Diotto Wildstag boots - test & review
- Credit: Archant
Chris Parkin tests the high quality leather Wildstag hunting boots from Diotto, and finds them to be the perfect deer stalking boot
FOR: Zero wear-in time required; High quality leather with supplied care compound; More cushioned in the heel than I expected; Firm feel across the foot width
AGAINST: Not so good for skinny calves and shins
VERDICT: Although my own skinny legs are harder to clamp tight in the overlapped tongue of the Wildstags, I loved the softer feel of the foot bed and leather with no loss of support. This allowed a deft touch underfoot for quieter, more tactile stalking capability than I usually attribute to a high leg boot
CONTACT: Swillington Shooting Supplies www.swillingtonshootingsupplies.co.uk 0113 2864 097
A boot review is an especially tricky one to do, since footwear is a very personal item. I try to compare them against other footwear on the market that I have worn and not get too carried away by the press releases and advertising claims, asking myself, ‘What are they actually like on my feet?’
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Diotto are proud to proclaim that their ‘100% made in Italy’ boots are made for hunters, by hunters. This Wildstags model is made from full-grain leather, designated as water repellent, and of heavy construction for the most arduous hill stalking. From 2.6mm leather bearing the characteristic Diotto build, a one-piece cut wraps back over itself when fastened to form an overlapping tongue. With no gaps for water leakage and a simpler streamlined design, the water flows off the leather without pooling in creases or joints.
The membrane Diotto uses is a Wind-Tex membrane within the leather, which is very warm and comforting, combined with Thinsulate insulation. All the stitching is thermo-welded and, from new, has retained a fully waterproof build, enabling confident crossing of ankle-deep streams. The removable felt inner footbed is also well insulated to the ground, with a medium-rated Davos gripping outside.
A softer cushioning layer between it and the leather and rand section gives a far lighter stride than you may expect, making quiet and deft foot placement possible, yet it never allows the sensation of rocks or stones to protrude into your foot.
It’s a warm boot, yet breathability was impressive (although I’m lucky as I do have dry-ish feet when walking!). Support around the rand and heel strongly protects the toes, and my size 11 (EU 45) feet were a good fit in the supplied pair, which I would call a medium/large width (although they are visually quite compact).
A tin of leather treatment compound is supplied to retain the deep reddish hue of the superb quality leather. All lacing hoops and block snares are made from rustproof material, with the stiff 26cm-high legs wrapping your lower leg with the single-fold tongue before tensioning.
My legs are quite skinny, so the two sides of the boot do meet each other at the fold, but for thicker calves and shins this will not be a problem. The laces remained firmly tensioned in the rollers’ eyelets above the foot, with faster speed-loops allowing tension across the shin, and they didn’t unfasten despite being at the extremes of their available ‘clamping power’. The folding tongue also has a wide gape and the boots are easy to step into without excessive unlacing.
I have had a pair of Diotto Auchleeks in the past which were a stiffer, tougher boot more suited to aggressive scrub, whereas this pair retain a more conventional smart look that nonetheless performs on steep terrain.
Tensioning around my leg and a medium/large footbed-width kept my toes from sinking into the boots without adverse pressure on the downhills, with plentiful ankle support. Walking up steep gradients showed good linear flexibility, and I could drive in these if needed thanks to the medium levels of ankle stiffness.
These seem to be an excellent compromise between boots for extreme walking and protection with all-day comfort, with a tread correctly defined for good underfoot feel and quiet stalking, which easily shed mud and debris.
Size: UK 5.5-12.5 (larger available to order)