Kenetrek Hardscrabble Hikers Review

Editor: Randy

Overal Rating:

[rating: 4.5/5]

Basic Description of item: Outdoor Hunting and Hiking Boot. US Made in Montana, non insulated.

Just the Facts:

7″ high
2.8 mm full grain leather uppers
Heavily padded collars
K-Talon outsoles with stiff nylon midsoles
Waterproof, breathable Windtex membrane
3.7 lbs



I used two different pairs of the Hardscrabble Hikers for three consecutive years of guiding desert bighorn sheep hunters in some of the meanest terrain that southern Utah can throw at any hunter or outdoor enthusiast. The boots were pitted against volcanic rock, abrasive sandstone, needle sharp cacti, mud, snow, and the jagged ledges and gorges formed through eons of geologic time by the erosive weathering of wind and water.

During the break in period I found the boots to have very stiff soles designed for providing a solid support system to pack heavy loads and navigate through rough terrain. It took several long hikes to get accustomed to the soles. However, once I got used to the rigid K-Talon outsoles I discovered that the Hardscrabble Hikers provided unparalleled protection from the rough country I was hiking in. Believe me, this terrain literally earns a living “eating boots alive.”

The hikers were comfortable, provided ample cushion around the collar, and the 7″ height was enough to support my ankles. I never had a problem with these boots wearing blisters on my feet or toes.  I found it remarkable that the full grain leather uppers held up so well, showing little wear.

During extreme heat the Hardscrabble Hikers were not bad for ventilation although I must admit it felt nice to pull the boots and socks off my feet when resting in the shade. Wow, a little cool breeze on your bare feet can feel pretty darn good when the sun’s heat is radiating off scorching hot terrain.

The K-Talon outsoles provided outstanding traction and gripped the steep sandstone inclines almost as well as the spongy hooves of a bighorn sheep. The soles did wear down a little quicker than I would like. Once your soles wear down Kennetrek will resole your boots for a $75 dollar charge.

Although not insulated, the boots kept my feet relatively warm in colder weather. I do suggest that you always wear a light pair of polypropylene socks inside a heavier pair of smart wool socks.

I liked the heavy duty grommets used on the boots for the lacing system. They have designed the grommet to rotate so that you can easily tighten and lace your boots.

I found the Kennetrek Hardscrabble Hiker to be tough as nails, and at 3.7 lbs seemed lighter on my feet than others I have used.

One thing I do suggest is that you buy a quality pair of orthotics or insoles built for your foot. It seems that all major boot companies fail to include insoles that will provide the support and comfort that your feet demand.

I believe that Kennetrek has built some high quality boots for the hardcore hunter and hiker. However, at a price of $335, the Hardscrabble Hiker is a big investment. For the money, you should demand excellent wear and tear. For what I do I can’t afford for a boot to fall apart when I am literally miles from my truck or nearest trailhead. I highly recommend the Kennetrek Hardscrabble Hiker to those who intend to spend a lot of time “out on the mountain.”

What could they do better:

-Kennetrek needs to figure out why the rubber molding surrounding the boot and glued to the upper leather peels back. On my first pair of boots I was told the rubber molding came loose because of the waterproof wax I was using. However, I tried Kennetrek’s waterproof wax on my second pair and had the same problem.
-Include quality insoles in their boots.
-Would like to see the K-Talon outsoles wear longer.


Star Rating per rating criteria:

Functionality: [rating: 4.5/5]
Value: [rating: 4.5/5]
Ergonomics: [rating: 5/5]
Durability: [rating: 4/5]

Kenetrek Hardscrabble Hikers Review
  • Functionality
  • Value
  • Ergonomics
  • Durability