I was recently made aware of a company called Gateway1 who design, develop and test their own footwear in Scandinavia. I’ve always been a sucker for “Scandi-Gear” and jumped at the chance to take a look at their Sportsman 18″ wellington boots.

When looking at boots I am generally looking for field boots, for hunting, fishing, and general wear. The fundamental qualities being a boot that is hard wearing, waterproof, warm, good foot support and really good grip. Gateway1 have developed some impressive technology in their footbed and outsole designs – on paper the Sportsman boots ticked all the boxes ….

The quality of the rubber seemed really good on first inspection with a generous inner lining made from neoprene that was very finely stitched in a around the top – A quick look over the seams and everything looked very well put together. One of the features that immediately stood out to me was the gusset which was located at the back instead of at the side, the outsole and grips on the Sportsman looked very substantial too, with chunky lugs for extra bite. Although Gateway1 do a 12″ version of the Sportsman boot, for the kind of useage I intended, the 18″ version was the most useful size in my opinion.

All in all, they appear be really well made, well designed boots and I was immediately keen to get them out into the field to give them some stick…..

Click on images to ENLARGE ….

Out In The Field

We wore the boots out on a forest walk to give them their test flight. A hike through KingsWood, situated in Pentewan Valley near St Austell – away from the main pathways it’s quite hilly, with frequent trenches and muddy banks to climb, underfoot was a thick layer of Pine needles, which when wet allow the ground surface to move beneath you – the perfect terrain to slip onto your backside if you don’t have your wits about you (or a decent pair of boots on this particular day!).

The boots performed superbly, we comfortably hiked approximately 4 miles along the trails, through muddy bogs, leafy quagmires, over wet rocks, and down wet grassy banks. There was a couple of hairy moments, but the outsoles bit into the ground nicely preventing any slipping over – The sole is described as having a Field Sport outsole pattern, with small lugs front & rear to provide good ‘push off’ grip and a prominent heel for ‘braking’ grip. I was really impressed with their performance.

It barely occurred to me that I was wearing new boots at any point during the walk as there was no rubbing, I managed to completely avoid a foot full of blisters aka. “new boots syndrome”, this could be attributed to the soft insulated lining and the Molded EVA foot bed. When I got to the stream at the end I went for a bit of a wade to wash the boots off – waterproof test passed 100%.

The Sportsman boots have the integral gusset located at the back, as opposed to the side in many other boots. I really like this design because it prevents me snagging the gusset straps on branches and breaking them off while I am walking – I have done this on lots of boots and its quite frustrating, the Sportsman have solved this issue – Awesome!.

The fit around the leg is quite snug, which is perfect as they don’t flap and slap when you walk – By tightening up the gusset straps a little, I can secure the boots and pull my feet out of deeper mud without losing a boot. Whilst in the water, I was impressed at how well the field boots performed with the waterline only half an inch inch from the top. Some boots that I have used in deeper water collapse inwards at the top under the water pressure letting water in, but the Sportsman boots are made from good thick rubber, and with the addition of the lining, they keep their shape well – All in all the performance of these boots was everything I hoped for from a Scandinavian brand. – Excellent!

The Technology

Rubber boot construction – Gateway1 use their own tried and tested blends of rubber to construct their range of boots – Natural rubber is a mix of pure natural rubber mixed with additives designed specifically to be used in a rubber boot. The rubber compound is rolled and prepared to rubber pieces which are die-cutted and hand layed over the boot. Afterward the whole boot is vulcanized and tested thoroughly for 100% waterproofness.

  • Adjustable gusset – 100% waterproof to top
  • Coil lining™ 5mm neoprene – Secures optimal moisture transport
  • Vulcanized natural rubber™ – A very strong rubber compound developed to resist the use in environments like farming and equestrian.
  • Shock absorbing heel unit to cushion the foot on hard surfaces

Footbeds – The footbed supports the foot and provide shock absorbing support. Gateway1® footbeds are designed and developed to optimize fit and comfort. The Sportsman boots feature the Gateway1 G1®-stage1™ footbed – Molded EVA with extra shock absorbing pads in heel and also in the forefoot.

Outsole systems – The outsole helps you to walk on a wide range of surfaces with optimal grip. The design help control take-off, stability, shock absorbing, grip and brake abilities so you can focus on the outdoor experience and not worry about whats under your feet. Often you will find a 90-degree heel design on the outsole. This is required for many activities in order to support a fixed point for the foot. The Sportsman boots feature the Gateway1 Field-sport™ Outsole system for stability, grip and durability

Gateway1 design each outsole pattern to support the intended function. The boots also include a shock absorbing midsole inspired from running shoes designs.

Verdict:

After all the hiking, climbing, and stream wading that day, we kept our feet dry and blister free. I wouldn’t normally use a pair of wellies for such distance, but I wanted to get some miles on them and put them under some stress. Gateway1 Sportsman boots have a really comfortable fit. The boots are also really warm, being suitable for temperatures down to -5 degrees Celsius they will withstand any conditions that I will ever see in Cornwall. The boots are well insulated and great for moderate winter temperatures – the boots did a fantastic job of keeping feet warm in cold water too.

The footbeds and outsole give this boot the edge and are very well designed and crafted, they really are superb on wet, slippy muddy terrain. The Sportman 18″ boots retail at £89.99 (Excellent!) which is an unbelievable price for footwear with this kind of spec. Gateway1 have a wider range of boots including a 12″ version of the Sportsman boot. For field work, hunting, fishing and general country wear I definitely recommend the Sportsman 1=boots all the perfect all round boot. Overall my experience of testing Gateway1 boots has been without any negatives whatsoever and a brand I will be preaching about for certain.

If you have any questions or comments, just pop them in the comments box below.

Specifications:

  • Models: Sportsman 18” 4mm / Sportsman 12” 4mm
  • Colour: 2106 Dark green
  • Size: 18” 3-17, 12” 8-14
  • Calf fit: Normal
  • Outsole: Field-sport™
  • Shank: Glass fiber
  • Footbed: G1®-stage1™ footbed
  • Lining: Coil lining™
  • Upper: G1® 62 vulcanized natural rubber™:
  • Comfort rating: -5C
  • Moisture transporting lining.
  • Vulcanized natural rubber™ compound in a very strong compound recipe.
  • Heel kicker function.
  • RRP: £89.99

A Big Thanks to:

A big thanks to the guys at Koolbox.co.uk for introducing me to Gateway1 and sending the Sportsman boots to try.