Kenetrek Mountain Extreme Non-Insulated Hiking Boot Review

Kenetrek is a boot company founded by Montana hunter Jim Winjum in 2005. In 2002, after Jim went on a ten-day hunt in the Mackenzie Mountains of the Northwest Territories and his feet developed blisters and gashes, he resolved to “design and build a better boot that could keep up with the needs of a high-country mountain hunter.”

The Kenetrek Mountain Extreme is a top-of-the-line boot designed for hiking and hunting in rugged high-country conditions. Here are the features and specs:

  • 10″ tall 2.8mm thick premium full grain leather uppers
  • Reinforced double and triple stitching
  • One-piece vamp construction with no seams down the tongue for abrasion resistance and waterproofness
  • Handmade in Italy
  • Forged boot hardware offers corrosion resistance, swivels instead of breaking
  • Reinforced rubber sole guard for extra abrasion resistance
  • 7mm nylon midsoles for additional support with pack loads
  • Windtex® waterproof breathable flexible membrane
  • Lightweight Custom K-Talon Outsole provides exceptional grip and traction
  • 7mm nylon midsole offers a solid foundation for extra comfort and stability
  • 3.9 lbs

What we like

Kenetrek doesn’t hold back when it comes to materials, and the Mountain Extreme Hiking Boots are a perfect example of the quality Kenetrek offers. The 10” tall 2.8mm premium full-grain leather uppers are beautiful and durable. 

The uppers feature reinforced double and triple hand-stitching for long-lasting performance. The one-piece vamp construction has no seams, making it more comfortable and longer-lasting, as well as improving waterproofing and abrasion resistance.

The Mountain Extremes are handmade in Italy, and again the quality shows. Kenetrek’s boots showcase exquisite attention to detail. The boots have forged hardware that is corrosion-resistant and swivels under pressure instead of snapping. It’s important to have boots you can trust in the most rugged conditions.

Jim Winjum, the founder of Kenetrek, started the boot company because he wasn’t happy with the comfort and safety of boots offered back in 2002-2005. The Mountain Extreme boots prove that he has succeeded in his mission.

The wide toe-box of these hiking boots may be their most important design feature: as you hike or hunt, spending all day on your feet moving, the bones in your feet expand. These boots fit snugly to prevent blisters, but the toe-box design accommodates the natural expansion of your feet, so you don’t get bruised. Kenetrek designed the 7mm nylon midsoles for extra support while carrying pack loads, and they work.

The boots are available in narrow, medium, and wide sizes, so be sure to measure your foot before you decide what size to purchase. The Mountain Extremes do have a break-in period, but it’s minimal. Users report that one hike is all it takes.

Users have reported they prefer the Mountain Extremes’ Windtex waterproof breathable, flexible membrane over Goretex. Goretex is the industry standard for the waterproof membrane material, but Kenetrek’s Windtex is equally waterproof and more breathable than Goretex. 

We recommend the Mountain Extreme hiking boots for warmer weather hiking in rugged conditions, down to about twenty degrees Fahrenheit.

The boots’ performance in wet conditions is exceptional: users report that their feet stay dry, neither sweating nor acquiring moisture from outside conditions. If your feet tend to get hot and sweaty during outdoor excursions, these non-insulated boots will be a good choice for you.

Kenetrek services their boots from their Bozeman, Montana headquarters. They offer repairs and full rebuilds of their boots. You can take comfort knowing that these premium-priced boots can last a lifetime since you can have them repaired as needed.

To further extend the life of your Mountain Extreme boots, use the waterproofing wax Kenetrek includes for free, and be sure to reapply it regularly.

What we wish was different

The Kenetrek Mountain Extreme Non-Insulated Hiking Boot is not a budget boot. It’s not even close to a budget boot. It’s a premium boot, and it’s still a great value, but not every hiker or hunter can afford the top-of-the-line gear. If you don’t hike in the most extreme and rugged conditions, you can probably get away with a lesser boot. If you do, the Mountain Extreme is worth taking the time to save up.

At 3.9 pounds, the Mountain Extremes are not lightweight. For an ultra-tough, durable, premium boot loaded with features, they are not overly heavy, but if you plan on mostly doing hikes in less rugged conditions, you may be happier with a lightweight hiking boot.

Users have reported that because of the lack of insulation, they don’t take their non-insulated Mountain Extreme Hiking Boots below 15-20 degrees Fahrenheit or so. That’s not necessarily a downside, but more of an individual choice; Kenetrek does offer the Mountain Extreme in 400-gram and 1000-gram Thinsulate for colder conditions.

Some users can take the non-insulated boots in colder conditions as long as they stay moving, but we don’t recommend them for sitting in a cold hunting blind. 

What other customers say

Kendyl bought a pair of Kenetrek Mountain Extreme Non-Insulated Hiking boots for her husband as a surprise Christmas gift because he’d been eyeing them for months. He says they’re comfortable and fit great, and he wears them everywhere he can.

E45 is on his second pair of Kenetrek Mountain Extreme boots. He purchased his boots on the advice of a mountain guide; he uses them for fall hunts in the Sierra Nevadas, as well as summer fishing trips to remote streams and lakes. He finds the non-insulated Kenetreks to be at least as warm as a competitor’s 200-gram insulated hiking boots.

MT has used the insulated and non-insulated Mountain Extreme Hiking boots with great success. He once made the mistake of buying a different brand but came back to Kenetrek after suffering multiple blisters and two black toenails. He says the key to these boots is the wide toe box. 

Wrapping up

Other less-expensive boots will still work for many applications, so you may not need this ultra-premium hiking boot. If you mostly do light hiking or hike in conditions that are not extremely rugged, you may be happier with lighter boots that are appropriate for your adventures.

In harsh conditions, the Mountain Extreme Non-Insulated Hiking Boot shines in many ways: the deep tread provides grip and traction, the design offers stability and comfort, the waterproofing works perfectly, and the boots have excellent arch support. They will last you many, many years. 

If you can afford them, the Kenetrek Mountain Extreme may be the perfect hiking and hunting boots. This boot is excellent by every standard: the materials, construction, comfort, performance, quality, and service couldn’t be any better. They’re some of the best we’ve ever reviewed. 

Kenetrek Mountain Extreme Non-insulated Hiking Boot
  • 10" tall leather uppers made from 2.8 mm full grain leather feature double and triple stitching throughout for added durability
  • Custom K-Talon Outsole provides exceptional grip and traction while the 7 mm nylon midsole offers a solid foundation for extra support and stability
  • Forged boot hardware offers corrosion resistance and swivels instead of breaking
  • Durable Windtex waterproof membrane and no insulation is perfectly suited for keeping you dry in warmer temperatures
  • Reinforced rubber sole guard for extra abrasion resistance

About the Author

Trey is a lifelong hunter and avid camper. He lives outside Denver, CO with his wife Kaci and their lab mix Ziggy. They spend as much time as possible outdoors - hunting, fishing, and camping.

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