Harkila Big Game BOA GTX 8” boots
- By Chris Parkin
- 1 Comments
- Last updated: 18/01/2017
These new Big Game GTX boots feature the cunning BOA lacing system launched recently by Harkila. The GTX’s show 2.4mm full-grain Nubuck leather upper, labelled as ‘Memory Fit’, in a discreet two-tone brown. The sole is another step away from the norm, being Harkila’s own unit designed inhouse with a dual density moulding using recycled materials, rather than the regularly encountered Vibram units we so often see. A textured rand rises upwards around the toe and heel to offer abrasion resistance at the critical upper/sole junction and, guaranteed 100% waterproof and breathable thanks to a Gore- Tex membrane, it incorporates anti-microbial elements with the breathability to assist cooling and odour control.
A padded ‘Ortho’ foot bed combines with a wicking soft mesh liner. It is relatively flexible in the toe section to offer a delicate feel when stalking, but around the rear is stiff and durable for ankle support and will haul in especially tightly if needed. With a tongue joined to the boot up to an inch of the tallest point, submersion waterproofing is assured but here is where things start to appear very differently. Rather than the usual lacing system we have all experienced since childhood, the BOA system is a single plastic-coated steel wire that runs through nylon guides. Coupled to a dial on the face of the tongue, slip your foot in and click the dial down then rotate it against a ratchet until the desired tension is reached. To remove the boots, just pull the dial directly away from the tongue and the boot will virtually tear off your foot as the unlocking is tallied with a direct force to draw the wire loose.
I found the very open and flexible double-density EVA outer sole to offer good grip and shed mud easily in boggy conditions and the boot, as promised, shed mud well from the lacing system. They were comfortable and quiet to walk in although the ratchet is a little ‘clickety-click’ indiscreet when fastening the boot. The BOA system alleviates any tight spots in the boot but conversely won’t allow you to concentrate tension where you want it as a lace can, but this is where Harkila’s upper design has programmed in stiffness specifically where it is needed.
Getting the boots on and off one-handed was lightning fast and makes them ideal for any situation where full-support is needed quickly and the soles were slim and even around the sides to avoid snagging too many brambles. Driving wasn’t a problem, but when wet the boots did have a tendency to be a little bit squeaky where the steel-cored wire strained within the nylon guides.
The GTX’s have remained waterproof with excellent breathability through four warm months’ use and the stability and tensioning capabilities they offer were well-appreciated by me as they arrived with me during recovery from a previous ankle injury.
Priced at £249.99, the GTXs are available in a full range of sizes from UK4-16 T: 07887 997788 www.harkilauk.co.uk