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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Wolverine Sightline Mid Cuff Boots > Test Report by Andrew Buskov

Wolverine Sightline
Wolverine's waterproof, non-insulated, hunting boot.
Andrew Buskov
Initial Report: November 13, 2014
Field Report: January 11, 2015
Long-term Report: March 16, 2015

Sightlnie SideTester Biographical Information:

Name: Andrew Buskov
Age: 39
Gender: Male
Height: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight: 207 lbs (94 kg)
Shoe Size:
10.5 US
Email: Rescue(at)Corridor9(dot)net
City, State Zip Madisonville, Kentucky  USA

Backpacking Background:

I’ve been backpacking for nearly 25 years, and have slowly started developing my ideal style. I’ve gotten my pack weight down to roughly 20 - 25 lbs (9.1 - 11.3 kg) before water, and am whittling it down every hike. Day hiking is nice, but getting out over multiple nights is really what I enjoy. I like to take my time and view the scenery as opposed to hiking hard. I also like being comfortable and insist on an air mattress. I usually tent or hammock, but stay in shelters when needed.

Sightline SideProduct Information:

Item: Sightline
Manufacturer: Wolverine
Website http://wolverine.com
Year of Manufacture: 2014
MSRP: $125.00
Listed Weight: N/A
Actual Weight: 2 lbs 5 oz (1.12 kg)
Size:
10.5 US
Color: Natural / RealTree Xtra
 

Product Overview:

The Wolverine Sightline insulated waterproof 7 in (18 cm) hunting boot provides a beautiful mix of traditional leather with  RealTree Xtra camouflage mesh fabric. The PC Dry silver membrane provides a durable waterproof membrane to keep feet nice and dry through even the worst weather. The seams on the upper use a heavy duty stitched construction and are sealed as well. The sole is bonded to the bottom of the leather / mesh upper using a cement weld construction by Goodyear.

Product Impressions:

It was easily apparent to me upon opening the box that I was definitely going to enjoy this test. Staring me straight in the face was a beautiful pair of Wolverine Sightline boots. I immediately noticed the extreme care and precision that went into the making of these boots. All the seams were sewn straight, the grommets appeared to be evenly placed, the laces were snag free, and there was no excess glue around the seams. In short, everything appeared to be nice and orderly.

Instead of "starting from the top", I prefer to start from the bottom. The soles of the Sightline are molded using two different colors, orange and black, and have a slanted lug pattern. While the tread pattern is not what I would consider to be deep, it does appear to be fairly heavy duty in that the lugs are nice and wide with multiple angles to grip the ground. The soles are stamped as "Oil & Slip Resistant" and claim to provide "Relentless Traction". The front of the sole wraps half way up the toe area while the rear tapers off near the back of the shoe. Inside the sole is a nylon shank. I can only assume that this provides a minimal amount of puncture protection and helps keep the sole stiffer. I have noticed that walking in these shoes tends to be more like clopping as the sole doesn't give that much. However, further testing will determine if this is just a break-in issue or not.

The upper consists of sewn leather, heavy mesh fabric, and what feel like metallic grommets. The leather is meticulously laid out so that all edges appear evenly spaced and perfectly stitched. On the outside of the heel is Wolverine's claw logo while the company name is stamped just below the ankle. The website shows that these emblems are orange in color, but mine are colored more of a natural brown. Even though the orange is a nice touch, I actually prefer the brown emblems better. They seem to blend in better rather than drawing too much attention away from the workmanship itself. There is a single piece of dark leather that provides a nice accent between the heel leather and the RealTree mesh.

Sightline AngledThe toe of the boot is a single piece of leather that comes back to the ball of the foot. From there it transitions into the mesh pattern that continues up the tongue where it ends with the Wolverine logo. The tongue itself does not have a lace keeper, but I don't foresee any issue with the tongue sliding down during use as it connects near the top of the boot. This provides the waterproof material protection and keeps the tongue from riding down.

On either side of the toe are strips of leather that are heavily sewn into the toe and the mesh fabric all the way to the top of the boot. These provide a strong attachment point for the ten circular grommets and four exterior slider grommets. The laces are brown and orange patterned, round in shape, and have wrapped ends. They slide nicely through the grommets without any snagging or catching. At the top of the boot is a "PC Dry" tag indicating that it is indeed the waterproofing material that Wolverine used in this specific boot. There is also an orange and black webbing sewn into the back of the shoe as a pull. This webbing has two strips of retroreflective thread on either side of the black center strip.

The interior of the boot tongue contains information relating to size, material, and the dreaded "Made in China" stamp. The top of the interior consists of an orange mesh fabric while the rest of the interior is a gray mesh. As with the outside of the boot, the stitching is very neat and clean. There is a removable insole that is molded to provide extra cushioning around the heel, arch, and forward sole of the foot. The top of the insole is black with an orange Wolverine logo and claw, and the insole itself fits very nicely inside the boot

In all, the construction appears to be very durable, the materials look to be of good quality, and the boot appears to be made for the toughest weather one can find. I look forward to putting these boots to the test over the next few months. As I have only worn these a few hours for breaking in, I'll leave any pro / con statements for the Field Review report that will be available in approximately two months.

Field Report: January 11, 2015

Testing Locations & Conditions:

During this testing phase I was able to get quite a bit of use with the Wolverine Sightline boots. Because of the cold weather and freezing spells that we've had here in western Kentucky, I've used these boots roughly 10 to 12 times over the course of the first two months. These uses have ranged in duration from five minutes during my trips to check on the rabbits to 12 hours when we were hiking in the woods and running errands. As mentioned, most of the use was during freezing conditions where they were exposed to lots of cold water and ice. All use was local and elevation ranged on average from 350 to 550 ft (105 to 165 m).

Performance:

Hiking in foot deep snow!

With the recent addition of the Sightline boots to my footwear collection, my boot count officially increased to three pairs. I am generally not a boot fan. I had a pair that I need to wear for work, and a pair of North Face boots that I've owned over 10 years and hike in when I feel there is a need for ankle support. Most of the time though, even on hiking & backpacking trips, I can be found in a pair of Merrell Moab Ventilator low tops. That being said, there is one time of the year that I am frequently found in the boots that I own; winter. This winter has been no exception, and the excess cold and rain that we have received has proven to be a great testing ground for the Wolverine Sightlines. On more than one occasion already this season I've had such a thick coat of mud on my boots that I haven't been able to see the camouflage. This is by no means an indication that the boots collect mud as much as it is an example of the environmental conditions that I've been able to subject the boots to.

These boots continue to fit and feel better each time I wear them. The material has loosened up and now hugs my foot and ankle more consistently than it did when I first tried them on. I have yet to feel any hot-spots, nor have I found any blisters on my feet even when I've had dirty & wet socks due to stepping in mud that has come over the top cuff of the boot. There is plenty of room in the toe that allows for a comfortable journey even on the steepest of downhill slopes, and just enough play in the heel area to allow the boot to pivot around some when climbing on rocky terrain. The padded tongue has been worked enough through regular use that the top of my foot now rests comfortably. This is definitely a plus as often times I feel like I'm strapping a small pillow on the top of my foot due to overly padded boot tongues, thus adding pressure and eventually causing my foot to fall asleep in areas.

The traction that the Wolverine Sightline boots have is phenomenal. As mentioned above, I've worn these a number of times when I went out to check on our family's rabbits. Because the path back to the rabbit shed gets a lot of use it quickly turns into a muddy mess whenever it rains longer than 10 to 15 minutes. This leads to slipping, sliding, and falling. I've found quite the opposite when wearing the Sightline boots; rarely do I slip anymore. The lug pattern on these boots is aggressive enough that the single occasion when I did slip I ended up removing a boot-sized patch of grass and soil as well. In short, the boots didn't slip on the ground as much as the ground separated beneath the boot. In rocky terrain I get the same sort of traction. Not once have I been worried about loose gravel sliding around underneath me, or losing my balance due to a slide.

The waterproof qualities of these boots have shown their colors many times. As long as I don't step in muck too deep that it goes over the top cuff, I essentially don't have to worry about my feet getting wet at all. I have found this to be true with mostly water, as well as mostly muck. This is important to note in the fact that when stepping in mostly water, it generally runs off as soon as I take another step. However, when stepping in a deep muck pile, the boots often get covered and thus are exposed to the fluid in the mud over a longer period of time. Either way, the outcome is still the same; nice, dry, comfortable feet.

During one of the last hikes I made this testing phase I did notice that my feet felt really cold during periods that I wasn't actively walking. While I understand that these boots aren't insulated, I hadn't experienced this during any other times I'd used the Sightline boots. This is something I will definitely keep an eye on during the next testing phase as I definitely want to figure out what temperature ranges I feel comfortable wearing these at based upon the expected duration and activity of the trip.

Muddy bottomsLong-term Report: March 16, 2015

Testing Locations & Conditions:

I was able to use the Wolverine Sightline boots a lot more during the last testing period. Old man winter really hit us hard this past few months with temperatures ranging from -7 to 45 F (-22 to 7 C) on average, only reaching up into the 50's and 60's F (10's to 15's C) this past week. There has been rain, sleet, snow, and freezing rain almost every week the past two months with two periods of heavy snow accumulation totaling upwards of 14 in (36 cm) each time and lasting for over a week. The best part was that I was able to test these boots in all of it! Our day hiking trips alone account for upwards of 25 miles (40 km) of use over rocky terrain, icy hills, deep snow drifts, and mud so deep that I thought it was going to come over the top of the boot. On my overnight trips I was able to log another 15 miles (24 km) of use through rain, sleet, and even freezing rain on the way back to the vehicle. As with above, all use was local and elevation ranged on average from 350 to 550 ft (105 to 165 m).

Summary:

Clean insidesI can honestly say that the Wolverine Sightline boots survived everything I threw at them and more. What surprises me the most though is how comfortable they have been during all the times I've used them. Even with well worn-in boots I usually can't wait to get out of them after four to five hours. This wasn't the case with the Sightline boots. At one point in time I had worn them for about 14 hours straight and even though my feet did feel better after changing to a different shoe for the drive home, my feet weren't killing me like they usually are after a hike. When I stopped for breaks and let my feet breathe, they didn't hurt when I needed to put my boots back on and continue the hike.

The sole of the boots is very durable and has held up really well over the past four months. There is no chipping of rubber, or gouging of the lugs. Another thing that I've noticed is that while these boots provide ample traction in all conditions I've experienced, they don't tend to clog up with mud and really tend to clean themselves off just by walking. Even after walking through thick mud and grime they remain relatively clean. I've had the boots discolored on the sides due to the mud clinging to the material, but not so much on the soles. This allows me to walk more comfortably as I'm not carrying unnecessary extra weight on the bottom of my boots.

The insides are still exceptionally clean. This is a testament to the waterproofing protection that the Sightlines provide. Not once have my feet been wet due to water or muck seeping through the boot sides or seems. My feet have been wet a couple of times though when I was tromping through more than 14 inches (36 cm) of deep soft snow and it entered through the top, though I wouldn't say this was at all a fault of the boots. Although my feet were wet from snow, and while the Sightline boots aren't insulated, as long as I kept moving my feet were relatively warm and comfortable. In addition, I found that there was relatively no smell retained by the boots throughout the entire testing period even though the insides were soaking wet during periods and my feet were really sweaty at times.

I wanted to make sure that I addressed the cold feeling that my feet felt last time when I wasn't actively walking. I was able to simulate the conditions again during one of my trips and have found that while the boots hold generated heat rather well, over a period of time my feet will get cold due to the heat loss when not actively walking. When the temperatures fell below freezing I found that I was able to sit and relax only about 20 minutes before I could feel my feet getting colder. Another 10 to 15 minutes and I was starting to hurt. This is something I will definitely need to consider in the future depending on my hiking conditions.

Scarring on toes

The Sightline boots did find a bit of scarring on the leather material over the life of the test. While there is a bit of scarring on the side and rear of the boot, there is significant scarring on the toe as shown by the picture above. This hasn't been an issue with the waterproofing abilities, but is only cosmetic. Personally, I think it gives the boot some character. Plus, it shows me that my toes have been protected a number of times from scrapes and nicks that I could have easily felt wearing something that wasn't leather, something which has indeed happened before with different boots. The Wolverine Sightline boots have definitely found a place in my hiking and backpacking toolbox. They will definitely be my go-to boot for all of my backpacking adventures in the near future, not only because my wife tossed my other hiking boots because of their smell, but also because in all reality they were much more comfortable than my previous pair of boots anyway.

Pros

Cons

Lightweight
Waterproof
Comfortable
Durable
Stylish
Noticeable heat loss during inactivity
Cosmetic scarring of leather

I'd like to thank Wolverine and BackpackGearTest.org for providing me with the opportunity to test the Sightline boots.


Read more reviews of Wolverine Boots gear
Read more gear reviews by Andrew Buskov

Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Wolverine Sightline Mid Cuff Boots > Test Report by Andrew Buskov



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