Who goes for shoes over boots?

CJW

AH enthusiast
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
475
Reaction score
653
So who hunts Africa in tennis shoes or heavy weight hiking shoes like Merrills or Keens? I would be hard pressed to not wear my wide comfy Altra Lone Peak trail runners.

I don't need or want ankle support and want breathability in the heat that leather and thick canvas doesn't have. I see PH's and trackers wearing sandals or converse yet some swear you need $300-400 Courtney's.

So who goes for shoes over boots?
 

Dewald

AH enthusiast
Joined
Aug 16, 2012
Messages
331
Reaction score
576
Location
Empangeni, Zululand
Media
98
Member of
KZN Hunters/ SAHGCA/
Hunted
South Africa, Namibia
Sometimes I hunt with Keen sandals or Salamon trail running shoes if the terrain allows it and it is hot.

Just remember that stick grass is not your friend with those, and then a boot above the ankle, and preferably with a gaiter over works well
 

baxterb

AH enthusiast
Joined
Jun 12, 2019
Messages
279
Reaction score
370
I've not hunted, but I spent 11 days in Kenya in Merrill Moabs. I stepped on an acacia thorn and it went right through the Vibram sole - which really surprised me. I'd wear Moabs again.


but i also like my Courtneys... ;-)
 

Kevin Peacocke

AH elite
Joined
Feb 10, 2018
Messages
1,485
Reaction score
3,552
Location
Harare Zimbabwe
Media
57
Articles
1
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Member of
Cleveland Gun Club
Hunted
Zimbabwe, SouthAfrica
Nice idea CJW, but just not practical. Grass and thorns abound, especially in the dry winter months, and a spike through the soul can put paid to your hunt enjoyment. The other reason to go with Courteney style tractor souls is quietness, I dont know why, but they are quiet. By the way Courteney now makes a canvas boot too, it is quite a bit cheaper. That could just be the compromise you are after.
 

Kevin Peacocke

AH elite
Joined
Feb 10, 2018
Messages
1,485
Reaction score
3,552
Location
Harare Zimbabwe
Media
57
Articles
1
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Member of
Cleveland Gun Club
Hunted
Zimbabwe, SouthAfrica
Nice idea CJW, but just not practical. Grass and thorns abound, especially in the dry winter months, and a spike through the soul can put paid to your hunt enjoyment. The other reason to go with Courteney style tractor souls is quietness, I dont know why, but they are quiet. By the way Courteney now makes a canvas boot too, it is quite a bit cheaper. That could just be the compromise you are after.
8698F5BC-3C38-4DC4-97C9-5CE312081BF3.jpeg
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Nkawu

AH enthusiast
Joined
Mar 8, 2018
Messages
259
Reaction score
251
Location
Currently in the UK, from South Africa
Media
14
Articles
1
Member of
KZN Hunting Shooting & Conservation
Hunted
South Africa, Zimbabwe, Sweden
I have hunted barefoot, with Rocky sandals, Salomon trail running shoes, and my Courteney Safari's. I'd say your choice of footwear depends on the anticipated terrain and type of hunting you plan to do and maybe also time of year. I bow hunted barefoot sticking only to well worn game trails and taking care of each step. I've worn sandals in the height of summer and also pouring rain. Trail running shoes are all I had visiting a friends farm for a few days. As others have mentioned a big thorn like a Camel Thorn or Sickle Bush, that can pop a car tyre, will really ruin your day when it's an inch deep in your foot. Take a few different options and see what works for you. Also speak to your PH to get an idea of the terrain. I wear my courteneys daily as an exploration geologist for work in Southern Africa as well as for my hunting because they are the coolest boot I've worn in the heat and afford my feet the best protection. The are also the toughest boot I've yet tried.
 

375Fox

AH fanatic
Joined
Feb 19, 2020
Messages
684
Reaction score
1,512
Location
Pennsylvania
Media
65
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Hunted
Zambia, Namibia, South Africa
I stepped on an acacia thorn and it went right through the Vibram sole - which really surprised me.
This is my biggest concern now with footwear, I haven’t had any fully puncture yet, but had more than a few stuck to really make me think. I’ve only hunted in shoes once until my bags arrived, I wear boots on way over now.
 

MMAL

Gold supporter
AH fanatic
Joined
Jan 5, 2016
Messages
624
Reaction score
1,083
Location
New Jersey
Media
52
Hunting reports
Africa
3
Hunted
New Jersey, New York, Wyoming, Colorado, Mexico, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Northwest Territories, Newfoundland, Namibia
I agree, I have Merrill low rise mesh hikers and Courtney. My Courtney’s have a built in top gaitor thus I wear them with shorts and wear the hikers and other gaitors with long pants.
 

Nyati

AH ambassador
Joined
Jan 15, 2011
Messages
7,973
Reaction score
3,449
Location
Madrid, Spain
Media
117
Hunting reports
Africa
6
Europe
1
Member of
RFEC, RFETO
Hunted
Spain, Finland, RSA ( KwaZulu Natal, Limpopo, North West, Northern Cape, Free State ).
I don´t want ankle support or a heavy boot either.

So far, seven Safaris, all of them with light breathable hiking shoes, those I break in by wearing daily on my long walks. Worn with low gaiters.

I carry two pairs, a light one for traveling and camp, and a stouter one for hunting.
 

baxterb

AH enthusiast
Joined
Jun 12, 2019
Messages
279
Reaction score
370
Good comment on ankle support. I’ve gotten so that the only time I want a full, rigid upper and sole is for a) hunting chukar in the rocks, and b) if I anticipate a heavy (more than 50 lbs) load when hauling meat.

i can’t prove it, but I think since I’ve worn low shoes more often when on relatively rugged ground my ankles are more stable due to the constant flexing versus having to rely on the boot.
 

CJW

AH enthusiast
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
475
Reaction score
653
Nice idea CJW, but just not practical. Grass and thorns abound, especially in the dry winter months, and a spike through the soul can put paid to your hunt enjoyment. The other reason to go with Courteney style tractor souls is quietness, I dont know why, but they are quiet. By the way Courteney now makes a canvas boot too, it is quite a bit cheaper. That could just be the compromise you are after.

Practicality is subjective I guess, though I do understand the concern about prickly things. My only other concern would be a mountain hunt with loose rocky terrain. I have first hand experience with it tearing up even leather and heavy cordura. Lightweight nylon shoes wouldn't last very long. I don't have any experience with acacia thorns but I know how nasty honey locust thorns are.

Those canvas Courtney's look very nice.
 
Last edited:

CJW

AH enthusiast
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
475
Reaction score
653
Good comment on ankle support. I’ve gotten so that the only time I want a full, rigid upper and sole is for a) hunting chukar in the rocks, and b) if I anticipate a heavy (more than 50 lbs) load when hauling meat.

i can’t prove it, but I think since I’ve worn low shoes more often when on relatively rugged ground my ankles are more stable due to the constant flexing versus having to rely on the boot.

I would say you are likely correct about your ankles being stronger. Keeping your muscles, tendons and ligaments strong takes away the need for any outside support in most situations. Protection from rocks when side hilling is another story. For most people I believe the extra ankle support/stiffness does more harm than good.

Hiking boots used to be the accepted norm but go check out the PCT or Appalachian Trail and see how many boots pass by you. People have woken up to the practicality of strong ankles and breathable lightweight shoes. 1600 miles on the PCT and I recall one blister and a few hotspots on my toes.
 

Tbitty

AH veteran
Joined
Nov 26, 2019
Messages
155
Reaction score
360
Location
Texas
Media
15
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Hunted
RSA
I took along both a good pair of boots and my Keen "hiking" shoes for my safari. Boots never came out of the bag and the shoes were great on all terrain. I did get some thorns that poked into the sole, but none that went through it, and pulled them out with pliers each evening at camp.

I'd say it's a matter of preference. For me, it was warm enough to enjoy the light shoes, they were softer for the terrain, and I wasn't worried about the thorns or needing ankle support.
 
  • Like
Reactions: CJW

fourfive8

AH elite
Joined
Apr 27, 2017
Messages
1,805
Reaction score
3,091
Media
234
Hunted
USA, South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana
Nice idea CJW, but just not practical. Grass and thorns abound, especially in the dry winter months, and a spike through the soul can put paid to your hunt enjoyment. The other reason to go with Courteney style tractor souls is quietness, I dont know why, but they are quiet. By the way Courteney now makes a canvas boot too, it is quite a bit cheaper. That could just be the compromise you are after.
Agree 100%. Everyone says how noisy the "tyre" tread soles are... but I have not found that to be the case at all. While no sole fully compensates for walking on that problematic sand of the Kalahari, the Courteney tyre tread does about as well as any. I have Courtney's with both the tyre tread and the intermediate tread soles and both are practical, tough and comfortable. The only downside I notice with either tread is that it can pick up the occasional small gravel and track onto a hard surface like your home's floor :) But in the field.... no issue at all. Guaranteed, low-cut shoes are asking for grass and thorns in the socks. And gaiters won’t help low cuts. Debris in socks or footwear is most iuncomfortable and will drive you crazy!

Courteney's are not stiff, mountain/rock climbing boots and neither are they meant to be- so ankle support ??? I’ve never had ankle support issues other than some foot wear has a propensity to roll over which I think is sometimes confused with lack of ankle support. I’ve never had either model roll over. The Safari model could be called a low cut boot and I’d call the Selous a medium. The Safari and Selous models I have are top quality and provide protection from thorns or most anything sharp. I recommend the use of gaiters. I like the regular cinch up draw string gaiters, IIRC, they’re made of supple impala.
 

CJW

AH enthusiast
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
475
Reaction score
653
Guaranteed, low-cut shoes are asking for grass and thorns in the socks. And gaiters won’t help low cuts.

That isn't true. If the gaiters are made right there should be no problem but they have to be tight to your skin around the top and secure to your shoe in the front and back. I put 1600 miles on my Dirty Girl Gaiters https://dirtygirlgaiters.com/ and low cut shoes and only had an issue when they started falling apart after hundreds of miles. They are probably built too light for hunting Africa but the same concept could be applied to canvas or heavy nylon gaiters.

I will agree that grit in your shoes is most uncomfortable. The worst foot problem I had was when my gaiters started failing and let sand into the torn fabric behind my heel. It rubbed my skin raw and got infected to the point of green puss inside. I treated it multiple times a day with triple antibiotic for a few days and kept it as clean as possible.
 

Tra3

AH fanatic
Joined
Jan 22, 2019
Messages
968
Reaction score
1,617
Location
Minneapolis, MN
Media
18
Member of
SCI
Hunted
Namibia
I brought Saucony trail running shoes and Courtney’s. I wore the Courtney’s because of the combo of terrain (abrasive, rocks, thorns, etc)
I usually hunt NA antelope in trail running shoes because it really is a fast walking and or jogging type of hunt. The only drawback is when your foot compresses if it expands outside of the sole material it increases the risk of cactus ouchy pokes. The Courtney’s are light enough that they are a good trade off.
As an avid runner (even in the winter) I am picky about foot care. A trail running shoe will work right up to the first thorn.
 

CJW

AH enthusiast
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
475
Reaction score
653
The only drawback is when your foot compresses if it expands outside of the sole material it increases the risk of cactus ouchy pokes.

Have you tried Altra shoes. They have the widest foot bed I've ever seen but in a good way. I look at them and wonder why all shoes aren't made the same way. They might give you more margin for error.
 

baxterb

AH enthusiast
Joined
Jun 12, 2019
Messages
279
Reaction score
370
Have you tried Altra shoes. They have the widest foot bed I've ever seen but in a good way. I look at them and wonder why all shoes aren't made the same way. They might give you more margin for error.


A good friend has a pair of these - he has box feet like me and loves them. They do look a bit different, but when you have duck feet - fashion be damned!
 

Tra3

AH fanatic
Joined
Jan 22, 2019
Messages
968
Reaction score
1,617
Location
Minneapolis, MN
Media
18
Member of
SCI
Hunted
Namibia
I haven’t tried Altra, but the am familiar with them. Saucony fits my feet so well I am stuck with them: 4 pairs of running shoes a year.

I use kuiu gators which are great. The leather Courtney gators are good, and quieter, but not as comfortable as the Kuiu ones.

I’ve hiked/run portions of the superior national trail in Mn. I’d love to get in some of the PCT.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
37,619
Messages
718,798
Members
67,232
Latest member
AdrianGool
 

 

 

Latest posts

Latest profile posts

Cervus elaphus wrote on Bob Nelson 35Whelen's profile.
Hi Bob, how's things going in Wyong?. Down your way a couple of years back but haven't been in NSW since Ebor for the fishing. just getting over some nasty storms up here in Qld, seeing the sun for the first time in a few days. I'm going to NZ in the spring and hope to clean up a few buns while there and perhaps shake the spiders out of my old .303LE (currently owned by my BIL). Cheers Brian
A couple pictures of the sable i chased for miles in Mozambique, Coutada 9!! We finally caught up to him and I had the trophy of a lifetime. Mokore Safaris, Doug Duckworth PH
sable Coutada 9.JPG
sable 2 - Coutada 9.JPG
Safari Dave wrote on egrmpty507's profile.
Did you purchase your hunt at a US SCI fundraiser?
uplander01 wrote on colorado's profile.
Heard you may have load data for the 500 Jeffery,.....any info would be appreciated. Was thinking 535gr, but already had a response that the 570gr would be a better way to go, not sure why.
Rickmt wrote on Leica Sport Optics's profile.
will Leica Amplus 6-2.5x15x50 fit on a pro success Blaser with low mount?
 
Top