Beleville TR102 Tactical Research Minimalist Training Boot
|Price:||$139.99 - $153.99|
- A true minimalist boot with a 5 millimeter “drop”
- Exclusive Vibram® “Tarsus” oil and slip resistant rubber
- Highly breathable unlined leather & nylon upper
- Double & triple stitched seams for enhanced durability
- Padded Achilles support
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Height: 8” (Standard Military Height). Upper: Flesh-out leather & 1000 denier Cordura® nylon. Midsole: Compression molded EVA. Outsole: Exclusive Vibram® “Tarsus” oil and slip resistant rubber. Insole: Single density molded EVA. 5 millimeter “drop”. Highly breathable unlined upper. Double & triple stitched seams for enhanced durability. Padded Achilles support. Convenient pull-on loop. AR 670-1 Compliant.
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I'm a carpenter & spend hours on my feet, carrying things, climbing ladders & walls, etc. Protection is important, and in the past I've enjoyed (but not really needed) steel-toed boots. I need some protection, so I can't just work in my running shoes.
I did a lot of research in my new quest for free toes. The traditional boot manufacturers have just ignored the market for low-drop, wide forefoot boots. This Belleville boot appears to be the lone exception.
So far I like the boots. They are not as wide as the Altra shoes in the toebox, which was a little disappointing. They are very light (probably because the upper part is just nylon--zero protection or ankle support, but it will keep the sawdust out). The laces move smoothly through the grommets, and overall the have a well-built feel.
Attached photo compares the Belleville boots in 12M & 12W. There is NO DIFFERENCE. They have the exact same footbed. I'm frankly not sure what they're going for here--why bother with such tomfoolery? I had hoped that the W would approach the width of the Altras (see footbed photos), but no dice.
I will update this review after I've had a chance to beat them up for a while. If they last 2 years, I'll be very pleased.
- The only real option for a minimalist boot that doesn't look like a moccasin
- Supremely comfortable
- Good breathability
- Wide toe box, better grip than traditional boots
- All the other stuff minimalist shoes are good for
- Uppers are poor quality, already scuffing or flaking within a month
- Lace-loops are placed in ergonomically incongruent places. They tend to dig into the side of your foot
- Long break in period
- Hard sole adds to the break in period (on the bright side, its probably the most durable part of the boot)
- Traction in snow and ice could be better
- Lack of competition in this market means these are unlikely to improve soon
All in all, I expect I'll have to replace these within a year if I wear them everyday.
SO....that leaves me with what to wear on the Harley? I have worn Belleville boots since the 80's in the Army. For the past 3 years I have worn a great pair of Bellevilles - 13 XW - with 400 grams of Thinsulate insulation in them...with wool socks I can wear them below freezing on the bike and all day in over 100 degree heat walking around bike rallys many times. I really don't NEED to get a new pair.
the problem: Once you get used to Zero Drop and light weight shoes...it's HARD to put up with those clunky 5 pound boots...even with the extra up size and wide width...as my feet spread out (as they should) with wearing the Altra's all the time...I noticed my toes feeling a little cramped in my traditional combat boot...and then yeah...lugging around an extra 5 pounds on each foot gets to wear on the brain, lol.
I decided to get these - and I AGREE - SIZE UP and go WIDE. - and really ONLY get into these if you are used to the whole zero drop movement...my achilles is fully stretched out now after a year in Altra's....but I did start with just one pair of them...and only for short periods...and only a few days a week. It takes time to 'free the feet' without injury...but its worth the time investment.
Out of the box - a tiny bit of rubbing on the pinky toe - went away with 15 minutes of wearing/flexing/walking.
Like all my favorite boots - very little ankle support - which I like. I prefer the "jungle boot style" uppers and have worn them for 30 years + - my ankles are so strong I hike in low top shoes and attribute that to wearing jungle boot styles since I enlisted in the mid 80's.
Toe box IS NOT as wide as Altra's...but they are "foot shaped" and that's important - I like these fine with ordering up to the 14 2E from my normal 132E in Bellevilles...and I WEAR 14's in all my Altras - so if that helps you some in sizing...
Arches - none - as they should be with minimalist shoes - arch support is a crazy, painful memory now - and I have zero problems anymore -last year I logged over 750 miles in training and trail and road races - my first year with zero pain or pulls - free the feet - your whole body will thank you once it adapts to the way you were born!
Seeing as though I will really only wear these on the Harley...I suspect they will last eons...but I think I'd order them again if I needed them.