Kenetrek Slide Rock Hikers
By Scott Reekers
Kenetrek boots have a soft spot in my heart. When I first started to take high country mule deer hunting seriously the Mountain Extremes were a boot that I found fit well and did the job day in and day out. That was somewhere around 2010 and Kenetrek grew into the household name they are now over that time by adding more models and filling more needs. The latest addition is the Slide Rock Hiker, which I was lucky enough to get to test for the last three months putting them through the paces in a variety of settings. I was not disappointed! Through some August mountain hiking to rough, riverbottom, archery deer hunting, the Slide Rock Hikers earned my trust.
As a guy who has issues with both ankles I need a boot that can help me stay steady. This 7” model has plenty of ankle support and crossing the loose ground and steep hills was no issue at all. The support is strong with the all leather uppers, something that anyone who has used Kenetrek boots has come to know and expect. The uppers are not a single piece of leather but rather several, which allows for an easy break in period.
A piece of the mountain boot equation that doesn’t get enough attention in most articles is lacing systems. Where lace grommets are placed on a boot can make a world of difference between a hot spot blister or a comfortable hike. The Slide Rock Hikers lace system held my heels in place while not creating any pressure points on the crests of my foot bones. If you have ever used a boot that has a grommet without sufficient padding you know how painful it can be. The Slide Rock Hikers did not have this issue for me and I expect most users won’t experience it either.
The sole is stiff for what is considered a “hiking” boot. Users will be able to maintain stability across uneven terrain and even kick out foot holds on a steep mountain side. However, the sole isn’t too stiff to be considered comfortable for long treks on trails, places where very stiff soled boots tend to get uncomfortable after three to five miles of fast paced hiking.
The toe and heel guards break impacts against rocks well and have worn evenly over my time with them, these aren’t one season and done boots for most users. Kenetrek boots have longevity and with proper leather care I expect the uppers to provide support for years and the Lightweight Grapon outsoles to wear evenly and consistently as well.
Speaking of years of use, the Windtex membrane that Kenetrek employs to keep moisture out of their boots has worked very well on wet hunts. My first round of changing out some trail cams required crossing bogs as well as a stream or two; real world testing with no leaking issues. But what about breathability? I used these boots regularly on some September archery hunts in warm weather and my feet remained dry and comfortable.
After using these boots I would have no problem recommending the Slide Rock Hikers for a variety of seasons and hunts. For instance a hunter in the South hunting whitetails and setting stands can use this boot year round and take it on a hunt out West for archery elk. On hunts in in places like eastern Wyoming the Slide Rock Hikers have done well keeping dirt and debris out thanks to their 7” height and when paired with gaiters they can even be pushed into some of the later October hunts that might have snow. These boots shined in the high country during the early season in September. For those of you who prefer heavy socks over insulated boots during the late season, these will be a good option.
The Slide Rock Hikers from Kenetrek are an all around solid boot that have kept me comfortable in a variety of situations. For those of you building gear lists for next year or even heading out for one of the later hunts with a good pair of socks these boots will work well. Take a look at www.kenetrek.com or wherever Kenetrek boots are sold.