Contrary to the popular image of the Aloha State—a land of beaches and palm trees, the Hawaiian Islands have a spectrum of eco-systems ranging from tropical rain forests to subalpine grasslands. Combined with the great weather, Hawaii is a hiker’s paradise.
However, I like to get off the rock in late Spring and take an annual sojourn to northern New Mexico to hike portions of the Continental Divide trail.
Suffice it to say, I need boots that can handle just about any terrain in any weather. That’s a tall order.
Enter the Wolverine Wilderness Waterproof Hiking Boot.
First some background. I became acquainted with Wolverine through my visits to the SHOT Show in Las Vegas. Although mostly associated with firearms, SHOT is also a venue where you’ll see cutting edge outdoor gear which entails a lot of footwear.
Headquartered in Rockford, Michigan, Wolverine has been making boots since 1883. It’s not an exaggeration to say that boots are in their DNA.
Trail -testing the Wilderness Waterproof Hiking Boot
Before I took off for the Rockies to trail-test the boots I gave them a break-in on Oahu. Based on past experience, I anticipated a week or so of getting used to them but I was mistaken. It took me exactly one outing to feel extremely comfortable in them. I’d been hiking with military style combat boots which were sturdy but the soles were quite rigid, even when broken in.
This contrasts with the Wolverine boots which were incredibly light. I had jettisoned a great deal of baggage and felt as if I could bound from one volcanic rock to the next.
It’s as if I had also leapt from Second World War, GI wear, to the 21st century.
Their soles are certainly more flexible and more expansive than the military boots I had become accustomed to. I also felt the sole gave me a much wider and more stable platform—sort of like the difference between tires you’d find on a bicycle tire and a drag racer.
My military boots were great for the desert but not always the best solution for the mountains where you need to ford streams and negotiate mud.
That’s where the Wolverine boots really shined. There were indeed waterproof. I found that out when I went fishing, which by definition means crossing creeks, balancing on logs and sometimes slipping on wet rocks into the water.
They also kept my feet at the right temperature. The trip was in late spring and at 9000 feet, there was still some snow on the ground. My feet were warm and always dry.
During my week in the Rockies I did an enormous amount of hiking and these boots were always comfy. They were certainly true to size for me. It always feels a little risky ordering a shoe online but this worked perfectly.
They are attractive too (“gunmetal” is the color) but priced mid-range. Amazon has them for about $99, which I believe is good value given the quality.
These are great boots that look good, feel good and, true to Wolverine’s working man’s (and woman’s) experience, are affordable. The Gunmetal also means that dirt doesn’t quite show itself so readily.