Kenetrek Mountain Extreme 400 Review
By Ben Blakeley
The picture above was taken a few weeks ago right before I hiked up a fairly steep bush-covered hill to a water hole to set a trail camera. The Kenetrek Mountain Extreme 400’s have taken me many such places, and I’ve logged hundreds of miles in them, from hunting and scouting the high country, backpacking in to new areas to get the lay of the land and try to find a big buck, shed hunting in the snow and mud across several states, and everywhere in between. I have worn these boots for any and all outdoor activities for over 2 years now, and while the wear and tear is starting to show, they’re definitely still going strong.
Instead of starting out by listing the manufacturer’s specs on the boots (you can find these pretty easy with a quick Google search), I’ll get right into my personal experiences with them.
Initial fit and break-in
These have been my first ‘high-end’ pair of hunting boots. Prior to these, I had Asolo boots, and while they were pretty decent boots, I figured if I’m going to hunt/backpack/scout in all sorts of terrain and weather, I needed a pair of boots that can stand up to whatever I’m going to encounter. The Asolo’s I’d been using had many of the qualities that I wanted, but they definitely weren’t water-proof, they weren’t insulated, and the sole wasn’t as stiff as I’d like and resulted in my foot shifting in the foot bed and getting sore while side-hilling or hiking in extremely uneven terrain. I remember one general season deer hunt I used them on, it had snowed early, and while that is what most people long for so that the bucks will be moving more, I simply remember having cold feet for most of the hunt. So after that season, I determined that my next gear upgrade had to be a better pair of boots. There were two main reasons I selected the Kenetrek Mountain Extreme 400’s:
- A local sporting goods store had them in stock so that I could try them on and see how they fit before buying (this is crucial!).
- A recommendation from a friend who’d used them for years and really liked them.
Now, I would highly recommend that when making such an important decision such as what new hunting boots to buy, that you put more into your research and selection of boots than I did at the time! But, as luck would have it, I feel that I ended up with a definite winner with these boots. I will say that for me personally, I’ve found over the years and through trying on many different pairs of shoes/boots for running, basketball, and hiking, that my feet aren’t very ‘picky’ for lack of a better term; I’ve never had a pair of shoes or boots that I can remember that I just couldn’t wear due to extreme fit or discomfort issues. Call it luck or call it ignorance, but I feel I’ve been pretty lucky in that respect.
Anyway, trying on the Kenetreks was really important to me. My general rule back then and still to this day is that if I put a boot on straight out of the box, lace it up and walk around in it and feel any immediate discomfort, this is not the boot for me. Now, I have since modified this test to take it even a step further in order to mimic a real life situation on the mountain: the first thing I would do after buying a new pair of boots is lace them up and walk up some stairs. If you feel painful amounts of pressure on your heels, take them back, because these are not the right boots for you. That pressure and pain you feel on your heels will not go away even after a long break in period and will always be there when you climb. Continue reading