It seems obvious that someone who has had boot issues would seek out a company like Lathrop and Sons. But, why would someone like me who typically doesn’t have issues with boots? I can tell you that I have been interested in trying out their custom boot system ever since I read this review by Brock Akers on their Synergy Footbed. I read a few other reviews over the next few years and just kept thinking – what am I missing by not trying these guys?
Lathrop And Sons
When I went to the Lathrop and Sons website for the first time I noticed they had a good selection of boots plus their Synergy Footbeds and a Custom Boot System option. They also sell accessories and boot essentials. I was interested in the Custom Boot System so I started by ordering their 3D Mapping Kit.
Custom Boot System
When my 3D mapping kit arrived, I started by reading the directions start to finish. The kit included three impression sheets per foot. My wife helped me by tracing around my feet as I stepped on each sheet. She also took photos of my feet per the directions. Once I had all six impressions completed, I sent them back to L&S in the included box.
When Lathrop And Sons received my 3D Mapping kit, they started by performing their evaluation of my imprints. Next, we scheduled my first phone consultation with one of their foot and boot experts. I worked with Stephen Lathrop. I was very impressed with the level of detail Stephen went into to assure a properly fitting boot system. Our call lasted almost an hour. He asked me questions about what boots and sizes I used in the past. Asked the type of terrain I typically hunt. How much I weighed and what pack weights I expected. We talked about past foot injuries and whether I get hot spots or blisters. It was very apparent that Stephen knew what he was doing and cared about my experience. Click here for more info on the Custom Boot System and what it includes.
My Boot Choice
After Stephen evaluated my 3D Mapping kit and got all the needed fitment info from our phone consultation it was time to pick a pair of boots. Stephen recommended the Lathrop And Sons Mountain Hunter for me. In addition to their own boot line, L&S also offers boots from Lowa, Zamberlan, Scarpa, and others so it is very likely they have the right boots for your needs.
When my new L&S Mountain Hunter boots arrived, I was impressed with the quality. I slipped my feet in and snugged up the laces. One thing I noticed right away was how well the lacing system worked. It was easy to get the lower portion tightened and locked. Then I hit the hooks and tied them. The size 9.5 (my normal size) fit perfectly. I didn’t have any tight spots and my heels didn’t lift more than they should. Lathrop and Sons nailed the fit for me. The Synergy Footbeds wrapped my heals and felt great. I wore the boots for a few days around the house and at work just to make sure everything was good before I hit the mountains in them.
Secondary Phone Consultation
Lathrop and Sons doesn’t just sell you a boot and move on to the next customer. Stephen insisted I called him after I received the boots and tried them out so he could spend some more time with me explaining how I could get the most out of my new boots and Synergy Footbeds. We discussed the best process for lacing. He told me their recommended process for drying. And, he reminded me that the Custom Boot System included free adjustments to the boots if I noticed any issues.
My first hunt was a drop camp hunt were we would ride horses for about 11 miles to camp and then spike out from there each day. We had days with over ten miles of hiking in mostly warm, dry conditions. The terrain varied from dirt trails to steep, rocky sidehills. I noticed how little foot fatigue I would have at the end of a long day. With other boots I’ve used I would have much more soreness. The entire trip resulted in not so much as a hot spot. These boots fit great!
I crossed many shallow creeks througout the season and never had a leak. The eVent lining allowed my feet to breath but kept water out. Even hiking in wet conditions all day didn’t result in wet feet. By following Lathrop and Son’s cleaning and treating recomendations I believe these will keep my feet dry throughout their life.
Traction and Support
The Lathrop and Sons Mountain Hunter has a Vibram Mulaz EVO Outsole. I noticed good traction on steep hillsides. Downhill is usually the worst and these performed great. The Mountain Hunters provide good ankle support when side-hilling. Even on slick, snowy slopes with a loaded pack I felt confident.
I have always taken my insoles out and stood my boots up whenever I wanted to dry them in the mountains. Stephen recommended I turn them upside down when drying for better results. He explained that it especially helps to get moisture out of the toe area since gravity is working with you instead of against. I dried my boots this way all season and I can’t say that I noticed a difference for sure but my boots did dry quickly so I’ll stick with it.
Comfort And Durability
Throughout the season I had many long days on varying terrain. I only had one day where I noticed foot fatigue. Our total mileage that day was over 13 miles and included packing half a spike elk out four and a half miles. As we were covering the last few miles to the truck I could feel my feet getting tired. I’m not sure the total mileage for the season but the Mountain Hunters have held up great. As I cleaned them after my last hunt I noticed all the leather was still in great shape and there was no damage to the rubber rand at all.
Boots are a very important investment for a mountain hunter. I have used many different brands over the years with few problems but am always looking to improve. Now, I can confidently say the Custom Boot System from Lathrop And Sons was an upgrade on all the others I’ve tried. The comfort I experienced this year was unprecedented for me. If you’re on the fence about spending the money and time on this system I say go for it. This was a great experience for me and I look forward to more comfortable miles this season.
Check out the Lathrop and Sons website to order your new boot system.
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