Courteney Selous Boots VS. Russell Moccasins

rookhawk

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Compare and contrast this:

I purchased a pair of size UK 14.5 Courteney boots that had to be custom made due to size. (roughly US 15.5) They made them to my specs with a tall combat boot height, but otherwise with the features and leather of a Selous boot. Total MSRP ~$400. Best fitting boot I've ever owned. Needed zero break in and wore them on safari the first day I got them in lieu of well broken in combat boots by Danner because the Courteney were a far better boot. They are the quietest boots I've ever owned and they are quite lightweight too. Courteney had to make a pattern by hand since I asked for a non-standard design in a non-standard size. They do that and they do it very well. I like these boots so much I bought a second pair I'll pick up in Zim next month. Another feature I love is the soft impala tongue gusset that is so thin and comfortable it never irritates, yet it opens up a long way down the boot so you can be sure to shake out any scorpions or snakes easily. It also allows a lot of airflow when you remove the boots to dry out so they never smell and are never damp from sweat the next day. Simply the perfect boot.

I then decide to try a pair of Russell Moccasins. Their bison PH model. MSRP ~$750. Turkey wedge sole. 8" height. I had several options added like the kangaroo gusset, d-ring speed laces, etc. They arrived this morning. First thing I attempted to put them on and the gussett is so tight NO ONE with my shoe size would enjoy or be comfortable sliding them on or off. It took tremendous work and will not be easier so that alone means they have to go back for alterations. 2nd problem is Russell doesn't know how to make a pattern. The quarter (top of foot) is so ridiculously long it makes me look like I'm wearing a size 20 literally. Why? Because they had a pattern for the lace area that was standard and they didn't extrapolate it for a larger size. So that has consequences; my foot is not secured above the arch by laces because all the laces are way back near the ankle and it makes it sloppy. Because the foot isn't properly secured because the pattern is bad, my heel sloshes around squeaking with each step. I wouldn't be able to sneak up on Helen Keller in these things.

I really don't know what to tell Russell about their boots. Ignoring the fact that they are the ugliest boot made and that the feet flop around literally like clown shoes, they still squeak and cannot be taken on and off easily.

Maybe other people will have different experiences but for me I find the Russell boots to be radically inferior to the Courteney boots in comfort, performance, price and looks.
 

edward

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Compare and contrast this:
Compare and contrast this:

I purchased a pair of size UK 14.5 Courteney boots that had to be custom made due to size. (roughly US 15.5) They made them to my specs with a tall combat boot height, but otherwise with the features and leather of a Selous boot. Total MSRP ~$400. Best fitting boot I've ever owned. Needed zero break in and wore them on safari the first day I got them in lieu of well broken in combat boots by Danner because the Courteney were a far better boot. They are the quietest boots I've ever owned and they are quite lightweight too. Courteney had to make a pattern by hand since I asked for a non-standard design in a non-standard size. They do that and they do it very well. I like these boots so much I bought a second pair I'll pick up in Zim next month. Another feature I love is the soft impala tongue gusset that is so thin and comfortable it never irritates, yet it opens up a long way down the boot so you can be sure to shake out any scorpions or snakes easily. It also allows a lot of airflow when you remove the boots to dry out so they never smell and are never damp from sweat the next day. Simply the perfect boot.

I then decide to try a pair of Russell Moccasins. Their bison PH model. MSRP ~$750. Turkey wedge sole. 8" height. I had several options added like the kangaroo gusset, d-ring speed laces, etc. They arrived this morning. First thing I attempted to put them on and the gussett is so tight NO ONE with my shoe size would enjoy or be comfortable sliding them on or off. It took tremendous work and will not be easier so that alone means they have to go back for alterations. 2nd problem is Russell doesn't know how to make a pattern. The quarter (top of foot) is so ridiculously long it makes me look like I'm wearing a size 20 literally. Why? Because they had a pattern for the lace area that was standard and they didn't extrapolate it for a larger size. So that has consequences; my foot is not secured above the arch by laces because all the laces are way back near the ankle and it makes it sloppy. Because the foot isn't properly secured because the pattern is bad, my heel sloshes around squeaking with each step. I wouldn't be able to sneak up on Helen Keller in these things.

I really don't know what to tell Russell about their boots. Ignoring the fact that they are the ugliest boot made and that the feet flop around literally like clown shoes, they still squeak and cannot be taken on and off easily.

Maybe other people will have different experiences but for me I find the Russell boots to be radically inferior to the Courteney boots in comfort, performance, price and looks.

I purchased a pair of size UK 14.5 Courteney boots that had to be custom made due to size. (roughly US 15.5) They made them to my specs with a tall combat boot height, but otherwise with the features and leather of a Selous boot. Total MSRP ~$400. Best fitting boot I've ever owned. Needed zero break in and wore them on safari the first day I got them in lieu of well broken in combat boots by Danner because the Courteney were a far better boot. They are the quietest boots I've ever owned and they are quite lightweight too. Courteney had to make a pattern by hand since I asked for a non-standard design in a non-standard size. They do that and they do it very well. I like these boots so much I bought a second pair I'll pick up in Zim next month. Another feature I love is the soft impala tongue gusset that is so thin and comfortable it never irritates, yet it opens up a long way down the boot so you can be sure to shake out any scorpions or snakes easily. It also allows a lot of airflow when you remove the boots to dry out so they never smell and are never damp from sweat the next day. Simply the perfect boot.

I then decide to try a pair of Russell Moccasins. Their bison PH model. MSRP ~$750. Turkey wedge sole. 8" height. I had several options added like the kangaroo gusset, d-ring speed laces, etc. They arrived this morning. First thing I attempted to put them on and the gussett is so tight NO ONE with my shoe size would enjoy or be comfortable sliding them on or off. It took tremendous work and will not be easier so that alone means they have to go back for alterations. 2nd problem is Russell doesn't know how to make a pattern. The quarter (top of foot) is so ridiculously long it makes me look like I'm wearing a size 20 literally. Why? Because they had a pattern for the lace area that was standard and they didn't extrapolate it for a larger size. So that has consequences; my foot is not secured above the arch by laces because all the laces are way back near the ankle and it makes it sloppy. Because the foot isn't properly secured because the pattern is bad, my heel sloshes around squeaking with each step. I wouldn't be able to sneak up on Helen Keller in these things.

I really don't know what to tell Russell about their boots. Ignoring the fact that they are the ugliest boot made and that the feet flop around literally like clown shoes, they still squeak and cannot be taken on and off easily.

Maybe other people will have different experiences but for me I find the Russell boots to be radically inferior to the Courteney boots in comfort, performance, price and looks.
i have to agree,my wife and i have been wearing courteneys since 2001.
 

Hank2211

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I have bought three pairs of boots from Russel's, and each time, they did the measuring. The first pair are great. The second didn't work, and the third was the triumph of hope over experience. They may work, but they are about 2/3" longer than the boots which fit me well. No reason for the difference I can think of - same person at SCI each time did the measuring!

I have also had Courtney Selous - and there is one - and only one - respect in which the Russel are superior. The Courtney taper down to the sole at the front. If you have toes which curve up - as I do - these are very tight and uncomfortable at the end, even when the right size. The Russel are the same width throughout, so don't have this problem.

You need to know what type of feet you have, and which type of boot will fit you best. They are not all interchangeable.
 

thriller

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cornteys are better for wide feet once you break them in the toe box is much wider than my custom fit russles
 

rookhawk

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Pictures worth a thousand words.

The custom Courteney versus the custom Russell.


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I've been happy with my Russell Boots other than they were having problems with gluing on soles for a while tha has been fixed. I'm wearing a 9.5 4E, does Courteney take measurements to make a boot fit my foot?
 

rookhawk

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I've been happy with my Russell Boots other than they were having problems with gluing on soles for a while tha has been fixed. I'm wearing a 9.5 4E, does Courteney take measurements to make a boot fit my foot?

You'd have to email Courteney directly and ask if you could send them a tracing or something. I know you'd be buyer beware, no returns on that deal and you'd have to wire transfer the funds over to Zim. Africansportingcreations won't get involved in custom orders of that nature because naturally they don't want to deal with unhappy customers and custom returns.

I'd be shocked if they wouldn't be able to fit you. Have you tried a standard pair to find out how wrong they are? It's much easier to say "I'll take the UK 8.5 D but make them 1/2" wider" or whatever the case might be.
 

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Might give me something to do over the summer
Looking forward to your hunt report..
Best of Luck
 

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I am a huge Courtney fan. I looked at the Russell's but in the end did not go with them. Too many reports like this one. also, African Sporting Creations made it easy.

I am such a fan I ended up getting them for my boys and my parents bought them too. I am almost embarrassed to turn up in Africa looking like a Courtney boot ad! Lol
 

Art Lambart II

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Rookhawk,

Yes those Russell boots are ugly and if they fit as poor as you say I'd send them back and demand for a refund. If my math is right you spent $1550 on 3 pair of hunting boots any chance you want to adopt a 52 year fellow hunter.
 

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Update:

I spoke to Russell boots today twice. The person I spoke to was Ralph who turns out to be the owner. After I sent him the pictures he conceded that the boots quarter (the top) is way too big and of course they aren't going to fit right on anyone. Amongst other issues.

I sent them back today for rebuild and replacement. I'll update my review when I get another pair in my hands.
 

rookhawk

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Rookhawk,

Yes those Russell boots are ugly and if they fit as poor as you say I'd send them back and demand for a refund. If my math is right you spent $1550 on 3 pair of hunting boots any chance you want to adopt a 52 year fellow hunter.

Hah Art. No adoptions forthcoming from this side. Two things you don't calculate into your assessment that I'm a highroller. (I'm not) 1.) When you're 6'9" and wear a size 15 shoe, you buy clothes and lots of them whenever you find something that works. I can literally go years without finding a particular clothing item and then I find one again. I'll buy 6 pairs of jeans and then none for ten years. $1000 for two pair of wellington boots so I have a 20 year supply. I just cant find clothes so I have to "invest" in clothing as there is no store that stocks my sizes consistently.

Second, I'm a cheapskate that likes the best. Courtney custom boots should be $550 but I get them in Zim and have my PH pick them up at the factory to save $220 a pair. Russell boots for $750? I won the gift certificate for the pair at an SCI silent auction. I'm always trying to bend down the cost curve. Always had champagne taste and a beer budget. Life is too short to not own the best so figure out how to own the best when you're not rich... a fun exercise.
 

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I ordered a pair of Joe's PH (size 14) from Russell in 2009 and they were perfect.
I just ordered a pair of Joof to be made from my Cape Buffalo hide....I'll let you know how they turn out.
 

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I ordered a pair of all leather PH II's with the Newporter sole (I believe $410 at the time) at SCI in 2014 for my 2015 safari. I received them about 9 months before the hunt and wore the hell out of them to insure no hot spots and such. The first day out of the box, I put approximately 8 miles on them, without a hint of discomfort. On the safari, I wore the boots a total of 17 days in the field and had no issues. Just enough room in the toe box for no issues on down hills, easy lacing adjustment for when your feet swell in the heat of the day, plus I have one calf that is a bit bigger then the other, so it was nice to have both boots fit correctly. To this day, they are one of the most comfortable pair of boots I've owned.

Granted, they will not win any beauty pageants, but my pair has certainly worked well for me and will be heading back to the Dark Continent with me in 2017.

Rookhawk,

I hope the second pair works out for you.

Mike
 

375 Ruger Fan

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I ordered a pair of Joe's PH (size 14) from Russell in 2009 and they were perfect.
I just ordered a pair of Joof to be made from my Cape Buffalo hide....I'll let you know how they turn out.

I hunted last year in Namibia with Joof Lamprecht, just a few months before he died. The Russell Joof Boot is named after him and was a design he suggested to Russell. My PH wore a pair and after looking at them, I don't think I would want a pair. The lower portion looks like a moccasin or a topsider, then it has the very tall upper, sort of like a snake boot. The lower portion is what turned me off, looked comfortable but no real ankle support. More of a shoe than a boot.

On my recent Eastern Cape hunt, I wore my Kenetrech Hardscrabble hiking boots. We did 15 km and 18 km of walking during the first two days and these boots were great. Probably a little more boot than needed for Africa, but they sure are comfortable. Kenetrech is also making a lighter boot, called the Safari. Might be worth looking at. These boots are made in Italy for Kenetrech.
 

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Thanks for sharing your experience, Ive always wondered how the other boots compared to the Courtney boots. I absolutely love my Courtney's
 

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It's interesting to see how original requirements shaped these two boots into what they are.

The overarching requirement was silence for stalking animals.

Moccasins win this hands down and that's what you'd wear if you were a Native American. However, in Africa it's too thorny so you need a sole to protect your foot. Enter the Clarke's desert boot that is silent and thorn resistent due to it having a sole. (The basis for a Courtney)

Now we all put our two cents in with other requirements that make the boots hard to make: durable, supportive, light, comfortable with socks, puncture proof. Before you know it we've got something that may not satisfy requirement numero uno anymore!
 

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You can't kill these ! I am currently trying. It's a thoroughly enjoyable undertaking
image.jpeg
 

rookhawk

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In an attempt to derail my own thread, have you ever noticed two weird things about footwear in Africa?

1.) The shoelaces on Courteney boots are the shoelace that EVERYONE in Zimbabwe has on their shoes regardless of brand? I think they literally have one shoelace company that controls the national market.

2.) Have you noticed that the only shoe polish in Zimbabwe is red/oxblood/cordovan? Everyone is wearing it. The boys at camp have ruby colored combat boots with their olive drab coveralls on. Cops have it. Roadworkers have it. It's just really strange. If you only had one shoe polish wouldn't it be black or brown? Not ruby red?
 

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I had Russel Bird Shooters years ago and gave them away. Unless I am going in the rocks I don't even wear boots anymore. Just New Balance
 

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