Skip to main content

Field Tested: Kenetrek Hardscrabble Hiker

These boots were made for hunting.

Field Tested: Kenetrek Hardscrabble Hiker

$450 | Kenetrek Boots | 855-585-3040; kenetrek.com

It’s often said that the two most important pieces of backcountry bowhunting equipment are good glass and good boots. Without quality optics, your odds of locating game are greatly diminished. And without supportive, well-fitting boots, you’ll never be able to cover the distances required to earn a shot.

I’ve certainly been fortunate in both regards over the years, having used a bunch of awesome optics and worn some fantastic footwear. Still, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t covet a pair of Kenetrek Boots, given the company’s reputation for crafting products with tremendous comfort and legendary durability. Well, thanks to my new position here at Bowhunter, I was finally able to get my hands on some lightweight Hardscrabble Hikers, and I’m absolutely blown away by their performance.

If you’ve never worn Kenetreks, the first thing you’ll probably notice is how stiff the soles are. It’s definitely a different feel than your run-of-the-mill hunting boot, but Kenetrek’s Joe Jacks explained there is a good reason for that. “Because it is a stiff boot, as you walk on uneven terrain it’s going to support the entire length of your foot,” Jacks said.

That support comes courtesy of a full-length, nylon midsole that measures a stout 7 mm thick before tapering at the toes. In addition to offering great support, the stiffness created by this midsole minimizes the surface area of the outsole that contacts uneven ground as you scramble over rocks and other obstacles. This results in better stability and reduces muscle fatigue in your foot, ankle and lower leg.

Below the nylon midsole is a thick layer of EVA cushioning and then Kenetrek’s exclusive K-Talon outsole that offers great traction on everything from steep, rocky grades to slippery logs and wet grass.

Hardscrabble Hikers feature 7-inch tall, premium, full-grain leather uppers that have no seams down the tongue for reduced abrasion and better waterproofing. There is also extremely strong, corrosion-resistant boot hardware and a reinforced rubber sole guard for incredible abrasion resistance.

Weighing just 3.5 pounds per pair, Hardscrabble Hikers are uninsulated, making them best suited for spring and early fall hunts. They do, however, have a Windtex breathable, waterproof membrane lining to keep your feet dry even during shallow water crossings.

As much as I love my Kenetreks, the truth is I’ve barely had time to break them in — never mind put them through a punishing wilderness hunt. So, I reached out to my predecessor and Editor-At-Large Curt Wells for additional insight. Curt also serves as host of "Bowhunter TV," and since Kenetrek has been a program sponsor for many years, there are few other bowhunters in the world with more intimate knowledge of how Kenetreks perform in the field. Here’s what Curt told me:

“I’ve worn my Kenetreks everywhere from the Northwest Territories to Argentina, and I always feel like my feet and ankles are wearing armor when I have them on. They really fit me well, and I can’t wear them out.

“The other thing I really like about them is that Windtex membrane. A lot of boots stay dry for a year or two, but I’ve never had a Kenetrek boot leak on me, even after four or five years of hard use.”

Although Kenetreks aren’t cheap, I believe they’re a prime example of the old adage, “You get what you pay for.” Plus, they come with a warranty that covers materials and workmanship for 12 months or 75 percent sole wear, whichever comes first. Kenetrek also offers an in-house boot reconditioning program that allows you to have your favorite, broken-in hunting boots returned to like-new condition for less than half the cost of buying new ones.




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

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Trophyline is following up on the success of its Venatic tree saddle with a new-for-2024 model featuring First Lite Spec...
Gear

APX — The Newest Pattern From Realtree

Trophyline is following up on the success of its Venatic tree saddle with a new-for-2024 model featuring First Lite Spec...
Gear

Buck Commander Releases New Buk Ops Technology

Trophyline is following up on the success of its Venatic tree saddle with a new-for-2024 model featuring First Lite Spec...
Gear

Easton's Sonic 6.0 a Versatile Arrow Shaft

Trophyline is following up on the success of its Venatic tree saddle with a new-for-2024 model featuring First Lite Spec...
Gear

Easton Introduces the Match Grade Pro Series Arrow

Trophyline is following up on the success of its Venatic tree saddle with a new-for-2024 model featuring First Lite Spec...
Gear

Primos Double Bull Delivers New Raised Hunting Ground Blind

Trophyline is following up on the success of its Venatic tree saddle with a new-for-2024 model featuring First Lite Spec...
Gear

Primos Delivers Steady Shooting With Edge Tripod System

Trophyline is following up on the success of its Venatic tree saddle with a new-for-2024 model featuring First Lite Spec...
Gear

The QAD Ultrarest Gets Better

Trophyline is following up on the success of its Venatic tree saddle with a new-for-2024 model featuring First Lite Spec...
Gear

A QAD Ultrarest For Everyone

Trophyline is following up on the success of its Venatic tree saddle with a new-for-2024 model featuring First Lite Spec...
Gear

Primos Legacy Grows With Icon Call Series

Trophyline is following up on the success of its Venatic tree saddle with a new-for-2024 model featuring First Lite Spec...
Gear

Going Light With Dryshod Boots

Trophyline is following up on the success of its Venatic tree saddle with a new-for-2024 model featuring First Lite Spec...
Gear

Tactical Bowhunting from T.R.U. Ball and Axcel

Trophyline is following up on the success of its Venatic tree saddle with a new-for-2024 model featuring First Lite Spec...
Gear

Trophyline Venatic Specter

Bowhunter Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Bowhunter App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

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

Get the top Bowhunter stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Bowhunter 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

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now