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  • Boot Review

    Seems like back in the day when we all wore black boots, options were limited. These days, with the desert boot out and less focus on "only military issue" boots (because of the extended combat ops and a less garrison environment) our options have opened up. I've just finished 5 months of training, 3 of that being IBOLC or Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course, and during that time have had the opportunity to put quite a few sets of boots through the paces. We've done a lot of walking obviously, roadmarches, river crossings, running in boots occasionally and extended land nav sessions (12 to 15 miles in advanced land nav).

    Below are the contenders and subsequent reviews

    [B]Army Issue Style Altama[/B]
    Price: $100 or so
    A durable boot, good fit but heavy relative to all the others. Feet start to ache a bit after long hours of wear in the field. Break in on these can take a few weeks, depending on the amount of wear you put on them. During long roadmarches, hot spots tended to form in some places on my heels. I've run in these and you can definitely feel the heavy sole after the first mile. Obviously a great boot, but unless you were issued them I wouldn't buy them.

    [B]Belleville Hot Weather[/B]
    Price: $95 at Clothing Sales
    A very popular model of boot, I think the Marines are actually issued these boots. Lighter than the Altamas, but my main problem with these boots is that they took forever to break in. I wore them for 2 weeks straight before doing a long land nav course, and developed some decent blisters on my heels after the first 5 to 6 miles of walking. Even now, after all day of wearing these boots my feet tend to ache some. Still a good boot for the price, some guys swear by them.

    [B]5.11 Tactical Series[/B]
    Price: $140 at Ranger Joes
    Super lightweight, almost no break-in required. During roadmarches, no blisters at all, although after the first 10 miles or so there seemed to be a lack of padding in the sole and my feet started to take a beating. They dry quickly after getting wet, and have drain holes just like issued boots. Very comfortable, can wear all day long and feet feel wonderful. Running in these is no problem, and I never had anyone tell me "those aren't authorized." Many people use these around post and for IBOLC, and even for Ranger school.

    [B]Blackhawk Warrior Wear[/B]
    Price: $125 at US Cavalry
    Saving the best for last. As good as the 5.11 is, it is still inferior to the Blackhawk. As for the Blackhawk compared to the Issue Altama's? might as well be wearing bricks on your feet as these Blackhawks are absolutely amazing. Roadmarches, running, all day long conducting missions...the hold up like a boot but feel like a running shoe. Truly amazing boot. Constantly sold out here, because so many people want them for Ranger school. I waited 2 months for a new shipment to come in. No breaking in required, and they are the lightest of the bunch. No problems wearing these around post, nobody ever questions "are they authorized?"

    I used to be a staunch believer in the "only wear what the Army gives me" theory, however I have come to realize that if you don't take care of your feet you are pretty much ineffective. Even if your job has you in a warehouse or in a vehicle all day, having comfort in your feet is well worth the price of a good pair of boots. We always preach good running shoes, the same should be said for boots. Hope this helps some, anyone else feel free to put in their experiences.
    Last edited by LT_77; July 3rd, 2008, 11:37 PM.

  • #2
    Thank you very much for the information and time. I wore my winter issues almost all of Bct and Ait because the summers have this plate in the heel that tears up my skin, couldnt caulous over and get an improvement. I've heard its a common problem but havent had feeling in my 'big' toes since. Now with more strenous drills i'm back stuck with the winters again. A few DS's showed us some cool boots during training but I dont remember the names. I know one basically had a tennis shoe sole and as comfy as them. I always think about purchasing ones myself during drill, but then it escapes my mind in between. Thanks again!


    • #3
      Great post LT. Those Blackhawks, look great, I will have to try them out. I have have gone through 3 pairs of the Altima, in the past few years and they are a good everyday boot but can use some improvement but not many big problems. I also have a pair of converse boots, they are light as a feather and very comfortable, but they just dont look right to me so I hardly wear them. Thanks again for posting that, I will try out the Blackhawks, if anyone else has used them please let us know.


      • #4
        I second the praise for the Blackhawks. Love em.


        • #5
          If you dont mind sir, I am going to add to this thread which was a great idea.

          Altama Ripple Sole Boots ($100 avg)

          I had a pair of these at the start of me OEF deployment. They were very comfortable then. Got a desert pair now and still work good for me. My black pair lasted only about 7 months. The lower calf portion had ripped because I have big feet at 12W and would pull a lot on it to squeeze them in there. With my desert pair now, it still requires a little force but its not too bad. I like them better then the standard issue Bellevilles that were previously listed. Very comfortable initially and easy to break in. Highly recommended.

          RangerJoes Direct Delta Combat boots ($49 desert)

          These were $49 back when I bought them overseas. The blacks are only $24.90 now. They were alright for cheap everyday boots if you weren't going to be on your feet all day. I just noticed RJ's is recalling all these since they say the quality doesn't meet their standards. There is a desert version, but its also recalled.

          RangerJoes Direct Ripple Sole ($32)

          Tried these thinking they were half as much as the Altamas and should be the same right? Wrong. These boots have the ripple trim go around the outer edge of the boots...which is uglier and they are not as comfortable as the Altamas. Wasn't long before I stopped wearing them and just wore the RJ Delta boots everyday. (Switching between pairs daily is usually recommended.) These suck.

          Can't really comment on blisters since I never was the blistering type even with my big feet. If I ever had any, they would have been in Basic with the longer marches and lower quality boots.
          Last edited by SteveLord; July 4th, 2008, 02:59 AM.


          • #6
            Thanks for adding to the thread! The more the better. I too have had ripple sole boots (black one's back in the day) and they were great for garrison. In the mud though, for some reason those soles just collect mud and you end up walking around with blocks on your feet. And I also agree on the $39 variety of the black ripple sole boot, absolutely terrible.

            I have another pair of boots that I use exclusively in the winter, or in seriously wet conditions. The Belleville Gortex boots, these were issued to me as well.


            Very little break in required, and obviously they are the best option for keeping your feet warm. A bit cumbersome, but seriously just about as waterproof as boots get. I ran a range one day and stood out in the pouring/drizzling rain the entire feet staying 100% dry with these boots.


            • #7
              Don't forget that great socks help out a lot too. I opened up the wallet at the local PX and bought a few pairs at $10 a pair. (I forget the brand and will re-post if I found out) but they are great. Foliage green, thick, but lined with silver which totally eliminates odor and keeps em dry. I was originally getting them for AT, but because of the flood duty I got to test them out early. I never liked army issue socks!
              Last edited by SteveLord; July 4th, 2008, 11:37 AM.


              • #8
                What type are issued when you go to Basic at Ft. Benning? I bought some $40.00 cheap-o's and work in them every day to prepare my feet. I do landscaping an I am basically walking all day and carrying heavy bags of soil, mulch and manure. I figured I would get the cheapest garbage boot so my feet would get tough.


                • #9
                  Anyone reading this have a good recomendation for ACU approved boots that are available in large (15-16) sizes? I noticed that a lot of the boots in this review stop at size 13 or 14.


                  • #10
                    [QUOTE=dindelus]What type are issued when you go to Basic at Ft. Benning? I bought some $40.00 cheap-o's and work in them every day to prepare my feet. I do landscaping an I am basically walking all day and carrying heavy bags of soil, mulch and manure. I figured I would get the cheapest garbage boot so my feet would get tough.[/QUOTE]

                    You will get the Altamas as well as a pair of either bellevilles or bates cold weather boots. They are ok, you will b alright in them for your training, they do however take some time to break in.


                    • #11
                      My last and current unit have only issued the Bellevilles.


                      • #12
                        Converse Boots

                        I picked up a pair made by Converse, and they rock. Comfy like a pair of tennis shoes. After 18 years on my feet, I need comfort.


                        • #13

                          Ranger Joe's Direct Boots - Pro-Med ACU
                          [A1018] $59.00

                          Designed for the ACU (Army Combat Uniform). Using running shoe technology, these boots help to protect your back, knees, and feet. Dual density polyurethane rubber midsole provides shock absorption and energy return, while cushioning your feet.

                          Durable Pro-Med traction outsole
                          Contour cushion removable insole
                          Steel shank
                          Leather ankle support
                          Gusset tongue
                          Speed laces
                          Moisture wicking CoolTex lining
                          Breathable, rough-out leather
                          Padded collar
                          1000D CORDURA upper
                          Oil and slip resistant soles.
                          Ht: 9". Wt: 3.25 lb.
                          4-11, 12-14 M(medium) and W(wide) widths.

                          Good morning!

                          Have any of you used this Pro-Med boot and if so, what are your thoughts? I would like to get a pair for rucking and these have a good price point - also I want to make sure they are acceptable for OCS.

                          Thanks in advance-
                          Last edited by GutshotStraight; October 13th, 2008, 01:07 PM.


                          • #14
                            Ive bought Ranger Joes direct boots once before...and they were decent, but nothing special. Not something I would endure through rough terrain.


                            • #15

                              Thanks SteveLord...

                              I have been hiking decent distances (for me) and I figured I might as well get a pair of boots to get used to.

                              The price tag caught my eye @ $59 but I realize you get what you pay for.

                              Maybe I should just suck it up and buy a really good pair as is noted earlier in this thread. (or buy both!)