Good footwear is essential equipment for the outdoors, but not all boots are created equal. The very best boots provide support and protection in the field and last for years, and even though they cost a bit more initially the long-term value of high-quality footwear is very high. Like marathon runners and endurance hikers, hunters are very particular about what they put on their feet, and with good reason. Boots can make a hunt and, conversely, they can ruin the experience.
I don’t often promote specific brands, but I’m making an exception. Six years ago, I purchased a pair of Courteney Vellie Boots. Pronounced Fellies, the word actually comes from the Afrikaans word veldskoen, or “field shoe.” Vellies are comprised of animal leather uppers and strong leather footbeds that are impervious to thorns and sharp rocks. You’re unlikely to see vellies in too many places outside southern Africa, but they are a regional favorite. I’ve worn my Courteney Vellies on four continents and they’ve served me exceptionally well, from campfires and game fields in the Kalahari Desert to Argentina’s dove fields to estates in Europe where I’ve worn them quail hunting.
Although my Vellie boots have been very durable and remain so, I decided it was time for a new pair. I opted for a pair of buffalo-hide Safari boots from Courteney which, like my Vellies, are hand-built in Zimbabwe. Built with the same attention to detail as their other boots, the Safari is an ideal all-around boot for warm, dry weather. If you’re looking for Courteney boots in the United States, I recommend contacting African Sporting Creations at http://www.africansportingcreations.com. Jim and his team will help you find the right boots for you, and I hope they carry you to as many wonderful and exotic places as I have been in my own Courteney boots.