Alpha Lite 18 Inch Side Zip Hunting Boot: By: Jason Balazs
I have been through every type of boot that there is in the outdoor market. Leather, Rubber, synthetic, you name it. During the early 1990’s, I remember watching the Primos boys wearing Lacrosse boots while they were hunting. At that time, I had just gotten back from Somalia and was spending most of my time hunting the majestic Whitetails of the North Carolina coast. I bought a pair of what they called “Bowhunting boots” at the local Wally World. Mostly because back then, I was so poor that I could not pay attention. No sir, I settled for what I had and believe me, I paid for it in the stand. The “quality” Wally World boots not only leaked like I was standing bare foot in the water, but also provided zero insulation against the elements. I can’t tell you how many days I spent on stand shivering and pure misery. Another problem with the Wally World boots is there was zero arch support in them. Some of the places that I hunted were two to three miles off of the road. There I was with my API Predator Tree stand on my back, a full back pack, and bow, hiking all the way back in there. You had to have tall rubber boots on though, because there were swamps all over the base where I hunted. After getting to my stand location, my feet would be dying from carrying all that weight and walking so far. Sure I could have used a pair of my Military boots, but there was no way I was going to wear boots that I had worn in Saudi Arabia or Somalia. I was hunting the elusive Whitetail that have a nose that can sniff out a human from 50 meters away. I wanted the most protection from those noses as I could get, no matter what kind of pain my feet might be in.
Recently, the folks at Lacrosse sent me pair of their new Alpha Lite 18 inch side zip hunting boots to test out. Needless to say, I was thinking that I could have used these things about 15 years ago. No matter though, I was able to use these boots for this upcoming turkey season and that is what mattered most. Just coming off complete ankle reconstruction, I needed to ensure that my ankle had all the support that it could handle. Plus, the 7mm of neoprene insulation makes it nice for those cold Colorado mornings.
The make up of the boot is simple. Starting at the traction portion of the boot, there is significant tread to ensure that you are not going to slip and provide a good grip for climbing hills or in my case mountains. Inside the sole there is a fiberglass shank that provides support and protection for your arch, which is a big plus for comfort. This midsole is made from rubber that meets the neoprene layer right above your ankle. This ensures that the whole boot is waterproof and would even serve as a good duck-hunting boot if you were hunting in a shallow flat or rice field. Finishing the boot up is the side zipper that we have already talked about. This zipper is not a cheap on either. It is made to hold back a lot of force and is easily zipped, even with large gloves on.
First thing I noticed when putting these things on were the side zippers. Since I have worn numerous pairs of tall rubber boots, I always have my pants inside of them. This keeps your scent contained in the boot so that you don’t need to worry about scaring game off, plus when I lived in the North Carolina, it helped (as good as it could) keep the seed ticks off too. When it was really cold, all of the layers that I wore to keep me warm did not really “squish” down into my boots as good as I wanted them too. What would happen is my pants would be bundled up towards the top of the boot and my ankles would freeze. These zippers that are on the Alpha lights, allow you to have your pants all the way down towards your ankles, then zip them up.
The only problem (I wouldn’t say it is a huge problem, but something I must mention) that I had with the boot is the rubber smell that they had. I sprayed them down with scent killer and even tried the earth scent kind too, yet the rubber smell still overpowered everything. However, over time the smell has diminished some and I foresee it disappearing by hunting season. My suggestion for someone using these boots is to take them out of the box and let them sit in the garage or shed for a week or so. Plus, I would wear them out fishing and anything else you could think of to have nature breakdown that new smell. I wore my boots for two weeks out in the snow, in the creek, and hiking up hills and it seemed to breakdown the rubber smell quiet a bit. I plan on wearing them while fishing this summer in the mountains and that should do the trick. That 7mm of neoprene will help keep my feet warm in the cold Colorado mountain water that is for sure.
While wearing the boots, I tested how they were while walking over rocks. Not huge boulder, but the kind of rocks that cause foot pain. There is a hill behind my house where I watch mule deer every morning traveling back and forth between feeding and bedding areas. The hill is also covered with small golf ball sized rocks. I figured I would take off up that hill and set up my trail camera to get some nice pictures of the bucks and their antler growth. After traipsing all around the hill all day, I was surprised to not have any discomfort in my arch or ankle. The fiberglass shank helps your foot equally disperse the impact of the rocks throughout your whole foot. If you have ever walked on golf ball sized rocks while hunting out west you know how important a good supporting pair of boots are. You can be laid up for almost a week from the pain that is associated with that if your feet don’t have protection. Needless to say, the boots proved themselves on that hike alone.
Overall I am impressed with the Alpha Lite’s. Like I had stated earlier, I wish I had these things about 15 years ago. I know that I would have been able to stay in the stand a lot longer and more than likely killed more deer because of them. Comfort is my main priority while hunting, and the older I get, the more I want to be comfortable. Lacrosse has taken the steps to ensure that they have the hunter in mind. I am sure that they have listened to feedback from people about pants bunching up around the legs and that is why they have provided us with the side zipper. The old term, “Ask and you shall receive,” seems to work with Lacrosse. I know that I will be wearing my boots the rest of Turkey season and pretty much the whole summer. Plus, elk season starts in August and you can bet that I will have them on then too. This year I have a primo tag for elk and it will require some sitting in blinds over water hole early on. I plan on using the Alpha Lite’s to help cover my scent trail on the way in and on the way out. If you are looking for a great pair of treestand hunting boots that won’t leave your scent behind, plus keep you warm during those cold weather months, then you need to look at these boots. They not only make an insulated model like mine, but also have non insulated as well.
Visit Lacrosse’s website: http://www.lacrossefootwear.com