By Charlie Benton
Some pieces of your gear set up matter more than others. Bring too thin a jacket? Layer up to beat the cold. Forget enough underwear for each day? Nothing wrong with getting extra mileage out of your dirty skivvies or just going commando for the rest of the trip. But, bring the wrong footwear and your entire experience will suffer the consequences. Most people don’t have a buddy on the trip with the same size foot and an extra set of proper boots.
While fond of the Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared,” I’m not someone who packs extensively for every imaginable scenario. I like to live out of one bag, preferably small and easy to carry, for an entire trip. As such, I place a premium on gear that functions well in a variety of environments and stands up to wear and tear. The Comfort Fit Hiker Boot from Meindl fits this bill.
This season I wore these boots on warm whitetail hunts in the brushy woods of the Southeastern US and on multiple chilly driven hunts in both rolling agricultural fields and thick spruce forests in Sweden. My feet never got too hot while walking through the humid woods nor too cold while sitting for hours in a stand through a mixture of sleet and rain. The 7-inch height was plenty of support for my ankles as I hopped stone walls and navigated wandering mountain trails. The pair weigh just over 3 pounds and are stupid comfortable thanks to the footbeds made of cork and topped with Poron inserts.
This boot has a classic look that won’t stand out among your surroundings while in the field but also isn’t some Fudd-tastic camo pattern so you can actually wear them around town and blend in there too. In fact, after we wrapped our driven hunt in the Swedish countryside and returned to the city, I opted to continue wearing my Meindl’s instead of switching back to my standard skate shoes – that’s how comfortable these boots are. The leather uppers also did wonders in keeping my feet warm in freezing temperatures and gusty winds off the Baltic Sea as we rambled in and out of bars performing quality control testing on the entire Swedish beer supply. These boots are legit.
Pros: Extremely comfortable, versatile, and well-made
Cons: None noted but, full disclosure: I’ve only had them for one season.