Russell or Courteney - Safari Boots...

Discussion in 'Hunting Equipment, Gear & Optics' started by James.Grage, Jul 10, 2011.

  1. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Last year i gave my 2 pair of hunting boots to our 2 trackers prior to leaving camp...

    The pair i wear to Alaska and northern states for hunting are Danner's boots and i do not like there new models.

    So i am looking at having a pair made for me....

    I have white boots, however they do not have a soft soles.
    White's Boots, Hunting Boots, Pac Boots, Work Boots, Outdoor Clothing

    I am looking at purchasing a pair of Russell boots or Courteney boots:

    Sportsmen's Footwear Since 1898 - Fine handmade custom fitted moccasin style boots and shoes for hunters and outdoors men and women!


    The Courteney Boot Company - The Courteney Collection

    The question from owners of these fine hunting boots what are there positives and negatives...and would you purchase another pair if you needed a new pair...

    Thank you for your assistance...
  2. Mike70560

    Mike70560 AH Fanatic

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    Boots for Africa can bring out some interesting posts.

    At the 2010 (January) Dallas Safari Club convention my wife was fitted for a pair of Russells. They arrived late and about three sizes too big. We did not have them in time for our September hunt. After another refitting we did not have them for our April 2011 trip. Russell did refund the money promptly. Supposedly when they fit properly they are a good boot. I have a pair of the PHs and find there is not enough support in my arches. However they are quiet.

    To answer the question "Would you purchase another pair"....My last two trips I have worn Browning Boots. I have over 500 miles walked in these. They have enough support and are quiet although not as quiet as my Russells. Never a blister or even sore feet.

    Amazon.com: Men's 6" Browning® Featherweight Chukka Boots: Shoes
  3. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    On my recent Zim hunt I mostly wore my Danner Jackal boots as I did in RSA in 09. They are quite comfortable. I also had along and wore my Courteney shoes I bought in Zim in 1996. They too are good shoes though basically a chukka boot. Kudu hide. My PH called them my Zim "farmer shoes"!
  4. Shakey

    Shakey GOLD SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    I would have a hard time recommending Russell Moccasin. I know folks who swear by them, but I wasn’t very impressed. I had them measure my feet at the DSC convention and make me a pair of short Thula – Thula boots. Took longer than they said to get them, and when they arrived the size stamped inside was 10-1/2 C. By foot measurement on most standard charts, I’m between 11 and 11-1/2 length and between a D and E width. They have their own sizes, but for a “custom” boot that they measured, the fit was not nearly as good as I expected. Despite being stamped 10-1/2, there’s enough leather beyond the toes to curl up and hang a bell on. The C width seems to be accurate … certainly rubs the widest part of my feet. The tongue leather is relatively thick and bunches up when you tie the boot, which then rubs a raw spot near the ankle.

    They are very light and very quiet. The Thula – Thula is not for everyone (probably as close to walking barefoot as you can get, so no support to speak of).

    I’ve since tried a pair of Courteney boots (Selous). I wore them around town and to the office a few days, then finally went hiking on some fairly rough ground over the weekend. The padding around the top is very soft, as is the tongue leather. Very comfortable around the ankle. The tread looks like it should be the nosiest thing you’ve ever walked in, but it was surprisingly quite (relatively soft rubber). Comes in a very nice package with cleaning and polish kit. Wide boot by design, so that worked well for me. The top of the shoe, however, tapers straight down to the sole at the front, so there’s not much height near the toes. The joints of my toes stay in contact with the top of the boot all the time, but I didn’t develop any blisters or hot spots over the weekend. These are certainly heavier than the Russells, but at least so far, seem to be better made IMO.

    Having said all this, all I’ve really done is waste a bunch of money on expensive shoes. By the time I return to Africa, I’ll probably end up wearing the same thing I did last time – a pair of Keen hikers that cost a fraction of either of the ones above.
  5. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I never though of browning.

    I have many pairs of White boots over the years and when they get broke in they will go for years...i either take a 9 EEEE or a 10 EE depending on style of shoe.

    I used to use Redwing and with there new models i was unable to slip my high arch and foot into them unless it was 2 sizes to big...

    My trouble with shoes is my feet are different sizes as are most of us. That is why i have been having customs Cowboy boots and work Boots and some shoes built for me. I find it difficult to purchase out of the box shoes that fit well...

    I find Mike's comments well deserved as i also have had my feet measured buy the maker only to have shoes arise and thinking who did they build these for...I have waited for up to a year for some boot makers to produce there wares and they are great...while other are useless as they will not take them back...and they do not fit...
  6. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

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    To be honest, I think both Russell and Courteney boots are for the guy that wants to "look the part" as much as anything. Nothing wrong with that, but I will stick with my regular old worn in hiking boots anyday.
  7. Nyati

    Nyati AH Legend

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    Fully agree, specially with "worn in".
  8. michaelhh375

    michaelhh375 AH Veteran

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    Dear fellow hunters.
    I arrived to my first hunt in Africa with my trustful ecco sandals ( Zim 1999 ) First comment from my new friends at arrival, was : were are your hunting shoes ?
    6 days later, when we was heading back to Sweden, I was promised a pair of "real" hunting shoes from my Swedish hunting companions. About, 3 years later ( late but not to late ), I had a big ( size 12 ) package delivered to my house, a pair of High Tec´s hiking/hunting shoes. These boots was fantastic and became my best friends when travel to Africa.
    2007 when I was checking out Messina ( north Limpopo ) I found this nice weapon store, and in this store, they also sold Courteney´s, 2 pairs for less 900 Rands, so I bought.
    2008, we arrived to Mozambique, I brought my new Courteney´s for the first time.
    You know how first arrival night can end up.... Gin & tonics, Captain Morgan and coke, beer.... sometimes very late.... First morning in Mozambique ( November, meaning very hot ) you pretend like everything is fine, but really you wanna just lay down a die, you drink water like an old camel, but somewhere you get the strength to get you self ready for a new hunting day.
    All equipments are well used, and you feel alright, however, the boots are brand new, and never used.....
    After first hour walking, I felt a small pain in my feet's, after another 2 hours, and in +40C, my feeling was..BIG PAIN, and after total walk of 5 hours the pain was undescible.
    We returned to camp, my only thought was to get my boots of and check my feet's...worst feet anyone ever seen !
    Well to make a long story short... Before you take your Courteney´s for a hunt, walk them in and walk them in slowly, take your time and use lots of leather oil.. ! BTW, still using these Courteney's and cant find any better hunting shoes !

    The Courteney Boot Company
  9. buckcurtin

    buckcurtin AH Senior Member

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    Try Lowa Elite Desert Boot, used them last trip and they were great. Do not require breaking in, waterproof and very light. Had bad experience with Russell Boots fit and money wise.
  10. Double D

    Double D AH Senior Member

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    I have both Russels and Courtneys. I bought the courtneys first in Arusha Tanzania "and paid to much" because I needed a pair of boots. They are just the standard looking ph boots but no serial # or cleaning kit. They served me fine and I broke them in on the go with the help of not to much mole skin. The next year in Zim I had aquired and broke in a pair of russells by then, the first pair was to big the second pair fit perfect "easy people to deal with". It was damn hot, on the first day walking down a river bed I remember comenting to the PH and my buddy that I could smell rubber burning. When we got back to camp that night my feet had blistered up threw the boots. The next ten days were hell. I developed a ritual of tapeing up my feet with tissue and duck tape after my bandages were used up. I had to switch back to the courtneys mostly because there was more room in them as they are very wide. The next year after my feet healed I used both at times in the caprivi strip. The russells are much lighter and slightly more comfortable. The courtneys are more of a all terrain boot and can handle ruffer going threw rocks etc. The reason I bought courtneys was because my first PH swore by them but I hear he wears Russels now but probably given to him by a client if I no Mara. I will keep packing both until they wear out. If I ever needed to replace them it probably would be with Russells just because they are easier to get and I might get two pairs with one pair with a heavier sole. There ya go fur my two bits.
  11. DOC-404

    DOC-404 AH Elite

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    James,my friend,come to my village and I'll take you across to Swakopmund to a little place called 'Leather Creations'.There,you can choose yourself a pair of genuine kudu-skin 'vellies' and you'll not want for anything else ever again..!
  12. fhm3006

    fhm3006 AH Enthusiast

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    :clapping:The old 'vellies' yeah !

    I have promoted my feet to hunting boots from Agra in Windhoek - also Kudu leather - used my first pair for 6 years before the soles got really very worn - got me a new pair in March this year. Here's something for the 'leather boots' guys. We all know a new pair of hunting boots is a no-no if not 'walked in' properly before your hunt. (unless you like walking around with blisters) Instead if using 'dubbin' or other leather-softening agents and rub the shoes untill your hands are numb, i simply give mine a good spray with general gun-oil such as Q 10 before and after the hunt. We all know how wet the grass is early-morning in the veld, and one's shoes does get soaked thoroughly. The Q 10 really keeps the leather very soft, waterproof and prevents it from drying out and cracking. Works for me.
  13. DOC-404

    DOC-404 AH Elite

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    I spray my 'Namib-Trappers' with Ballestol. Works like a charm. Pisses the ticks off as well..!
  14. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    +1, will not spend money on trendy shoes.
  15. 35bore

    35bore AH Legend

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    Agreed, a good pair of broke in hunting boots from Cabela's or a good pair of hiking boots.
  16. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I would like to thank every one for there reply...:biggrin:

    Many good personal comments...:clap:

    As indicated Russell boots are made for the individual if you custom order and it appears that they do not always get the order correct.

    Courteney boots are Wide and i am leaning that way as my foot is wide...:think:

    The offer from Namibia to come on over and buy a pair was a welcome gesture and maybe in 2013 i will do that...:beer:

    I like to have 2 pair of shoes along if i can and trade them out every other day...

    I have went to Cabela's and tried on shoes until the cow come home and i have not found a pair i like...And by the way i have bought my share of shoes from Cabela.s...

    The problem with shoe stores is the fact that the employee or owner is trying to sell what they have hot necessary what will fit you...changing out the insole, adding a heel cup and so on...:thumbdown:

    Many will make there feet fit a boot and not the other way around...i have found that a great shoe or boot will fit your foot...and the pleasure is without saying a blessing to walk in....when climbing mountains or walking through brush a great fitting shoe makes it a breeze...while a poor fitting shoe make it a chore...

    Blisters on your feet does not make for a good or even a great time...:(

    Thanks again for the help...:)
  17. Red Leg

    Red Leg GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Absolutely! Balistol is one of the neat inventions of the last century. An organic oil compound, it is terrific as a gun oil, works great on leather, and for all I know, cures athelete's foot.
  18. CK1

    CK1 AH Member

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    Ordered a pair of Russell's last winter after the DSC show for my May safari. Very excited to get a "custom fit boot". Like others mine came about a month late and well over one size to big. I called Russell and they told me to "cinch them up a bit tighter". Hmmmm Ok. I tried that and took them on safari to Nambia. After two days I took them off and wore my back up boots, Danner Pronghorn's. Should have stayed with the Danner's. When I returned to the states I returned the Russell's and to their credit they promptly returned my money.

    If you've got a pair of good fitting boots, stay with them.

    CK
  19. Xpraetor

    Xpraetor AH Senior Member

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    James.Grage,

    I too am familiar with White’s boots as I had a pair years ago when fighting wildfires, also had a pair of Hathorn both are excellent boot makers. Having been in the military for 8 yrs I guess you could say I have “hard feet”. So, keep in mind blisters/sores haven't been a real problem for me. That being said I have a pair of Courteney- “Safari” boots, they were a gift from a college buddy (he was from Botswana). I am going to be the stand out in this thread and say that the Courteney boots are equal quality as the boots I mentioned prior. Of course by design they are intended for a different purpose then the White’s or Hathorn’s. As for the “looking the part” or “trendy” (i.e. “poser”) accusation made by some members, I look at it from a different perspective. The Courteney Boot Co. originated in RSA I believe, and they were designed by locals to “fit” a need. I wouldn’t expect to get a good western/cowboy riding boot from RSA or Zimbabwe for that matter. The same mentality could be applied to those who wear western/cowboy boots. To me the “poser” label is a bit harsh. My personal experience with my 1st pair of Courteney boots was I never experienced a “break-in” period, they were so soft I wasn’t worried about it (compared to my black Cadillacs.) I put them on and wore them all day with no blisters. Not possible with a pair of White's or Hathorn. I'll concede that I have never been to Africa, so I have no experience in that respect. Although I was stationed in the Mojave Desert for a spell and the tire tread performed excellent in that terrain, mind you I was not in uniform. I’m on my 2nd pair I bought through Westley Richards in 2001. Now, I wear mine mostly during the summer & during dove season. They work exceptionally well here in Louisiana and are very comfortable in the 100+ degree temps. I was inclined to wear them throughout the summer, but have stopped that to save tread wear. The soles are thick but soft.

    As for the Russell boots I cannot speak about the line marketed for use in Africa, however, I got a pair of Russell’s boots back when I used to do a fair amount of wingshooting. I can speak for the Bird Shooter’s model (which were off the rack) the leather was buttery soft and had minimal break-in compared to White’s or Hathorn.

    I feel it is a matter of perspective, and from “My” perspective, someone who has worn boots like the ones you referenced the Courteney boots would probably be adequate for you. Something of note, the Courteney boots have no arch support to speak of. I have a medium arch and I use arch inserts. There was a time when I didn’t need such orthotics; an unfortunate side effect to years of ground pounding.

    If you’re leaning toward a hiking style boot you might checkout Kenetrek. I was looking for a new packer boot that would stand up to wet & cold. A buddy of mine who guides in the Northwest swears by the comfort & workmanship of their hiking boots.
    KENETREK DESERT GUIDE-Kenetrek Boots -the link takes you to their desert boot.

    Sorry for the long post.
  20. Double D

    Double D AH Senior Member

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    As far as the negative comments go about reasons for wearing these two boots. I can say that if you go to africa with your hard soled hikers you are going to get some side ways glances at the very least from your PH's as you clunk along behind. The point being both these boots are very quiet in the bush. The Courtney's are made in Zim and its hard to get out of there without buying a pair. It is true that sitting around the fire there is lots of time to talk about gear and discuss things with other hunters and the PH's of course. After 8 trips to Africa maybe I can be accused of wanting to look like wanabe. But believe me over the years I have seen some real dandies in that department.

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