on September 26, 2014
These boots are hands down the most comfortable, versatile, well made and cost versus quality boots I've ever had. I'm such a fan of this specific product I refuse to wear any other type when the situation even remotely merits this type of foot wear.
This will be a comprehensive review, but I will title the sections so you can read what areas interest you, and pass the ones not relevant to your product review needs.
HISTORY: I was a police officer for almost two decades hence my introduction to this product. I was on my feet constantly, and these boots (despite trying others - even in the 5-11 family) are the best out there in my opinion. I've always returned to this product even when other boots were free. I've since changed jobs within the P.D., which still requires a great deal of being on my feet, and I wouldn't think of wearing any other footwear when I have the option/need.
QUALITY: These boots are constructed to last along with the many other great aspects they have. As other reviewers have mentioned they do require a little breaking in, but that is a good thing as far as I'm concerned. They mold to YOUR foot instead of forcing you into a boot which doesn't truly fit your feet the way it should - ideally. While sizing may be generic; foot shape is not. The ability to form to your feet without the cost of custom made to your exact specifications is appealing. They stand the test of time, and last and last. My first pair ever are still apart of my active foot wear however, I use them for fishing now as opposed to work.
After years and years of taking beatings, getting soaked in the rain, trudging through mud and every other element they are still as comfortable, and well made as when I first acquired them. The tread will wear down (as with most shoes) after years of wear, but the tread can be replaced without issue. The price for these boots are remarkable considering the time, use and return you will get out of them. I would gladly pay more than what I do since they last so long in addition to the other positives they have. However, I don't have to pay a boatload as they are extremely reasonably priced not even considering the lifespan of this product. I've been issued similar (but not the same product) boots, which cost far more, and they didn't last, weren't as comfortable, couldn't stand up to the elements and most importantly - didn't offer the support these do. After being on your feet all day it is amazing to take these off after a 13.5 hour shift and feel as if you weren't on your feet all day. If I could, I would wear nothing but these boots every time I sported footwear.
SUPPORT/COMFORT: I've had two lower back surgeries so shoes are very crucial to me. I can wear these without negatively impacting my condition. I can't say the same regarding other footwear I own. Shoe choice can really cause additional pain for my back let alone pain in other areas. My current job requires dress shoes about 50% of the time, and boy can My body tell the difference. I am not being overly dramatic nor overstating these boots attributes. These are such a comfortable boot with all the right/desired foot support. They provide cushioning, ankle support, comfort and every other desirable quality you'd want in a boot, IMO.
They are warm in the winter, and in summer months you don't get that damp interior, sweaty/wet sock - funky foot some similar products can produce. They have moisture wicking to keep your feet dry. If you are in a long sustained down pour they will get wet after a while naturally, but dry fairly quickly considering the solid construction. I haven't even had to change laces on a single pair I own. It seems to me the quality extends to every piece of this boot. Quality, or lack thereof, products tend to carry a reputation, and overall this product has a reputable, solid, reliable, heavy recommendation in my line of work for numerous reasons. Anything that helps make your job a little easier, safer, or more comfortable is spoken about, shared with newbies, and even personnel outside the job who have a need which falls in line with a product one is looking to purchase.
LIFESPAN: I own at least 7 pairs of these boots at last count (not including the 2 pair I just purchased). I keep three for work, three for play, and one for really dirty jobs. I rotate them out. My job as an officer, and now in my new position with the P.D., requires a very professional polished look. These boots shine up so nicely should you decide to shine them. They do require (as any boot you polish for a glass like shine) several base coats of polish worked in well in order to have the leather adequately absorb the polish, but once they get the base coat they shine up like a mirror, and easily as well. I've never had to strip the polish off of these to get back to that professional looking shine. I keep all three shined up, and rotate them through my work schedule just as a matter of convenience. As I stated I rotate these boots out. I purchase a new pair every so often in order to have my uniform always look sharp. Once the tread wears down a bit I will take the replaced pair and switch those to play/non-working
shoes. I have dedicated pairs for fishing, hunting, and hiking. Then I keep a pair for yard work and gardening. I've never thrown a pair away. No matter how dirty they get they always clean up well. If you are trooping through mud, some of the crevices require a toothbrush or similar implement to get into the crevices (if you're interested in a shiny military style look), but I've never had these become damaged, and I've put them through their paces consistently. (Running, climbing, etc., on every type of surface imaginable from snow, slush, wet ground, sand, gravel, and the well constructed tread has never left me with unsure footing. They even do fairly well on ice BUT to be fair ice is ice, and sometimes you'll slide unavoidably if you're not wearing spikes depending on the ice). I really love them for fishing and outdoor activities too. The ankle support helps hugely, and has helped me avoid ankle rolls which would otherwise probably leave me with a sprained or hurt ankle. Even though they provide support to your ankle they aren't the really high ankle boots that, in my opinion, are uncomfortable and always seem to dig in and rub some part of your ankle the wrong way.
I've never received a blister or rubbed raw spot while wearing these either. I've even worn these when I've had minor foot injuries (sliced a heel on a broken piece of glass in the kitchen while barefoot - ouch) and the support/padding they provided still made these a comfortable wear. On that note, due to the thickness of the tread, I've stepped on nails, glass, syringes and other hazards and safety factors, while wearing them, and never had a penetration. The protection they offer is fabulous!
This specific style does not have steel toes just as an item of note. Personally, I've never had an issue with that, but if you are looking for a steel toe boot you may want to look at a different option.
PRICE: I've already mentioned that the price versus quality is well worth it, and many other more expensive types do not measure up in my opinion. I've purchased these boots at multiple suppliers (even 5-11 directly) and Amazon, thus far, is the most inexpensive I've found, but even at other rates they're still the best around. If you invest in these boots you are receiving more than your money's worth without a doubt.
LACES -vs- ZIPPERS: Many of these type of boots come with a side zipper option/similar type of foot wear. I avoid that aspect as, in my experience, the laces are are much better than the laces plus zipper combo. You can adjust for fit and comfort better plus you don't have to worry about broken/snagged zippers. If the need arises, it's far cheaper to buy new laces as opposed to replacing a zipper or replacing the shoes themselves. Also, I think the zipper ones have one side that is structured/supported differently; which makes for an uneven feeling/fit. The laces only style gives you the all over molding to your foot, as opposed to one side which seems slightly off and much firmer or cardboardish. Not comfortable.
INTERIOR PADDING: After wearing these for a while, obviously, the padding inside can sometimes need to be supplemented. I've only had to do that once, and you can buy inserts easily which work well. The existing padding is very supportive, and works well on supporting your arches. My spouse, who has to put in podiatrist made custom inserts into his shoes, doesn't require them for these boots. Not everyone will have that luxury pending any foot problems they have, BUT he had to bring in his most utilized shoes to the doctor where he did some test on his shoes (twisting them to see if they twist easily, indicating if the support/construction of the shoe was sufficient, and these passed with flying colors). When a foot Doc tells you the shoes are well made for support I think that says something. My spouse is also an officer, and wears these frequently depending on mission, and has zero issues. His name brand - known for foot support - running/walking sneakers didn't pass the same podiatrist test, and he does need to wear his inserts for those shoes, but not these gems.
EXTERIOR: The leather portion of these shoes have never cracked on me as some leather shoes will do with time, use or just cruddy/cheap construction. The other elements of construction (adjacent to the laces) is just as solidly made as is the topmost upper rear portion. I've never had any separation in the part where the treading extending lip meets the leather on top of the toe and sides. After a couple years the black grommet holes where the shoes laces thread through do start to fade a bit and you can see some steel colored metal, but a magic marker (cheapest option) or other implements cover it up no problem. And that's if you're concerned with the boot remaining completely black all over. It's the only place I've experienced where the black color has even minutely faded. An easy fix though. The grommets have never come loose or popped out. The hooks on the top of the shoe (4 of them - 2 on each side) where you secure the laces just prior to tying have never come lose or changed colors on me. The treading is thick and designed for a stellar grip to a multitude of surfaces.
PROS: I think I pretty well covered them above, and I'm sure I've missed some aspects as I really can't recommend these highly enough.
CONS: The closest I can come to a con is the breaking in period. (But many shoes require some degree of breaking in). I can't give you a time line as it depends on how often you wear them. They can feel a wee bit snug during this process as they form, and the leather conforms to your feet however, I personally can't truly term this a con, for me, but purchasers may want to know this, as it is the boot forming to your foot; which is a good thing. I think they are great, and comfortable even before the breaking in period, but are for sure better after broken in. I would suggest not giving up on the breaking in stage if it takes a bit longer for some as opposed to others. You really will be missing out on a well constructed, affordable, supportive, comfortable, multifaceted boot.
While these boots do a great job considering they are not made to slog around in lake; they will take on water if you expose them to enough of it for a prolonged period of time. Puddles and low water aren't an issue and rain isn't a large issue, but mine did get thoroughly wet when standing in a hurricane for 12 hours. I think that is understandable, and to be expected when they clearly aren't galoshes. They also have a wee bit of weight to them initially. Not bad or much at all, and you quickly adjust to where you aren't cognizant of it, but when you first put them on (if you're not used to this type of boot) you may think they are a little heavier than your average shoe. They really aren't; particularly when compared with other like products, and especially when considering the coverage, support and comfort.
WHO I SUGGEST THIS BOOT TO: Anyone (everyone?) who stands on their feet a great deal, anyone who wants a comfortable and support structured boot/shoe, even if not wearing them all day. I've purchased them for my Dad - who is the pickiest shoe person I know - for fishing and gardening. He adores them and has subsequently purchased another pair for his dedicated fishing kit/travel bag. Really, anyone who wants a shoe that can provide warmth in cold weather, not make your feet sweat like crazy in heat, needs traction (but without sticking or getting caught in ground structure) in their footwear, needs a Multi-purpose shoe (you can run in these very easily which surprised me initially since they are a solid shoe) wants ankle support, but not necessarily with the feeling that your ankles are in a locking device, as some ankle support shoes have, shoes that will last despite what environment they are in, shoes that can be shined to look professional, but also be utilized in rugged conditions and withstand
elements. If you fall into any of those categories, these might be just what you need.
Really, I just can say enough positive things about this boot. If you are considering this boot I would seriously suggest purchasing them. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how versatile, and comfortable they are. I think they are the best in terms of all the listed benefits rolled into one shoe. This is the preferred foot wear of my Department, and many others. But make no mistake; these are not Law Enforcement only/specific boots. I've seen everyone from maintenance, garden, construction, sales and many other types of workers wear these, not to mention the recreational benefits and uses. Don't assume these are for professional use only, though they were designed initially for that purpose, these are for everybody/anybody. The uses are limitless.
A final item of note: I'm a female and purchase/purchased these - just ensure you check the male shoe size conversion chart to female size, if you are a female. And while they are a little bit heavier than a regular shoe it is to be expected and you rapidly adjust to it to the point you don't even notice. Take a chance on these - male or female - you won't be disappointed.