Monday, January 6, 2014

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I take good care of my boots; saddle soap, boot polish and Neatsfoot oil after hard use and especially after exposure to salt . . . S.L.

I bought this pair of Danner "Fort Lewis" boots back in 1985. They are Airborne Qualified (more than 5 jumps - a LOT more - mostly at night with combat equipment) and have soldiered on 2 continents in all conditions; cold wet winters and thick snow. Full leather uppers, insulated, Vibram soles. Some moisture problem when you sweat into the insulated interior, and a bit heavy (full leather boot) but okay for medium level work.

I was issued this pair of Reichle's in Stuttgart in 2004. Also Airborne Qualified, also soldiered on 2 continents all conditions and above 10,000 feet in the winter. This was actually my second pair - the first pair wore out after 2 years hard military service in urban environments (in all fairness this will take it out of any boot). I babied this second pair and got ten years out of them. Leather upper, vibram soles, very comfortable, very warm & dry.

As you can see the Reichle's blew out - shoe repair place says it is the base of the boot itself that separated, not just the sole; they cannot be repaired.

Bottom Line

The Danner's win for overall durability, but again, big moisture problem with the insulation when you sweat into them. Because of this, they are not the preferred boot for long, hard marches or dismounted operations over several days but are okay for modern operations (which usually involve vehicles). These boots require thick, wool socks - we used to rotate the sweaty ones under our shirts to dry them out. They are comfortable boots and I like them.

The Reichle's are a light weight boot with good insulation - never noticed a moisture problem. In fact, the insulation is so good I only ever had to wear thin nylon socks - the black socks we normally wear in dress uniform with our low-quarters. I've actually seen US soldiers wearing them in the tropics. They are extremely comfortable.

HAIX® Mission Boot

Developed in cooperation with the KSK Kommando Spezialkräfte (Special Forces Command, KSK - German Special Forces), these boots have soldiered from Afghanistan to Papua New Guinea to northern Sasketchewan - they are the epitome of the Four Season Boot.

I don't have the operational time in these boots, of course, but from the moment the Haix people introduced this boot to me I recognized it as the best military footgear I've ever seen. Lightweight comfort and support matched with superior support and tough, robust exterior designed for the brutal conditions in Central Asia. You could walk on the moon in these boots.

My next pair of boots.



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