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Evaluations : Jon E. Silks
Last Updated: Feb 22nd, 2007 - 18:37:03

Field Eval: Wolverine Field Trekker
By Jon E. Silks
Mar 20, 2006, 06:00

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To Field Evaluations by Jon Silks

 

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 Wolverines since.

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…

Basics

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 tested method.

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 sides.  

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 the  lining. 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 Martindale tester.

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.

Testing

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
 
 
 
 

 

 

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