There's no doubt the Kenetreks are a high quality boot. I loved them for anything but sustained up hill treks. Every foot is different however and with 55 miles on my pair and still giving me blisters? I had to pass on them. They just didn't fit my feet unfortunately...
Thats so true, not every boot works for everyone. I hope that you find one that really works for you the way mine do for me.
For me, my boots are the most improtant piece of equipment I have, without them my hunts are very limited. Nevada is really tuff country to hunt not all areas are as bad as the Lake Range but then the fact that the Lake Range is a tuff as it is keeps a lot of other hunters out of the area. My brother-in-law is an avid hunter but he stays out of that area................His wife wont let him spend $350 for a pair of Kenetreks...........................maybe thats why.
I wore the big high top boots for many years and picked up a set of Danner hikers several years ago that were a couple pounds lighter than my heavier boots. Now hiker style boots are all that I'll wear whether its at altitude, snowy, rocky, whatever. I picked up a pair of Kennetrek gaitors and they seem to be all the snow protection I need. Shedding the extra couple of pounds especially as I get older as been the best move I ever made...
I think it's pretty obvious that you'll be happy with the build quality of all the boots listed throughout this thread; Kenetrek, Lowa, Crispi, Meindl, etc. The most important question is how the boot fits. Be careful about how a boot wears/feels in the store. Plenty of boots were very comfortable walking around the house, but didn't perform all that well in the field. For me there isn't one boot that does it all. Depending on the terrain, weather and pack load, I cycle between multiple boots. I think the Lowa Ranger GTX Hi are the most versatile boots around for warm weather hunting (and I love the lacing system on these boots). Schnee's pac boots are great for cold and wet conditions for just about any flat land hunting. For summer backpacking and technical mountaineering I use La Sportiva Tango GTX. For cold hi alpine backpacking and hunting I use the Lowa Silberhorns. They are a more technical mountaineering boot that accept crampons.
I like the Hunter GTX and Mountain Extreme's, and depending on how they fit YOUR feet, either will suit your needs. The Kenetreks will be a warmer boot, so if your feet run cold you may want to go with a boot that has more insulation. Lowa's tend to fit my feet better, and I like that they use Vibram soles. Though, I've not heard any complaints about Kenetrek's soles wearing out any faster than boots with Vibram soles. But, for relatively the same weight a technical mountaineering boot works better for me... YMMV. BTW, Lowa Sheep Hunter and Lowa Hunter GTX are the same boot. The Sheep Hunter is made exclusively for Schnee's.
All good references to boots, Also Scarpa makes excellent boots, I use Scarpa's for warm and cold weather very rocky terrain use that held up better than all others I ever used. I used them in mountaineering and hunting and cold weather trapping. They have many great models with great reviews online. I gave up totally on Schnees years ago, heel bottom rubber that was hollow and tore open and tore to the sides, poor soles for wear in general, and overall bottoms suited for easy ground mostly. Sides wore out and tore easily. Since switching to Hoffman's many years ago, which have significantly tougher bottoms and tops very suitable for rough country, steep sidehills, ice and snow work unless doing serious mountaineering work. Hoffmans will also put their new bottoms on other pac boots. They are available with added stiffener straps, corked bottoms for those extremely slippery sidehills with small logs under snow that will send you sliding down a timbered slope on your tail in a hurry, corks are removable also. I still use quite a few mountaineering boots also, leather and plastic double boots that are light, good rocker shape on bottoms, very warm, breathable and very tough. But in winter snow conditions here in North Idaho and Western Montana, I use mostly the Hoffman pacs in non insulated, 200 milligram, 400 milligram and full thick felt for extreme cold conditions. The soles are tougher than many other boots and have held up very well. You would be surprised how well they handle steep country.
One other note, GOOD insoles are worth every penny you spend, Superfeet and others work well and pay off in foot comfort and performance.
In snow and wet conditions and in multiple stream crossings, high quality gaiters are also a wise choice to use.
In cold weather and long trips, consider using vapor barrier socks over a very light sock, with a heavy sock over the VBS. This keeps your boots dry from the inside. this is a proven method in the arctic, and high mountaineering / Ice climbing. I have also used this in late season hunts in Montana high in the mountains with great success, elk hunting, high country mulies, and mountain goats.