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Ray Mears Reviews Our New Jameson Courteney Boots

Harbouring a wish to die with one’s boots on, like the old cowboys of 1960s westerns, is fine but ask any adventurer and he will tell you that the first item on the ‘must have’ list when packing is a pair of comfortable, rugged boots to live in!

Whatever terrain you encounter, your feet will be the part of your body most in contact with it and the quality of your boots the key factor in determining how pleasant or otherwise that contact is.

Bad boots remind you of their presence with every painful or noisy step. Good boots render you oblivious of their presence and allow you to focus on what you are doing; be that climbing a rock or stalking a lion.

Ray Mears learned the joys of Courteney Boot ownership long ago. “I guess this world splits between those who have fallen in love with Courteney Boots and those who have yet to discover them”, he says.

For those in the latter camp, Courteney Boots are made in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe from wild animal hides and tyre rubber, using machinery introduced in the 1980s and employing local craftsmen to create uniquely African adventure boots. They have become the staple footwear of professional hunters, rangers, conservationists, field researchers and photographers all over the continent, and Westley Richards are delighted to continue its long and enduring partnership with the company.

Whether hunting with a rifle or a camera, the benefits of Courteney's in the bush are legion. Ray Mears observes, “I love their quality of manufacture but mostly their grip and flexibility. Tracking wildlife requires me to negotiate steep and slippery ground and to frequently kneel to examine spoor”.

Ray recently tested his new Jameson Boots; the latest offering from the Courteney Boot Co, and immediately appreciated their qualities in the face of some very African challenges; “When the going gets really tough, over rocky ground, through dense thorn scrub or where there are ticks and leaches, my preference is for the higher cut Jameson boot.”

He continues; “With these on, my foot is supported against twisting on loose rocks, my ankle is protected from thorns, penetrating grass seeds and abrasions. Where ticks try to latch on, I can tuck my trouser legs into the boot, shutting out any unwanted guests.”

The Jameson is the highest of the Courteney Boot Co. range, with seven eyelets taking the boot to calf-height, where the soft leather and padded tops seal nicely and feel like a second skin. Ray noticed the benefits of this when he observed; “Most surprising is the better support provided by the higher cut makes the boot feel lighter; more a part of me than an item of footwear”.

With comfortable, beautifully-made and flexible footwear, every adventure can be tackled with confidence. The Jameson is available with a choice of three sole types but, Ray agrees, the traditional tyre tread is ideal for the rocky, sandy terrain of much of the African bush. “The sole has superb grip, yet retains flexibility, making keeling easy and less tiring. The hidden secret, however, of the flexible sole, is stealth. A flexible sole is also a sensitive sole, making it easy to feel the ground and step silently; an advantage that has enabled me to keep my eyes up, while moving forwards, which more than once has saved my hide when I have tracked too close to lions.”


At £325, the Courteney Jameson boots are not a budget purchase but if, like Ray Mears, you appreciate performance and quality, they are a solid investment.

He says “There is no question as to their strength and quality of manufacture, these boots are made as all good boots used to be made; properly stitched from premium leather, an investment that will last many years”.

Available in the UK exclusively from Westley Richards, the Courteney Jameson Boot comes in full and half sizes, in dark-tan bovine hide, with spare laces, a shoe brush, cloth and polish.

If you are heading for rugged adventure and you are only taking one pair of boots, the Jameson is the perfect choice.

Special thanks to Ray. To discover more about his incredible background in bushcraft and his adventures on television, visit:

Alongside its custom rifles, luxury travel bags and high quality country clothing, the modern Westley Richards continues a 200-year tradition of outfitting hunters and adventurers for the rigours of outdoor life. With an unrivalled heritage of safari wear, the company produces a range of luxury safari clothes for the ultimate safari packing list. Inspired by former clients Ernest Hemingway and Stewart Granger each safari jacket, hunting shirt and cargo trouser reflects Westley Richards ethos of timeless style and exceptional quality. Pair a rugged safari shirt and safari shorts with some world famous Courteney boots and a classic safari hat.


  • Paul Phelan Professional Hunter and Wildlife Manager on April 2, 2024 at 11:37 am

    I purchased my first Courtenay boots in 2001 and a better fitting and long lasting comfortable boot I could not have wished for . I have worn them continuously for 20 years in the field hunting and working . My second pair is almost ready to be resoled as I move into my new third pair of Safaris . They are by far the best safari footwear that you can buy and wear under all manner of conditions.

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