 3 times more durable than
polyester. It resists tears, scuffs and abrasions and is lightweight and
breathable. The 1000 Denier part of the Cordura name refers to the toughness of
the fabric. By definition denier is a unit of fitness for fabrics such as
rayon, nylon and silk based on a standard mass per length of 1 gram per 9,000
meters of yarn. The higher the Denier rating the heavier/thicker the fabric and
resulting strength/toughness. I have seen Denier ratings for fabrics that range
from 20 to 1260 but there may be an even wider range.
Another feature, one of the most important to me, is
Gore-Tex built in waterproof membrane. Gore-Tex is an absolute impenetrable
barrier to water and even wind while at the same time remaining breathable.
Gore-Tex is so confident in their product that it comes with their “Guaranteed
to Keep You Dry” promise. Gore-Tex fabric is guaranteed for the life of the
garment/footwear it is used in. It is truly an amazing fabric! Adding to the
waterproof qualities of this boot is Wolverine’s waterproof leathers, sealed
seams and gusseted tongue. A gusseted tongue is one, which is sewed up the
Thinsulate Ultra Insulation is the relatively thicker and
loftier brother of the original Thinsulate insulation. It provides added warmth
while remaining flexible and comfortable. While it is thicker it is still not
too thick to allow freedom of movement. The Ultra is very soft and compresses
well. Wolverine uses 600 grams of the beefier Thinsulate Ultra insulation.
A boots outsole is the bottom surface of the boot that
actually interfaces with the surface being walked on. Outsoles come in a
variety of materials and tread patterns. Wolverine uses a slip resistant rubber
outsole with multi-directional lugs of different sizes and shapes. There are
also two harder lug sections on the heel and toe that appear to be harder and
are green in color. The outsole also curves up in front of the toe and behind
the heel to provide longer wear.
The shank used is a full-length nylon construction type
designed for flexibility and load bearing characteristics. The shank runs from
toe to heel and provides support to the boot. Coupled with this shank is
Wolverine’s Compression Molded EVA Midsole with Fabric Wrap. A midsole is
sandwiched between the inner and outer soles and varies in thickness depending
on the amount of flexibility needed. EVA stands for Ethylene Vinyl Acetate,
which is basically a light and durable open-celled foam material that provides
a little cushion and bounce. Trekker employs their Comfort-Flex removable full
cushion foam insole for comfort. An insole is the part of the boot that the
bottom of your foot comes into contact with.
Another comfort critical area in any boot is the lining.
Wolverine makes use of Dupont’s Cambrelle material for thelining. Cambrelle is an extremely wear
resistant needle punch bi-component fiber material designed for comfort and
absorbency. Cambrelle linings are said to outlast the life of any footwear and
in testing survived more than 120,000 “rubs” on the industry standard
The lacing hardware consists of standard eyelets/metal
grommets on the bottom four pair and hard plastic “outside the boot” fixtures
on the upper four pair. Both are secured with double stitching to the
reinforced leather lace platform. Laces are heavy-duty round braided nylon.
The Field Trekker weighs in at approximately 3 lbs per pair
and are available in light and dark leather versions and three Cordura colors
including solid brown and two camo patterns (Realtree Hardwoods HD Green mini
print and Mossy Oak New Print). Men’s sizes range from 7 to 14 with half sizes
up to size 12. Medium and extra wide widths are also available.
The boots were taken from the box and evaluated for apparent
quality and craftsmanship. There were a few stitches here and there with untidy
ends and what I am guessing to be the Gore-Tex membrane was sticking out above
the stitching at the top of the tongue web. Other than those minor blemishes
the remainder of the boot looked in order.
With no idea of how to test boots other than just wearing
them I immediately started to use them for hunting and general hiking. The
boots arrived early last fall and have seen an entire hunting season, many
hikes to the top of mountains, trips across shallow streams and long walks in
the snow and ice. They have been worn in relatively mild weather and also
during Pennsylvania’s December deep freeze when temps dipped to 11 degrees
below zero. I found the boots to be comfortable from around 15 degrees to
almost 60 while sitting still and from the coldest temps to approximately 40
degrees for hiking. While the Cordura has faded some and has become somewhat
“fuzzy”, for lack of a better term, it is still solid and appears to have lost
none of its strength or continuity. For all that I have put these boots through
I am surprised at how well the soles have held up. They are not cut or
significantly worn at all.
In general the Field Trekkers are comfortable and fit my
feet well. No slipping, noticeable hotspots or blisters to speak of. The lacing
system isn’t the fastest and I’m not sure how durable the plastic lacing
fixtures will last at the top but they work well, holding the laces securely
until they are tied. I have no reason to believe that the plastic lacing
fixtures will fail, as they seem perfect to this point.
Wolverine’s are put together well, utilize top end materials
and are loaded with features. They have proven to be surprisingly durable thus
far and show no signs of stitching or material problems. I would certainly give
them a hard look if their specs match your needs!
Design 4.5 of 5
Wolverine has used top-notch materials, a time tested boot
construction method and hunter friendly features to put the Field Trekker
together. The use of Gore-Tex, Thinsulate and Cambrelle materials is certainly
a plus! The test boots broke in quickly and seemed sufficiently flexible for
the terrain in which they were used. If I were to suggest one thing it would be
to take the finish work up a notch - the untidy thread ends and the exposed
Gore-Tex barrier were the only drawbacks I found. Only time will tell if the
boots will have any serious problems in these areas. Comfort 4.5 of 5
The Field Trekker is super
comfortable thanks to the Compression Molded EVA midsole, Comfort-Flex
removable full cushion foam insole and the overall sturdy construction.
Breaking in took little time and I experienced no blisters or hotspots even
with all of the mountain hiking.
For more go to www.Wolverine.com