Rubber boots are typically the best option when it comes to concealing your scent trail while walking to and from your stand site. And when it comes to arrowing a trophy whitetail, nothing will thwart your chances faster than leaving odor on the ground. Rubber boots are also impervious to water; keeping your feet dry no matter how wet the conditions. They also provide added protection and plenty of warmth on those crisp, November mornings during the rut, or those cold, late-season hunts overlooking a food source. However, despite those advantages there are certain downsides that come with wearing rubber boots.
Rubber boots aren’t without their drawbacks. How will the new LaCrosse AeroHead fare?
Historically speaking, rubber boots aren’t the most comfortable choice on the rack, or the lightest, and they also tend to be a bit clumsier to wear than leather or more streamlined models that incorporate a Cordura nylon upper-body. Yet, some bowhunters have learned to live with the negatives in order to reap the previously mentioned positives. Well, LaCrosse Footwear has changed all of that with the revolutionary new AeroHead Boot.
Technical AspectsBefore we get into how this boot actually performed for me, let’s discuss the Aeroform technology that went into it and what makes it function unlike anything previously offered to bowhunters.
First, LaCrosse starts with a neoprene core “sock”; which by nature is highly flexible and has great insulating qualities. The back of the neoprene core sock then goes through a Liquid Rubber Seam Application which seals the neoprene together via a Reinforced Abrasion Protection Process. This particular area of the seam is also highly flexible which allows easy on and off applications. If you’ve ever struggled like a turtle on its back just to get your foot out of a pair of rubber boots then you will appreciate this feature.
Next, a lightweight, polyurethane shell is poured around this neoprene core. This polyurethane shell is more durable, flexible, insulating and lighter than rubber. Underneath all of this is an Injected PU midsole for added cushioning along with an integrated shank that covers the arch of the foot. This provides stable support when climbing on ladder rungs or up a steep, rock-strewn mountainside to a secluded hunting location.
With the AeroHead you get uncompromising, scent-free, waterproof protection in a boot that is highly comfortable and a pleasure to wear in any whitetail terrain.
Real World ApplicationsWhile it is easy to run down a list of company product specs and call that a review, I understand Bowhunting.com readers want more. What you really want is to know how a product performs in the field. Well, in simplest terms, the LaCrosse AeroHead is one of the best boots I’ve had the pleasure of wearing. However, let’s look a little deeper into what brought me to that conclusion.
Fit and FeelLet’s face it, if a piece of hunting apparel doesn’t feel good, odds is it won’t make it to the treestand with you. And sure, comfort in your living room, or the showroom floor is one thing, comfort two miles into a long hike to an out-of-the-way spot, or an all-day sit in a November treestand is another. So, instead of simply walking around my living room floor or across my lawn a time or two, I decided to take the AeroHead on a scouting trip near my home. The mountain I chose (like all of them) was steep and rugged, with plenty of rocks, blow-downs, and slick footing; the perfect testing ground.
Slipping the boots on I immediately felt the flexibility in the ankle area which made getting into these puppies a walk in the park. No struggling or grunting. Once inside, the plush sole of the AeroHead cradled my feet in comfort. Honestly, this is one of the most relaxing boots I’ve ever tried on.
The ClimbIt wasn’t long into my scouting trip before I realized this boot was going to be different (better) than the ordinary rubber boots I had worn over the years. You see, when wearing rubber boots, walking on mostly flat terrain tends to give you a false sense of comfort; as opposed to climbing “vertically” for close to an hour. In a situation like that, it doesn’t take long for your boot of choice to start rubbing and chafing the back of your ankle. For those of you who have been there, you know how painful that can be. The bigger picture is that it essentially will prevent you from getting where you want to be.
The Aero™ non-loading outsole features a lightweight rubber compound for superior durability and traction in mud. I found it perfect when a little extra traction was needed traversing the step hills near my home.
Surprisingly though, the AeroHead boots felt as comfortable 30 minutes into my climb as they did after I slipped them on before walking out the front door. This was most likely due to the Ankle-Fit™design of the boot which locks the heel in place to prevent excess rubbing and chafing. This comfort level allowed me to concentrate more on the surrounding terrain as I looked for last year’s rubs and scrapes, and less on how bad my ankle was going to feel once I got back home.
Traction ControlEven Mid-western bowhunters can appreciate a boot that provides good traction when terrain gets uneven. For a “mountain” bowhunter like me, good traction is a Godsend. After all, one slip on sharp, vertical landscape while carrying your treestand, backpack, and bow can spell disaster. Not only is it hard on equipment, it can be brutal on your body. Therefore, how well a boot “grips” can’t be underestimated. The AeroHead provided plenty of confidence as I climbed up and over rocks, logs and anything else the eastern mountains could throw at me.
WarmthSince bow season is over (insert sad crying sound here), and I really didn’t want to sit in my treestand for hours on end with no hope of losing an arrow, I decided to do the next best thing. I waited until the temperature was just right (25 degrees), walked out to a small stream near my home, and simply stood in the rushing water. The result? Warm, dry, comfortable feet. I spent the better part of 15 minutes with both feet submerged in the icy water; however they were as comfortable as if they were nestled close to the fire flickering in the distance through the window of my house.
Inside the AeroHead users will find a Quick-Drying and moisture wicking jersey knit liner. Outside, several minutes in the cold water proved to be no match as my feet remained dry and warm.
StabilityOne of the hardest things about hunting in uneven terrain, besides the vertical climb, is walking “side-hill”. Without the right amount of ankle support you’re going to have problems. Numerous times I picked the steepest route I could find and walked horizontally in order to see just how much support the AeroHead boot was going to give me. It didn’t fail to impress. I felt confident that my ankles were supported enough that I could handle the awkwardness and changes in terrain, along with weight-shift, all while packing a treestand, backpack and bow on my back.
Located on the back of the boot is an adjustable gusset and strap that allows the boot to be tailor-fit for various leg/calf sizes.
Overall ImpressionsI understand that some readers won’t have the pleasure of chasing whitetails in the rugged mountains like me. However, if a boot of this nature can perform in my hunting environment, just imagine what it can do for the average, mid-western whitetail bowhunter who mainly hunts food plots and the occasional strip of hardwoods. As for me, when it comes to boots I am very picky about what goes on my feet. I have to be. I need a boot that is lightweight, durable, waterproof, warm, provides plenty of traction and support, and keeps my scent dispersal to a minimum. And, I need it to do all of those things under an infinite variety of situations and terrain variations. That isn’t an easy task; I don’t care what boot you’re wearing. However, the LaCrosse AeroHead performs in all of those categories; much more than your standard rubber boot…..which may have just become obsolete.