Russell Moccasins?

GMO44

Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2015
Messages
90
Does anyone still wear Russell Moccasin boots? I know they have been around for a long time and wandering if they compare to more modern hunting boots? Let me know what you think.


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couesbitten

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
1,461
Location
East Wenatchee, WA
Wore a pair of Russell's for 3 or 4 seasons, but it's been about 6 years ago now. They were a great boot, VERY well made, but not the most comfortable boot I've ever worn.
 

Tod osier

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2015
Messages
679
Does anyone still wear Russell Moccasin boots? I know they have been around for a long time and wandering if they compare to more modern hunting boots? Let me know what you think.


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Nightmare experience that dragged out over a year and I never got boots that I wore.
 

Tod osier

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2015
Messages
679
So steer clear of Russell moccasins? Stick to a more modern boot?


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My experience was that I was not able to get a boot from them as ordered. I wanted a pair of upland boots and unhappy with the typical commercial offerings, I decided to spare no expense and get a pair of custom fit Russells. I went to the factory in WI to get custom measured and order boots. After much longer than the expected wait, I got my boots and they didn't fit. I called and explained that when I put my superfeet in that my feet barely fit in. The response was that superfeet reduce the volume and they needed to be ordered to fit. I explained that the boots were ordered with a note to fit for superfeet. They countered that there was no note on the order (an order that I personally went to the shop to make to get their advice and get it done right). The bill I had told a different story and there was an extra charge for custom fit for orthotics. They said send the boots back and they will make me a different pair. Second pair arrives after waiting much longer than they said. Boots came with the wrong soles - wrong tread wrong color. Their solution was to send back and they would resole (grind off good sole leaving the wrong color base and put on a different color sole). Plus the boots didn't feel very good and fit each foot differently (one tight/hurt in different places than the other). When asked about fit, the response was that they are working to a standard last and that if your feet don't match there is nothing they can do (this really confused me as to the custom part I was paying/waiting for). Anyway, I asked for a refund and got it, since I refused to have custom boots resoled with a two toned sole. I know I'm overly uptight, but they did not succeed in any part of my interaction. The wait times are much longer then they said. They screwed up both pairs because of failing to follow the written order. Just one story, but not one that inspires confidence.
 
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Vagrouser

Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2017
Messages
51
Yeah, hit or miss. I had similar story when I ordered a pair of their snake boots about 10 years ago. I supplied tracings of my feet, detailed measurements and after a LONG wait, got a pair of boots that were about 1.5 sizes too big. Tried to make them work with heavy socks and ended up selling.
Enough time had passed and I decided to try again. In my mind they're one of the iconic upland hunting makers--my dad wore their Birdshooters for decades. After watching Filson whore themselves into a fashion brand, I figured I'd stock up on Russell's before something happened with them.
Since I'm a bog standard 12, I ordered a 11.5 Imperial and the same in a double vamp birdshooter. The Imperial is behind schedule (waiting from tannery for French veal), but got the Birdshooters and they fit great. Complete bullshit that I paid for custom fitting when in reality I had to do a work around because of their inability to devise a fitting program but they're good boots when they fit.
All of this applies to upland hunting boots. Have no experience with their mountain boots. YMMV
 

Tod osier

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2015
Messages
679
It is good to hear that they do get it right. I feel bad bagging on them, since they have such a good reputation over the long haul, but my experience was just crazy that it was off every step of the way - they didn't get one step other than billing completely right (funny how that works). A funny sidenote is that when I sent the first boots back I included a pair of moderately worn Superfeet thinking that may act as a reminder and so they could judge exactly what I was using in the boots. The superfeet didn't come with the second pair and I just wrote them off and then over a year later they appeared in the mail long after I had given up on the process.
 

AKMAN

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2016
Messages
186
Location
Alaska
My family has had a long history with Russell. Plenty of good stories and happy feet for my relatives who have (& had) something like, AAA width feet. They all live or lived in Wisconsin and have/had lots of success with them. My own personal experience has been something a little less sparkling.

I have an extremely pronounced "extensor hallucis longus" (handles your foot's eversion) that when I flex my calf muscles protrudes very far, connecting in about the middle of my foot, temporarily adding significant diameter right at my foot. After a day in most types of hunting footwear, this causes extreme bruising and blistering on my heels from being driven back into the boot. Needless to say, since I was about 14 years old, I have hunted, hiked, and climbed in nearly every brand and type of footwear that provides remotely enough support for sheep hunting in Alaska and have had dozens of hunts ruined by hard to fit feet. After thousands of dollars of failed footwear attempts, and when my feet seemed to stop growing, I decided to give Russell a go.

When I decided to order a pair, I made a special trip to New Berlin, WI to get measured. I was already in Wisconsin for vacation, and I thought the many hours of driving each direction would ensure a perfect fit, so away we went. Upon arrival, after handling a few of their mountain boots and picking the features that seemed to make sense, I sat down with George and had my feet measured in the socks I planned to wear.The boots i picked out were Toe Lace Hunters with a double vamp, 400g thinsulate, Black, 10", steel shank, heel counters, air bob soles.

Upon arrival, the boots fit great and for the first time in my life I didn't develop raging blisters hiking & climbing mountains in Alaska. The very first real field outing I hiked and hiked and hiked. Hours and hours with no trouble. Then I turned downhill and found a flaw. My toes jammed into the ends on decent, causing bruised big toe nails. I imagined that since the boots fit and felt so good, it must be relatively normal for people who had such good fitting boots. I hunted and hiked in those boots exclusively for several years, accepting purple big toes all summer and mashed ridged toe nails all winter.

Three years ago, I traveled to New Berlin again and inquired about my boots. I showed them my destroyed big toe nails (that have been in a permanent state of mangle since I've owned those boots) and they decided that I should lace my boots tighter. I showed them that the eyes and speedlace hooks were already touching and there was no room to go tighter.

Upon reviewing my file, and the measurements taken by them, at their store, the day I ordered them they determined that ALL of the leg measurements taken and used to construct my boots were incorrect. Not a little bit, but several inches off on all counts.

They said they would try to fix the boots for me..... for $75 + shipping back to Alaska. I agreed and left excited, ready to finally have the boots of my dreams. After several months, I started to pester them, inquiring about when my boot repair would be finished. This went on for over 9 months, ruining one sheep season, talking to seemingly everyone in their shop, none of whom seemed to have no record of my boots ever existing. Finally, 7 days after suggesting they build me an entirely new pair of boots since they seemed to have lost mine, my boots arrived.

They looked absolutely horrible.

Stitches all up and down the sides, overlapping, cris-crossing with dried glue slathered in many places with vi(edit: s) able and obviously sloppy cuts made to trim the uppers back. Disappointed, but optimistic, I slid my foot into the odd feeling boot and started lacing it up. The 4th speedlace hook, right side, rips out and flies across the kitchen floor. With the other boot on, both of them felt different, and with apparently different internal dimensions.

The fit was off, the repair (that I paid for) was so sloppy I would be embarrassed and something failed within 60 seconds of putting on one boot.

Russell had nothing to say about it and offered no acceptable solution.
Not a refund of the repair cost+shipping, not a discount on a new pair of boots, not an offer to repair the repair for free, and not even an offer to repair the repair for a fee (plus shipping....).

Still.... they once made me a pair of boots, for close to $700 that felt great on flat ground and going uphill.

I can only suggest a custom RMC boot to someone who is completely out of footwear options. If you've literally tried every boot REI sells, every boot Backcountry.com sells, and anywhere else you can return footwear for lack of fit or satisfaction.

Because I have done this and continue looking for functional footwear every year, I will one day likely make another, close to $700 roll of the dice on the same exact boot build (but 12" tall) from Russell Moccasin Company.
 
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