Boots tend to be very use-specific pieces of kits. You probably don’t want to wear jungle boots in the snow, and heavily-insulated boots are not much fun to wear in the desert. That’s before we even get into waders, snake boots, steel-toed boots, rubber boots, etc. All-around boots are usually just mediocre at best for any situation where a purpose-built boot exists. Or at least that’s what I thought until I tried a pair of Garmont Tactical’s T 4 Groove G-Dry boots.
Out of the box, the quality of these desert-tan boots was immediately evident. Suede leather around the middle of the boot where the laces are—which I’m sure has some fancy marketing name—just looks classy, while the formed Lycra collar promised to be comfortable. Rubber soles with Garmont’s GTF Opale treatment looked to provide stability when walking on any terrain, and the laces appeared durable. I tried to wear the T4 Groove G-Dry boots in a number of different situations and climes to get a feel for their versatility and ability to handle some semi-extreme use and conditions.
First, I wore them on a prairie dog shoot in South Dakota. In July. People tend to think of South Dakota as a cold place, but in July, temperatures routinely spike north of 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Such was the case during my shoot—it was H-O-T hot. Extreme heat is a challenge for any boot, perhaps equal to extreme cold in terms of comfort or lack thereof. The Garmont boots showed two things on this trip: they required zero break-in to be comfortable, and they caused no discomfort in the blistering heat. In fact, they did something few boots I’ve tried can do: made me forget I was wearing them. That’s a massive plus, since most boots would cause significant sweating or other discomfort in such conditions.
Next, I wore the T 4s on an Axis deer hunt in Texas in August. Again, it was obscenely hot in the summer, as one would expect for semi-arid brush country. Here, I did far more walking as we spot-and-stalked Axis bucks through varying elevations and terrain. Again, the boots proved themselves remarkably comfortable and made me forget I was wearing them. My hunt required about an 80-yard crawl through some nasty, thorny brush, and the boots did a fine job shielding my feet from any intruding pointy things.
To determine if the “Dry” in T 4 Groove G-Dry was more than a name, I strapped on the boots on a rainy day and went for a walk, making sure to step in every puddle I could find. True to form, the G-Dry Waterproofing Membrane (Garmont’s name for the fabric that keeps your feet dry) worked as promised. No water entered the boot, and my feet came out dry. That’s not to say these boots are good for walking through a swamp, since they boast only a 4-inch height and lack full-rubber coverage, but for normal pursuits in wet weather, they are well beyond adequate.
Lastly, I wore the boots at a shooting range in Finland on a cold day. Actually, by Finnish standards it wasn’t all that cold, but for the non-arctic among us, it was far from warm—the mercury read about 39 degrees Fahrenheit. Again, the Garmont T 4 boots proved their worth by keeping my feet warm. It was spitting rain and had poured the day before, so the range was quite muddy, providing another challenge for the boots. Here, they performed almost too well. Climbing atop a berm that was a solid wall of mud for some photos, the boots provided superior grip. So superior was the grip that the soles ended up caked in viscous sludge, which required some effort to remove using those boot brush things found outside of buildings to help you avoid tracking mud indoors. Clearly, this was not the fault of the boots, as everyone who stepped in that quagmire had the same problem, although most had more trouble with traction than I did.
So, I think I can safely recommend the Garmont T 4 Groove G-Dry tactical boots as perhaps the ideal all-around footwear. They are exceptionally comfortable in extreme heat, normal temperatures, rain, mud and moderate cold weather. They are also durable and attractive, making them footwear that you’ll be happy to wear for any appropriate occasion. With an MSRP of $165, they are quite reasonably priced for any type of shoe these days, particularly given their quality.