As an avid hunter , by default, I get excited about fancy new equipment, the latest technology and the trendiest hunting gear items to hit the shelves every year. It’s natural – we just love new toys and often it’s the flashy, fancy new gizmos that catch our eye. It’s certainly true when it comes to me and my hunting clothing too – I’m a big fan of high performance fabrics, elaborate designs, cutting edge camouflage and all the bells and whistles. But when it comes to the foundation of my hunting attire – my boots – I like to keep it simple. Warm. Dry. Scent free. Comfortable. Give me these four things in a boot and I’ll be a happy man. Fortunately for me, my newest pair of boots, the Lacrosse Alpha SST hunting boots have done just that.
Back in college I bought my first pair of knee high rubber boots for hunting and I immediately became a fan. I could walk through anything and I was confident that I left less of a scent trail than ever before. But over the following months and years, I found a few things to be less than desirable – and these things ended up being traits that are common in many rubber hunting boots. First, while wearing them it felt like I had cinder blocks strapped to my feet. They really worked my quads into nice shape, but I can’t say the muscle tone was quite worth the effort! On top of that, they were a pain to get on and off. All of this, while annoying, was acceptable until after a few years I began having water leak into the soles of my boots on an icy cold November morning. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I needed a change.
Now several years later, I’ve found a pair of rubber hunting boots that have seemingly broke the mold I was used to. I’d heard from many friends and family members that Lacrosse rubber hunting boots were the way to go, and I was excited to give them a try this go around. And this past fall, the folks at Mossy Oak were kind enough to help me get my hands on one of newer models from Lacrosse, the Alpha SST. I haven’t looked back since.
As can be expected, the Alpha SST boots come with the typical Lacrosse fit and feel that have made them a favorite of the hunting community. Your foot fits comfortably into the boot and does not shift around while walking – but – they are still easy to take off. This is definitely not the case with all of the top end rubber hunting boots these days – as I found out after a few test runs with other brands. After hunting somewhere near 100 sits during the 2011 season, and hiking uncountable miles during the hunting and shed seasons, I have yet to develop a major callous or blister from my boots. In my book that’s a great first step.
Comfort though doesn’t only encompass the walking fit and feel of a boot. I’m also interested in the comfort while remaining motionless – which as whitetail hunters we do plenty of! The Alpha SST model I have is equipped with 1200 grams of Thinsulate, while also being lined with neoprene. The combination made for a very comfortable boot for most of the year. I did not have excessive issues of over heating or sweating during the early season. And I never once was worried that I might lose my toes from frost bite during the late season. I easily chill, but these boots kept me comfortable in light wool socks down to the low 30’s/high 20’s. At that point I pulled on a thicker pair of sock and all was well again. Overall I’d say these boots live up their cold weather billing.
Obviously comfort is important, but in the end function trumps all – and again I thought the Alpha SST’s stood up to the challenge. The full rubber body kept me dry throughout the whole season, and with a quick pull of a cord on top of the boot, a cloth gator was sealed tight, keeping all water, snow and muck out. Not only did this gator keep stuff out, but it also kept things in. Particularly my scent. The SST in the boot’s name, stands for Scent Suppresing Technology. To be honest, giving this a big fancy name might be a little over kill – but it still gets the job done. With the rubber body and the pulled tight cloth gator, these boots get about as scent free as you can get. That being said, I still gave them a heavy douse of scent killing spray every time I entered the woods.
Since I like to wear my boots over my hunting pants/bibs, a full camouflage boot is important to me – and the Mossy Oak Break-Up seems to do the trick just fine. In addition, as mentioned before, the boots have a cloth gator at the top of the boots to lock in scent – but if you’re not a fan, it is removable. Topping off the exterior of this boot is a very functional tread. It seemed to provide me all the traction I needed, while not holding onto excessive dirt or mud.
Overall, I loved these boots and they’ve been the best I’ve used to date. But there is no perfect product, and I still think a few items could have been tweaked to improve upon this already great item. One of those items would be the cloth gator. I really the like the ability to cinch the top tight, but we use rubber boots because they are inherently less likely to hold scent than cloth. So why add cloth to the top of a rubber boot? Given that the cloth is at the top, I think there is less likelihood of it being an issue – and I’m not too concerned about it after spraying on some scent kill. But in an ideal world, I’d like to see this gator be made of some kind of synthetic material that won’t hold onto scent – while still allowing for the cinching function. Additionally, I have noticed a little bit of wear inside of the boot where the back part of my foot comes into the boot and rubs on the interior wall. I’ve had this area wear on all of my previous rubber boots – and it may be just due to the fact that I have boats for feet (13’s). But I’d love to see a boot with this area reinforced to prevent this kind of wear.
All of that being said – the Lacrosse Alpha SST Mossy Oak Break-Up 1200G Hunting Boots have met and exceeded all of my expectations for a quality hunting boot. They aren’t terribly fancy. They don’t have too many bells or whistles. But they do the most important thing. They get the job done.
When I pull on my Lacrosse Alpha SST boots, I know I’ll be warm, dry, scent free and comfortable. And that’s exactly what I need from a hunting boot.
If you’re interested in checking out a pair of these boots for yourself, follow the link below…