Chris Parkin puts the 9” 400g Deer Stalker boots from Gateway to the test and finds a great mid-stiffness boot perfect for mid-season stalking

credit: Archant


LIKES: Medium underfoot stiffness; Excellent arch support from the mid/insole

DISLIKES: The round laces are quite thin when tensioning but this is allied to Sympatex’s specifications

OVERALL: Another good boot design from Gateway continuing their superb underfoot supporting role at modest cost

RRP: £149.99

SIZES: US sizes 6-14 (which works at 5-13 UK) with some half sizes mid-range

CONTACT: Koolbox 01509 233333

credit: Archant


Gateway1’s (G1) 9” Deer Stalker is a mid-priced boot with characteristic styling from a brand often associated with wellies. The boot is a 100% waterproof 2mm full-grain leather in deep brown alongside + 900D Cordura, for a comfort rating down to -15°C. Gateway1 have used their G1 Athletic Fit design with a slightly narrower footprint for improved ‘give’ in the boot’s upper, allowing for an easier bedding-in process.

They have an intermediate aggression Stalker outersole, suiting mid-season wear, without the full stiffness and rigidity of a super firm boot, offering quieter, tactile foot placement with a more deft feel in woodland rather than rocky hillsides. The footbed is consistent throughout, with enhanced flexibility at the toes.

Sympatex Lunar+ G1 Memory Fit lines the boot, aiding breathability and comfort with an insulating EVA midsole that aids underfoot with higher than average arch support, a feature I’m finding more important as I get older.

400g of 3M Thinsulate provides the insulation, along with a durable build with plentiful neat stitching which complements bonded joints where glue alone can often lack the necessary durability between leather and rubber.

credit: Archant

The reinforced, stitched rubber rand wraps the boot entirely and gives protection to toes, with a bonded, rather than welted, outer sole, with a tread depth of 3mm. The fit is slightly on the generous side for the prescribed size.

The 9” overall height features 8” at the front of the cuff with 7” at the rear; the inner tongue liner rises 6” from the insole to aid resist water resistance. The laces are a bit thin at 4mm, but they aren’t hard to replace if you wish to – the reason for this is that Sympatex require laces to be rated as non-wicking for four hours, rather than the industry-standard two hours, and skinnier laces wick less moisture! The laces run in four eyelets with four fast-fit lace locks at the ankle.

I found the boot extremely comfortable in the warm (up to 20°C), dry, dusty conditions of this spring and they stood up well to abrasions from stony ground. They were a little stiff in the ankle cuff at first, but have now softened and caused no blistering. The excellent taller heel design, coupled with the multi-panel flexible Cordura above, give the wearer a bit of flex in awkward shooting positions, as well as comfort while driving.

The waterproof membrane should suit wet ground, but I can’t honestly vouch for that given the incredibly dry spring we have been enjoying.

Sizes: US sizes 6-14 (which equates to 5-13 UK) with some half sizes.