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Shooting boots: four of the best

A high lace-up boot is just the ticket for crossing country while shooting says Richard Negus, who rounds up four of the best on the market

Best boots for shooting with high laces

Richard Negus reviews four pairs of high ankle boots in a variety of activities including hedge laying and fishing

Big boots are still of great importance to us shooting types. Our sport takes us off-piste, into the realms of knee-high heather and peat hags, marshy bog or impenetrable scrub. Wellingtons might keep your feet dry yet few, if any, provide the ankle support required for crossing truly rugged country.  (See our list of the best shooting wellies.) Meanwhile, most lace-ups are just too short; the moment you step in anything deeper than a puddle, you find your socks are soaked and cold, wet feet is your lot for the rest of the day. The best of both worlds can be found in a high lace-up boot, and these are four of the best shooting boots on the market.

Four of the best shooting boots

Irish Setter Pinnacle best shooting boots

Irish Setter Pinnacle

1.Irish Setter Pinnacle

Around £260 Footwear Country 

If the Pinnacle were a vehicle it would be one of those massive Ford pickups from the 1960s — work worn, a bit ugly, yet still going strong after 250,000 miles. At 27cm high these are the shortest boots on trial, yet felt a touch cumbersome. The Pinnacle’s outers are crafted primarily from nubuck in an earth shade. To the touch they feel tough with no hint of the flimsiness that one often associates with this type of leather.

Irish Setter is justifiably proud of its leather quality, and although these boots are made in Vietnam, the hides used are all American. The boots boast Armatec material that reinforces points of wear at the toe, ankle and back of the heel. A small ring is stitched into the bridge of the foot, one assumes for attaching gaiters. The boots are certainly waterproof, using an UltraDry system. I waded into a lake while landing a trout and no leaks occurred. The insides are snug, indeed they feel slightly narrow at first wear, but after an hour or two they gave slightly and a five-mile walk with the dogs was comfortably accomplished.

A five-mile dog walk proves no trouble for the waterproof Pinnacle

The insulation, 90% of which is made from recycled plastic bottle tops, was hard to test in spring, but if you suffer from bromodosis (smelly feet in English) they boast a ‘Scentban’ layer. The eight eyelets are strong and well fixed, as are the ‘EnerG’ soles that seem well bonded to the uppers with plenty of tread. Notably, the tongue feels lightweight compared to the rest of the sturdy construction and the laces are simply too short to tie a double knot.

Conclusion: Well made, if a little spartan

Rating 8/10

Harkila Driven Hunt

The Driven Hunt are the tallest boots on test and feel lightweight to wear

2.Härkila Driven Hunt 2.0 GTX

RRP £399.99

The Driven Hunt 2.0 GTX reminds me of a Volvo 200 estate, the one you could fit a grandfather clock in and still have space for a pack of beagles. However, unlike dependable yet staid 1980s Swedish automotive design, these Swedish boots are hi-tech, slightly funky and not beige.

The Driven Hunt are prodigiously tall with 10 eyelets, which is possibly overkill for carpet slipper Guns. If, however, you are more of an up hill and down dale rough tough shooter, these may be just the ticket. The original incarnation of these boots had a somewhat mixed reputation for quality, but now rebooted (sorry about that) they feel more robust, not to mention Härkila guarantees them for two years.

Harkila Driven Hunt

Harkila Driven Hunt

At 930g they are lighter than the Irish Setters, due I think to the soles being a tough yet light Vibram. The uppers are supple, full-grained dark brown leather, reinforced at the toe, heel and welt with what feels like a man-made material; there is also a flexible pad at the Achilles tendon. The greater protection and support your feet and lower legs receive from these high-leg boots does engender an initial sensation of restriction, yet after very little wearing in, all starts to feel quite natural. The Gore-Tex lining is completely waterproof, and the insulation is as snug as your favourite jacket.

Härkila includes a tin of its mink oil leather care to keep the quality outers in good nick. Fit seemed excellent and when you tighten the generous laces the boots seem to mould to your foot with no pinches or nips. I liked these more than I thought I would.

Conclusion: Robust and supportive — ideal for rough shooting

Rating 8.5/10


Dedito Moorland

The Dedito Moorland may break from tradition, but they’re hard to beat

3. Dedito Moorland

RRP £229

Think of an Isuzu D-Max, but with a Bugatti engine under the bonnet, then imagine that this auto hybrid is in boot form — enter the Dedito Moorland. I have owned two pairs of these Anglo-Italian boots in a little over six years. The first, after four seasons of daily hard wear, succumbed when my spaniel Mabel chewed the tongue out. The second pair were going strong as my go-to work and shooting boot until Mabel’s daughter Blyth ate them. Hedge-laying is, I would argue, one of the toughest tests of a boot there is (spaniel teeth withstanding) yet the Moorlands lap up the punishment with a masochist’s relish.

They are a high boot at 28cm tall, with uppers crafted from a single piece of nubuck leather, then covered by a PU coating that is akin to armour plating. Toe and welts are further toughened by a rubber bumper. I am not entirely sure what PU stands for — ‘practically unbreakable’ I imagine, because Moorlands shrug off anything from the sharpest thorn to jagged rocks, even a mistimed slash from a billhook. This Vibram sole is firmer than Härkila’s version, stemming from the boot’s DNA as footwear for the uplands. Their Gore-Tex layer guarantees superb waterproof properties and a clever Velcro strap holds the laces and tongue in place, a well-designed feature with a nod to alpine boots.

Cleaning is simplicity itself; you hose off, squash a few sheets of newspaper into the toes and leave overnight to dry upside down in your kitchen (or shed if your spouse gets cross). If I had to criticise them, they aren’t the lightest and some may find the PU coating a break from traditional leather boots, but who cares if they look a little quirky? The Moorland is a boot for the adventurous sportsman not a King’s Road flâneur, and at this fair price they are near unbeatable.

Conclusion: Well-designed, near-indestructible boots at a fair price

Rating 9.5/10

Cervo Rosso

The Cervo Rosso is a classical hunting boot

4. Brandecosse Cervo Rosso

RRP £349

It would be all too easy to liken these to a Ferrari, but the Cervo Rosso are more a Bentley, a Brooklands Bentley at that, with superchargers and calf leather seats. They are a classy looking number, appearing like the footwear great hunters such as Bunny Allen or Teddy Roosevelt would’ve espoused. Yet while the Cervo Rosso are in many ways classical hunting boots, they still incorporate modern features.

The immaculately tanned 2.6mm single piece leather upper is strengthened around the toe by a rubber cap. The Vibram Teton outsole is stitched Norwegian-style to the welt, meaning it is fully replaceable. With this wider tread comes even more stability over rocky going. They feature a waterproof and breathable Sympatex lining and, at 30cm tall, little wonder that when I gave them the full immersion test in a lake, my feet remained dry. Like the Dedito Moorland, the Cervo Rosso boast high-quality roller eyelets that finish just behind the bend in your toes, a distinct nod to alpine climbing boots. These are the heaviest of the four best shooting boots on trial yet perfectly balanced, and the level of all-round foot and ankle support they give is remarkable.

Cervo Rosso best shooting boots

The wide tread offers stability, while the lining is waterproof and breathable

A word of warning, however; if you try driving in them, it pays to unlace and miss out the hook where your ankle flexes, otherwise it is all too easy to find yourself careering along, unable to brake. Yet these boots are made for walking, not driving, and they are notably comfy from the moment they come out of the box. Yes they will take some care to keep in top condition, but the Brandecosse leather care kit is comprehensive and easy to use, no need for dubbing or goose grease. All Brandecosse boots are a class act and these are their classiest. Definitely deserve a place in my list of the best shooting boots.

Conclusion: Good-looking with top-quality features

Rating 9/10