(Last Updated On: April 30, 2021)
Someone who has had boot problems is likely to check out a business like Lathrop and Sons. But why would someone like me, who doesn’t usually have issues with boots, do so? Since reading Brock Akers’ analysis of their Synergy Foot bed, I’ve been interested in trying out their custom boot system. Over the next few years, I read a few more reviews and kept thinking to myself, “What am I missing by not trying these guys?”
When I first visited the Lathrop and Sons website, I found that they had an extensive range of boots and their Synergy Foot beds and a Custom Boot System option. They also offer boot basics and accessories. I was intrigued by the Custom Boot System, so I ordered their 3D Mapping Kit first. I’ve trusted Lathrop & Sons boots, insoles, and custom fitting method with my feet for over ten years. There is no other device on the market that comes close to matching the custom fit and feel of their boots for me. I live in the mountains and travel light, so I can’t afford to entrust my feet to someone else. When I put my L&S boots on, I know that the consistency, fit, and feature that I want will always be there.
When my 3D mapping kit arrived, I began by reading the instructions from beginning to end. Three impression sheets per foot were included in the pack. As I stood on each board, my wife assisted me by tracing around my foot. She also took pictures of my feet, as instructed. I returned all six impressions to L&S in the included box once I finished them.
When Lathrop and Sons got my 3D mapping kit, the first thing they did was evaluate my imprints. After that, we set up a phone consultation with one of their foot and boot experts. Stephen Lathrop was a colleague of mine. I was blown away by Stephen’s attention to detail in ensuring a good match for his boot system. Our conversation lasted about an hour. He inquired about the boots I had previously worn and the sizes I had worn. I was asked what kind of terrain I usually hunt. What my weight was and what pack consequences I expected. We discussed previous foot injuries as well as whether or not I get hot spots or blisters. Stephen seemed to know what he was doing and was concerned about my experience.
It was time to choose a pair of boots after Stephen had tested my 3D mapping kit and obtained all of the required fitment information from our phone consultation. For me, Stephen suggested the Lathrop and Sons Mountain Hunter. L&S sells boots from Lowa, Zamberlan, Scarpa, and other brands in addition to their own, so there’s a good chance they’ll have the right pair for you.
I was delighted with the consistency of my new L&S Mountain Hunter boots when they arrived. I slid my feet inside and tightened the laces. One of the first things I noticed was how well the lacing method operated. It was simple to pull and lock the lower section. After that, I hooked the hooks and tied them. The 9.5 (my usual size) was a great match. There were no tight spots on my body, and my heels didn’t lift any higher than they needed to. For me, Lathrop and Sons were the perfect matches. Synergy Foot beds wrapped around my heels and looked fantastic. I wear the boots around the house and work for a few days to make sure everything was in working order before heading to the mountains in them.
Lathrop and Sons aren’t just interested in selling you a boot and moving on to the next one. Stephen insisted that I call him after I got the shoes and put them on so that he could spend more time with me explaining how to get the most out of my new Synergy Foot beds and boots. We spoke about the best lacing method. He explained their drying procedure to me. He also reminded me that the Custom Boot System contained freeboot changes if I had any problems.
- Mountain Testing
My first hunt was a drop camp hunt, in which we rode horses for 11 miles to camp and then spiked out each day. We had days where we hiked over ten miles in primarily warm, dry weather. From dirt trails to steep, rugged side hills, the landscape was varied. After a long day, I realised how little foot fatigue I experienced. Other boots I’ve worn have caused me a lot more discomfort. The entire trip yielded not a single hot spot. These boots are very comfortable.
Throughout the season, I crossed several shallow creeks and never leaked. My feet were able to breathe while staying dry, thanks to the event lining. We didn’t get wet feet even after hiking all day in the rain. I assume that following Lathrop and Son’s cleaning and treatment recommendations would keep my feet dry for the rest of their lives.
- Traction & Support
The Mountain Hunter from Lathrop and Sons has a Vibram Mulaz EVO outsole. On steep hillsides, I found strong traction. Downhill is usually the most difficult, but these performed admirably. When side-hilling, the Mountain Hunters have excellent ankle support. I felt secure even on slippery, snowy slopes with a heavy pack.
- Field Drying
When I had to dry my boots in the mountains, I still took out the insoles and stood them up. Stephen suggested that I dry them upside down for better results. He clarified that gravity aids in removing moisture from the toe region because it works in your favour rather than against you. I dried my boots this way all season and didn’t see much of a difference, but they did dry quickly, so I’ll keep doing it.
- Comfort & Durability
I had several long days on various terrains during the season. I only experienced foot exhaustion on one occasion. Our overall mileage for the day was over 13 miles, including four and a half miles of packing, half a spike elk. I could feel my feet getting tired as we walked the final few miles to the truck. I’m not sure how many miles the Mountain Hunters have covered this season, but they’ve held up admirably. When I cleaned them after my last hunt, I found that all of the leather was still in excellent condition, and the rubber rand was undamaged.
The more information L&S has about you and your feet, the better the suit. Even though they market their boot brand, they’ll gladly sell you a competitor’s if it’s the perfect fit for your foot shape or planned use. Their ultimate aim is to get you into the best boot they can, no matter what that entails. They determine what your foot requires in one of two ways. The less expensive – but less personalised – the choice is to talk with you on the phone. They ask things like, “What is your new brand?” and “What kind of problems have you had?” and “Where and when are you hunting?” What kind of terrain are you dealing with? What is the weight of your pack? They will use this information to help you choose the right boot and Synergy foot bed combination for your application.
Every pair of L&S Mountain Hunter boots is carefully handcrafted with the finest European leathers and professionally designed materials and features an innovative design filled with features to make a genuine difference in stability, durability, fit, and comfort. The handcrafted L&S Mountain Hunter can get you there in comfort, whether it’s straight to the top over gnarly boulder fields in pursuit of bighorns or picking your way through nasty deadfall chasing screaming bulls. That one magical boot that fits like a glove weighs next to nothing, provides all the protection you need regardless of how big your pack is, offers excellent stability in any terrain, never lets your foot get muddy, and lasts a lifetime. Isn’t that a reasonable request? I’ve tried more boots than I care to admit, some of which have worked admirably and others which have struggled before I’ve even set foot on the trail. I was hesitant when asked if I wanted to check the Lathrop & Sons Custom Boot System, but I decided to give it a try.
I never imagined I’d need a custom-fit boot. Even though getting custom work done on my ski boots was just part of the routine when I was younger and ski racing. I didn’t think my feet were bad enough to justify the expense and time it would take to make a custom hunting boot. I’d soon discover that getting a custom-fit boot will help me get closer to finding that one magical boot. The 3D Mapping Kit is the foundation of the Lathrop & Sons Custom Boot System. Six 3D mapping imprint sheets are included in this package, along with specific instructions on how to use them. The procedure was simple with the assistance of someone who traced your foot so you could stand straight and make a good impression.
The next move is to speak with Lathrop & Sons about your feet over the internet. You talk for an owner rather than an employee. This is a family-owned company that takes pride in its work. This was something I valued as a small business owner. We discussed what Stephen Lathrop saw in my images and imprints. He found a bone behind my right big toe that I had broken in college. On my feet, he found things I had taken for granted and not given much thought. They scrutinise every inch of your foot!
Stephen then started asking questions to understand my feet better and use the boot in the future. He inquired about the shoes I had previously worn. Which ones worked and which ones didn’t, as well as how they all fit together. He asked about the foot beds I’d tried and how well they’d performed for me. We thought about my previous blisters and hot spots. We spoke about my hiking and hunting styles and how quickly I cover ground, and what types of terrain I usually encounter. We talked about how many miles I travel in a day, how much my backpack weighs on a day hunt versus a multi-day backpack trip, and even what kind of weight I see when packing out meat. In the consultation, he left no stone unturned; it was lengthy and in-depth. After we finished, Stephen suggested the Lathrop & Sons Mountain Hunter boot with Synergy foot bed.
Knowledge Is Power
With their love of the outdoors and fascination with archery shooting, they soon discovered that most of the items they tried were lacking in both quality and comfort. I inspired the guys to make their foot beds and custom fit their boots as a result of this. Time passed, and the company expanded and developed as it always does. Lathrop and Sons Boots was established, and within a few years, they were selling a range of backpacking boots from a variety of manufacturers to mountain hunters. Stephen and James jumped in with both feet (pun intended) after years of literally fitting thousands of customers, and in 2015, they enlisted the aid of a well-known designer to build their boot collection. The New L&S Mountain Hunter was born, a proper mountain hunting boot, not a hunting boot that doubles as a backpacking boot. They’re made from only the best materials, with no corners cut.
A mountain hunter’s boots are an essential purchase. I’ve tried many different brands over the years and haven’t had any issues, but I’m still searching for ways to change. Now I can honestly claim that Lathrop and Sons’ Custom Boot System outperformed all others I’ve tried. This year, I felt at ease like I’d never felt before. If you’re debating whether or not to invest the money and time in this scheme, I strongly advise you to do so. This was a fantastic learning opportunity for me, and I’m looking forward to logging more relaxed miles this season.
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