Danner Pronghorn (a couple of models ago - they change) also good, but tops not as high. I had another discontinued Danner model that was good. I've had various models of other brands - incl. one Rocky model - that were OK, too.
I have a 15 yr old pair of heavy Danners that I can't stand to walk far in - too heavy w. vibram sole. Esp. bad if it's muddy.
Gotta fit YOU.
Kangaroo I had was light , but didn't hold up very well.
Here's my two cents...Two years ago I bought a pair of the Cabela's Upland Premier Hunting boot. Kangaroo leather and a shark skin toe. The boots cost around $170.
I was very disappointed in the boots durability. After eights weeks of hunting the stiching around the moc toe was shreaded and came apart causing the boots to leak. This was pre-baby and I was hunting 3 to 4 days a week.
I got my money back on the boots. The moc toe on a upland boot does'nt make sense. Walking through the grass cuts the stiching The moc toe has no purpuse, but for looks. I was told by Cabela's it was a traditional style.
After having a few pair of the (upland boots) sown up up, I'm not wearing anything with a moc toe. A upland boot should have a plain toe. Nothing to come apart.
I have had great luck with the MasterGuide hunting boot from Cabela's. I should get 2 years out of this pair. Demo
I put shoe goo on the stitching as soon as I decide to keep boots. I find that the stitching wears along the laces on most boots. That's usually what does them in for me unless they crack at the bend your toe makes (from water and wear on the fold.)
The moccasin toes wear the stitching depending on how they are stitched. My Brittany's didn't wear on the toes.
I have worn round toes thru to the inside, so I shoe goo the toes, too - unless they come re-inforced.
I had a pair of Danners in the style of Justin's "Master Guides", but with the wedge sole. They turned out at the ankle for me until I had them re-soled. Then they lasted quite a while, but wore thru the stitching along the laces.
My Danner 8" Ghost have lasted less than a month and now have stitching coming out on the toes. They are going back. They have gotten lots of miles put on them in that month.
My Irish Setter's leaked the first time I wore them in the muck.
My old pair of Insulated Steel toed Red Wings lasted 4 hunting/training seasons, though were not very waterproof this year training. I see most of those are imported or made with imported material now as well.
I'm looking for something durable as well. Seems all of them are made in China or imported anymore.
I have to ask, do your boots fit properly? I test boots for 2 of the 3 boot manufactorers that you have talked about and I am sure there must be either a wrong fit, flaw in product, or misuse. All 3 boot companies you named have warranties that would more than likely cover new boots but I wonder if there is a differant cause for the problems.
I have a HARD time finding boots for my shoe size, but I lucked on a pair of Danners and absolutely LOVE them!
I had a pair of Bass Pro Red Head, but they don't make them anymore.
I had a pair of Irish Setters that I loved but I made the mistake of sitting too close to the fire at elk camp with my feet propped up - melted the soles but I still wore them they were that comfortable....
But I agree, boots are individual, have to find a pair that fit you.....I have plenty of "spares" that hang out in the garage, collecting dust.
My boot size hasn't changed in many years, though I still measure them for most purchases. The boots fit good. The Irish Setters were defective to start with I beleive and the warranty was quickly honored at Gander Mountain. The Ghost have just started to have the stitching on the tops of the toes come undone, so I'm sure Gander will stand behind them as well. I'm disapointed as I felt the research I had done would give me satisfactory results with the Danners.
My boots definately get used. I've hunted 34 days this pheasant season so far, generally all day long in a variety of grasses and cover. Wet spots are not my target area, but 1-2 times per pair that was the case and several more where the grasses were extremely wet. When not hunting, I train dogs for several hours a day, though no where near the miles I put on them hunting and not nearly as mean of cover.
I guess my next pair will probably be all leather to the soles as they have seemed to hold up the best for me. The Red Wings defiantely held up the longest, but I don't believe they are being manufactured the same or perhaps even in this county anymore like the pair I got in 2001.
Money isn't the issue if they will hold up to the rugged abuse marching though endless switchgrass fields, native prairies and often damp or wet conditions I put on my hunting boots. Nothing worse than cold wet feet.
Thanks in advance for any advise.
They still make many of the Redwings in the US. They are actually made about 20 miles from my house. Most of the Irish Setters are made over seas. I don't think it matters where they are made, I do think you need the right boot for the application. Find a store that has more than a couple choices per brand and style to find the right boot for you. I abuse the boots I test and have not had the problems you have had so I do think maybe you have had bad luck!