Let me get this review underway by stating that, in my nearly 63 years, I have worn all manner of 'country' footwear. Some of it good, a lot of it bad with a smidgin of indifferent thown in for good measure. From Brasher's, Black's to Dunlop, Hunter et al I have worn the lot - and it would be remiss of me not to include those doyen of military issue, both DMS and the infamous 'Ammo' boots (13 steel studs on a leather sole and a steel 'horseshoe' around the heel...!!!!).
Now a few years back I bought, on the spur of the moment, a pair of Jack Pyke boots from Amazon. They looked like they could take a beating and, at £76.00, they were a descent price. I wasn't wrong and the boots, I still have, are comfortable and tick a lot of boxes for me. However.. with advancing years I began to get somewhat fed up lacing these boots; ski hook after ski hook to run the laces around, getting the tongue sat properly etc., etc.
So I began to think about something else, something that would be as versatile as a welly, as comfortable as a pair of slippers, and providing me with the necessary level of both warmth and grip. Now I'd seen the 'new kid on the block' in the form of the DuBarry collection of boots and, whilst no doubt effective, you still have to pull them on and wrap trouser legs tight in order to get them on. Nice but I wanted something with a zip... something easy on, easy off.
Then I discovered the Le Chameau Jameson GTX zip...
Strangely enough my first encounter with the GTX was when we were on a break in the Lakes. No trip up there is complete for me without a visit to John Norris in Penrith and there I saw my first GTX boots in the flesh. Dare I say it was love at first sight. Sadly, at the time, I was unable to afford the boots but, as luck would have it, my 60th birthday was on the horizon and I 'negotiated' with the Revd Mrs Tommo to split the cost.
And so, on the 10th October 2011, I opened the large green box containing my brand new GTX boots and there's hardly been a day since that I haven't worn them. They are the ultimate in comfortable yet sturdy, waterproof footwear. They will carry you where'er you choose to go and in no matter what conditions. They are so warm that I have never worn anything other than summer weight socks - admittedly knee length to avoid the leather gusset chaffing the outside of the calf muscle. Grip is, as I say, excellent and the zip is good and sturdy even though it is plastic/nylon.
The foot and heel of the boot is polished leather which will return to a shine after a wipe over and an application of some polish. The shaft of the boot is nubuck and is quite impervious to most country 'muck'. Just needing a wipe over.
I'm not sure if it's an Army thing, but I have almost a fetish for CLEAN footwear. I hate seeing dirty shoes/boots and when I meet someone for the first time it's their footwear and the state of it I notice first... That said I have been able to maintain a descent looking but perfectly performing pair of boots. But time's winged chariot moves on and I'm fast approaching the time when I'll need to get them re-soled so, as an investment for the future, I have today taken delivery of a brand new pair. These will stay in their box until the original pair are too far gone, something which I feel will be a long way off.
I pull no punches when it comes to footwear, I always buy the best I can. I don't have a bottomless bank account but I will sacrifice other bits of kit if it gets me the footwear I want. We have but one pair of feet, abuse them at your peril. Without mobility all our preparations for the rabbit or deer, pigeon or pheasant hut come to nothing.
The initial cost of the boots was around £335 and the new ones I got for the same price. You may think it a steep price to pay.. I just divide the cost by the number of days I have worn them.. so far it works out at less than 70p a day.
Gentlemen, I commend to you the Le Chameau Jameson GXT boot. God Bless 'em and all who walk (tall) in them.
Excellent re-sole job. These are my original pair and will last a long while.