When we were gearing up to go out for our first evening hunt my new boots started to cop a fair amount of attention, possibly due to the colour as like me they hadn’t seen a black pair of grunty looking hunting boots that had small blaze orange panels.
Getting you where you need to go!
The Andrew range of hunting boots are fairly new to the New Zealand market but are fast becoming popular with hunters and outdoor enthusiasts . These Italian boots are hand made by skilled craftsmen.
The Andrew Footwear Company was established in 1995 by two Italian craftsmen who have a big passion for their industry. Almost twenty years on they are producing an extensive range of top quality outdoor and casual boots and shoes.
Andrew boots are imported and distributed in NZ by a company now known as Footwear and Apparel NZ Ltd, which has recently changed from NFAD (National First Aid Distribution). They are a well established and respected company within New Zealand and have done a superb job with another popular brand of hunting boots known as Gri Sport, which offer a good range of mid-priced hunting boots.
The hunting boot market is very competitive in New Zealand as there are a heap of different brands available with loads of different styles. When it comes to trying a new boot this can make purchasing a challenge, not only for hunters but for retailers too as it can be a hard decision to step away from the old trusted brands.
One thing that is very important for me when I am choosing a new brand of boot to stock in my store is trust; not only do we need to have trust in the brand , we also need it in the people we are buying them from. Knowing that both Ed Leenders and Dave Kaijser from Footwear and Apparel NZ Ltd are passionate hunters and know what it means to wear a good comfortable boot while hunting instils a fair amount of trust.
Dave Kaijser is one of the company representatives and calls on me in my store Rivers to Ranges in Hastings. Dave asked me if I would testfire their new hunting boot from Andrew Footwear that they have had designed especially for the NZ market.
The new Andrew boot is called the Wilderness and Dave played a significant part in the design of the boot when he visited the Andrew factory in Italy. The boot is constructed using top quality components that include a Vibram Sole; world leaders in rubber soles and Perwanger full grain leather which is a very strong and breathable. A rubber rand protects the boot and the Sympatex lining is a 100% waterproof membrane. For more information regarding this and other Andrew boots please visit the Andrew website www.andrewfootwear.co.nz
On the hill
As soon as Dave arrived with the boots I spent the next two days with them on, walking around in the shop to help break them in. I had a guided hunting trip to do that started midday on a Friday so I was keen to see how they would go out in rugged terrain rather than the shop’s carpet. When we were gearing up to go out for our first evening hunt my new boots started to cop a fair amount of attention, possibly due to the colour as like me they hadn’t seen a black pair of grunty looking hunting boots that had small blaze orange panels. One comment from one of our hunting party about unproven hunting gear on the hill was soon turned into humble pie when the first deer was taken within 15 minutes on our first hunt.
It wasn’t much of a test for the boots but they felt comfortable enough anyway and with the first little hill endured at least they were now no longer “unproven.” The next day we headed out in the morning and put in a solid effort. I carried a sika hind for a while, which was a good load up a better sized hill to challenge the boots. They performed great and felt just as comfortable, especially under the load.
I have continued to hunt in my new boots right throughout the season and they have done quite a few miles over a lot of different terrain. Their biggest test was going to be when I ventured to the South Island on a guided tahr hunt with my client Jane Dunkerley. We arrived on the property that I guide on with the forecast not looking that flash, although it was improving. We had a brief scout on our first evening to see if there were any tahr around on a ridge that we had picked out but the weather wasn’t going to allow us to see too far. The next day we were up before dawn and there were stars out everywhere so we set off after a quick breaky and we were soon at the base of the mountain glassing. It didn’t take long before we found some tahr so we made our way up the spur, glassing as we went. We spotted a few deer a young stag and some hinds as we continued to climb. The tahr we had spotted were busy feeding across a tussock face and there were a couple of young bulls with them. We pushed up higher and made our way up to an area, which we decided would be good spot to have lunch and a nice area to glass from. Just as we were about to have lunch I caught a bit of movement directly to my right; a mature bull tahr then walked out onto a bluff. I quickly ranged him and he was only 400 yards away. Lunch was now postponed and we went into stalk mode and closed the gap to 285 yards. Finding a nice spot to have a shot from I got my 300 Win Mag guide rifle ready to go for Jane and we checked out the bull through the spotter. Jane had a look through the spotter also and was happy with him and got set behind the rifle and then took the shot. Jane hit the bull hard and he sat down so a quick follow up shot did the business and he tumbled down the face. The tape read 12”; Jane was rapt with her bull so after a few photos and finally some lunch we caped him out and made our way back down the mountain. Back at the truck I unzipped by gaiters and then remembered my new boots. “Wow” I thought to myself. “I had forgotten I even had them on.” They had been comfortable both up and down the mountain and also when sidling which was an excellent test for them.
The new Andrew Wilderness boot is awesome; they are very comfortable and gave me good grip and support over different terrains. Being an alpine type boot they are quite rigid which I prefer but that may not suit all people. The black and blaze colour of the boot is a little different; I was unsure of it initially but it did grow on me over time. I will be stocking the new Wilderness boot in my store and I’m sure you will find these great boots at other quality hunting or outdoor stores around the country soon. The approximate retail will be $549.99
Copyright 2015 NZRod&Rifle