People who don’t hunt will never understand the excitement we experience when we get new
accumulated over the years and I still get a kick out of buying the latest ” must have “. Unfortunately
most of the gear gets used a couple of times , deemed unfit for purpose and banished to my “stuff”
room , never to be used again . Boots are a particular weakness I have . I’ve spent thousands of euros
over the years on the supposedly best hill boots on the market , but with good reason . As a stalking
Guide in Wicklow I am working on rough mountainous ground on a daily basis and all the shot animals
are packed out in rucksacks , so good boots are probably the most important piece of kit I need .
When I’m discussing clothing with the team of hunters I work with the conversation always reverts
to boots . They need to have rigid sole and thick leather to provide support ; be waterproof ,
breathable , durable , lightweight and above all , comfortable enough to wear all day every day . I was
familiar with the name Bestard and their great reputation for honouring their lifetime warranty and
as someone who is particularly hard on their boots this had sparked an interest . Unfortunately
without a supplier here in Ireland I never had the opportunity to try them so the familiar ” new kit “
buzz was well in place when the guys at Ballistech started importing them to Ireland and the UK .
I picked up a pair of the Explorer BG3 back in September and was immediately impressed with the
design but was reluctant to write a review until the end of the hunting season . My intention was to
wear Bestard occasionally until I had a good idea of what they were like , but I haven’t worn any
other boot since the day i bought them . They are exceptional and i have no hesitation in reviewing
them earlier than intended .
The locking system on the laces is a really trick idea that works well . Other manufacturers also use it
and it works really well . You can tighten the laces on lower , foot section of the boot , lock the
tension and then have a looser or tighter tension on the upper , ankle section . And found this
particularly useful during the ” break in ” period of the boots . Long boots can cause shin pain as they
break in and being able to have this upper section looser was a huge help . Another simple but great
feature is the very bottom lace eye let which is of open design rather than closed ridged one .
When the boots are new this bears no effect but as any boot wears , the leather moves from
constant use , the bottom eye let has sunk into the leather , replacing the laces without
damaging them can be very tricky . The bottom eye let on the Explorer avoids this problem easily .
For there size the Explorer are light . I haven’t weighed them but they feel lighter than other similar
brands which helps to make them more comfortable . I was initially concerned the the light weight
may be a sign of poor materials and they wouldn’t stand up to the job but this hasn’t being the case .
The semi-rigid sole has provided ample grip and stability . They are quiet a roomy boot which I like .
They cope well with a wide foot and a thick sock . The leather outer has proved to give the right
amount of support even when carrying a heavy pack on rough ground and after four months of
constant use the boots have not lost there shape and a quick clean brings them up as almost new .
Waterproofness and breathability via the goretex liner has also being excellent .
Probably the best compliment I can pay the Explorers is that when wearing them I never thing about
them . with other boots I’ve used on the mountain my feet have become sore and uncomfortable
but with the Bestards , even after a long day on the hill carrying a heavy pack , my feet are fine and
I’m in hurry to get them off . If I were to make one small change it would be to have slightly less
insulation in the boots . It’s purely a personal observation that they can be slightly warm during times
of heavy exertion but my negative may well be a positive to other hunters looking for a warm boot .
In short they are a dam good boot that become my “go to” footwear this season and they
more than stand up to the bigger brands in terms of comfort and quality , and with super warranty
that shows the confidence they have in there products , I have no doubt they will last .