Jul 25, 2012, 1:01 AM EDT
By Bill Miller
One of the surest ways to ruin a hunting trip, for me any way, would be to step on a snake. Just the thought of it sends a shiver up my spine. A rattlesnake or a moccasin would be terrible, but even stepping on a boa would likely send me 10 feet straight in the air. However, this fall I plan on strapping on boots that incorporate Boa Technology, and no, they are not snake skin cowboy boots.
I’ll be sharing this in common with more than 70 riders in this year’s Tour de France as well as golfers on the PGA Tour! And as this footwear breakthrough works its way into more and more boots built for hunters, I’ll be sharing it with more of my camarads in camo.
Boa Closure Systems are now used in more than 8 million products worldwide including shoes, boots, medical braces, equipment and nearly anything that “performs.” It’s a proprietary closure system of steel lace, nylon guides and a mechanical reel that replaces the knot it took you so long to learn before you went to kindergarten. The simple turn of a dial provides a custom fit far exceeding what you can obtain with old-fashioned laces or hook and loop fasteners.
The Boa System isn’t limited to the area of your boot in front of the tongue. It surrounds the entire foot to provide a secure, comfortable, slip-free fit. It’s difficult to describe until you feel it for yourself, but if you ever skied, it’s similar to the feeling of confidence and performance you experience when you lock into a custom-made pair of ski boots. Not the bulkiness or stiffness, but the comfort and security.
It’s truly a wraparound system (therefore the name) that’s finding it’s way into all kinds of outdoor equipment. Though not yet in hunting packs (that I could find any way) it’s working its way into customizing the fit of high-tech climbing and mountaineering packs.
The first place I saw Boa Technology was on the back cover of last fall’s LL Bean Bird Hunters Catalog. There was shown a new pair of boots called the Bean Tech Upland Boot that kind of looked like space boots for the bird hunter. I was intrigued, especially since among my favorite bird hunting boots is a pair of the original LL Bean Hunting Shoes. This year the Upland version is joined by the Tech Big Game boots as well.
A little research revealed Boa Technology is working its way into all kinds of work and hunting boots particularly for mountain hunting scenarios. Familiar names like Redwing, Bean, Scentblocker, Simms and Cabela’s are all offering footwear models incorporating Boa Technology.
So far I’ve acquired a pair of the Bean Tech Upland Boots and pair of the Redwing work boots. In putting them on and wearing around the home place, I can tell you they are comfortable and truly customizable. You wear them 10-15 minutes, then cinch them up a bit and your feet feel instantly at ease. I believe there will be a big advantage in adjusting to different weights and types of socks as well.
Of course the real story will be told when hunting season rolls around. And I plan on sharing that story right here!