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Emily Damment puts the Härkila Saxnas GTX boots through their paces
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Just as my trusty old stalking boots gave up on me, and the Gorilla Glue holding them together finally admitted defeat, the lovely folk at Härkila sent me a surprise in the post – the Saxnas GTX boots. It was ages ago that I went for a visit and suggestively ooh-ed and ahh-ed at the range of women’s hunting boots on offer, and I’d all but forgotten the promise to send some for testing, so the arrival of these beauties, the day before I headed off to Suffolk to film with deer manager Chris Rogers, was very welcome.
The medium height (6") boots are made from high-quality nubuck leather, which has a soft, matt finish to it. This, it turns out, is ideal for stalking because you never get that dreaded 'squeak, squeak' as you creep along trying your best to be quiet, which is something I’ve experienced when the shiny sort of leather gets damp and dries out again without being oiled.
Inside, the boots have a Gore-Tex Sierra waterproof membrane (tested by Seeland in a water bath to ensure effectiveness) and some super comfy, squishy cushioning, particularly around the heel and ankle area. Having done a little research online I also discovered that – unlike some brands – Härkila’s women’s boots are not just a smaller version of the men’s equivalent, but have been carefully designed and tailored to best fit a woman’s foot.
Having found that out, I would say it’s a combination of the design, the comfy lining, and the super high-quality nubuck leather that make these such a dream to wear fresh out of the box. I laced them up and immediately went out stalking for four hours, with no rubs or discomfort at all. Impressive stuff!
The sole is stiff Vibram (what else?), offering support and grip for more uneven terrain, and the boots also feature a shock-absorbing midsole.
I was expecting a lot from the boots as I am a big fan of Seeland and Härkila gear, always finding it comfortable, durable and capable of performing as expected out in the field. The Saxnas boots so completely lived up to this shining track record that I’ve been recommending them left, right and centre to female friends – even to those who don’t hunt and just want hiking or sturdy walking boots.
Despite being robustly made, these boots weigh in at about 580g each, which is pretty light – and they feel it. I can’t tell you what a difference it makes to your energy levels when covering a lot of ground.
I would usually go for a taller boot, but I must admit that the shorter design makes them more wearable. I’ve had these for a good few months now and have worn them everywhere, with everything from a full hunting suit to camo shorts. They’ve served me well during many hours of stalking in all weathers in Suffolk, pigeon shooting on a hot day in Staffordshire, foxing on long chilly nights in Wiltshire, and strolling on Dave the dog’s sacred daily walk. They’ve proved waterproof, super comfortable and an absolute joy to wear in all scenarios noted.
Given the time of year, the only conditions in which I haven’t been able to really test the Saxnas boots’ performance is extreme cold weather. I’m a soft southern girl anyway, and it barely gets below freezing down here on the south coast, so I’ll report back if I get posted up to the frozen north anytime soon!
In the meantime, I am very much looking forward to having dry, comfortable, quiet feet for all my autumn and winter gallivanting. Available in women’s sizes 36-42 and men’s sizes 40-48. £269.99
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