A good rubber boot is worth its weight in gold. This is especially true if you hunt in damp, wet terrain. The last thing you want is wet feet. You also want a boot that doesn’t leave game-spooking scent on the ground when whitetails are on the menu. DRYSHOD’s Evalusion boots are a win, and heed the hunting and land management call.
by Jace Bauserman
I’m a hunting boot addict. I admit I have a problem. No, I don’t want any help. From top-end leather makes like Kenetrek, Zamberlan, and Crispi to unique rubber/neoprene builds, I have an affinity for footwear.
What I have no room for, though, especially when spending over 150 days a year in the woods, is terrible boots. Sadly, I have worn more than I can count.
There was a leather-upper make that shed its sole halfway through a 10-day elk hunt. A wrap of duct tape helped, but not really. Then there were the rubber/neoprene boots I removed from the box and waded an ice-choked river with. They leaked. I sat in the stand for an hour before I froze out.
I have uppers that have broken down after a week, leather that split and cracked that shouldn’t have, rotted ruber after a single season, and the list goes on. Bad boots are the worst. Give me the best boot money can buy. As a hunter, I need to protect my feet. I’m on them all the time. They need to be warm, dry, and comfortable.
It was obvious from the get-go that a lot of purposeful thinking went into these boots. Likely designed by a hunter or several hunters that spend a lot of time in the woods, I always applaud a combination of high-grade rubber and neoprene.
The neoprene upper melts into hand-laid rubber, and I immediately noticed how light the boots seemed. I have worn lots of rubber boots — many have been clunkers — but these seem to fit the lightweight bill.
The outsole appeared to be well made. DRYSHOD brands it as its DUREVA outsole — a leading-edge fusion compound that is durable, light, and eliminates the need for a secondary rubber sole. The outsole felt spongy with the press of a thumb without being weak, and I appreciated the design of the lugs.
On and off was a breeze via the pull tabs on the back of each upper and the heel rest. Once my feet were inside, the internal build felt like a pillow. More to come on this. The uppers rolled down quickly, and the neoprene was not too tight or loose on my calves.
Waterproof & More
A critical component of any rubber boot is that the boot is waterproof. For a week, I irrigated crop fields and did whitetail chores, and not once did my feet or leg get so much as damp. One day, I was in standing in mosquito-infested water for over an hour. The boots were submerged halfway up the neoprene upper and performed brilliantly.
I was also impressed with how quickly the neoprene dried and shed rainwater. DRYSHOD added a Hydrokote water-repellent that allows water not to be absorbed but to roll away and then dry quickly.
Comfort In Spades
These are the most comfortable pair of rubber boots I have ever owned. On the inside, they remind me of my favorite trail running shoe — Altra’s Mont Blanc. I can’t explain it. These boots promise the type of all-day comfort you want when roaming public tracts of land in search of gagger whitetails and also have the durability and rigidity needed for farm and land management chores.
Not once during my week’s testing period did I get a blister or a hot spot, and according to my Garmin Instinct Solar, I put 17 miles on the boots. The comfort is so impressive.
Adding to the comfort equation while boosting warmth and dryness is the internal 5mm Densoprene Foam Insulated Bootie. This material is extremely lightweight, buoyant, and, as noted, comfortable. However, it’s also self-insulating and waterproof and has a flexible 4-way stretch, which boosts movement and helps you conquer any terrain in comfort.
In a week, I hung three whitetail stands, changed eight sets of water, and planted a food plot wearing these boots. I scraped them on cement ditches and bark and covered them in mud and muck.
Not only did the boots never spring a leak, but they showed very little sign of wear and tear. I chalk this up to the no PVC, PU, or TPR, and only genuine hand-laid rubber. I also applaud the toe bumper and heel guard.
Do They Grip The Ground?
I’ve tested rubber boots I wouldn’t have worn to walk across my tile kitchen floor. No, I don’t want a rubber boot with an ultra-aggressive lug pattern, but I don’t want one that will cause me to slip and fall every five minutes.
The Evalusion’s multi-lug outsole provided excellent support and traction across several terrains. Even when covered in mud and muck, I had zero trouble with my footing on my tree steps and sticks.
Another excellent feature of these boots is the reinforced tuck board with rigid shanks for boosted stability. The shank runs directly across the outsole for added protection and support.
Cool In Summer & Warm In Fall/Winter
For a light and airy boot, I expected my feet not to feel like they had come out of a sauna on warm summer days. The 4-Way Stretch Breathable Airmesh Lining kept my feet cool, and the boots are rated to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s rare you find a boot with a temperature rating between -20 and 75 degrees. While I can’t pen a word (yet) about the boots’ cold rating, I expect it to be as advertised and will report my findings later in the year.
How much do rubber boots cost?
Like most boots, price varies based on the quality and various technologies a boot has. While you can get into a pair of rubber boots for under $100, most top-tier models will be between $160 and $230.
Do I need a pair of rubber boots for hunting?
The answer is no if you’re a Western hunter unless you’re headed to the tundra. However, an excellent pair of rubber boots are essential if you chase whitetails. Rubber boots keep your feet dry and warm and don’t spread human stink. Rubber boots are also an excellent option for hunting in wet, damp terrain. They make great duck-hunting boots; I also like them for turkey hunting.
How long will rubber boots last?
Boot longevity correlates to how well a particular set of boots is made. I have rubber boots that have lasted more than five seasons. The key to boot longevity is caring for the boots when not on your feet. Rubber boots shouldn’t be left outside in the elements, and if you do submerge them in water over the uppers, you need to remove the insoles and put them on a boot dryer.
The DRYSHOD Evalusion boots met and exceeded my expectations, and they will be my go-to boot for the remainder of the summer and for fall/winter excursions in the whitetail woods.
The break-in period was nil; these boots promise out-of-the-box comfort, and I was impressed with their waterproof nature and durability. If you’re looking for a new pair of rubber boots or a better option, these kicks don’t disappoint.