13 October 2010

Boots...There Are So Many Options

So today we're talking about boots. Boots are an ever evolving piece of "equipment" that one is constantly looking to improve. Well...just like us, the boot companies are constantly trying to improve design, comfort, durability, etc.

What do I know? I know that boots manufactured overseas are readily available and are ALWAYS easier on the wallet. Why do American companies manufacture overseas? Margins baby...margins! Not to mention, this offers the customer affordability in order to compete with whatever else is in that market. This isn't specific to boots, this is business across the board, but it definitely applies here.

Over the course of the last year and a half, we have learned a lot about the boot industry, but more so about the production process. Some high points from the last year and a half:
-It takes a long time to bring a design to market
-China is the quickest and most cost effective place to do rapid prototyping
-Berry Compliant = MUCH greater expense, thus MUCH greater price tag
-I now know what a "last" is and that it is very costly to make new designs of them
-Superfabric is AWESOME
-Vibram soles are expensive to use
-Footwear people are smart

Thats a lot of giberish...however, if you think about everything you love and hate about your boots, the giberish may help shed some light onto what you have on your feet.

I wear Wellco. There are a number of reasons why I wear Wellco but the most important reason is because I know what I like in a pair of boots. Thats obvious to us all, but it pertains to me because I have had a lot of input on design and features over the last year and a half. This is also another reason I like Wellco as a company...they listen. They care about the end user and his feedback from the battlefield.

Check out some of their new stuff!

1 comment:

  1. So following up...

    I ran the Wellco Hybrid Hikers really hard for a few days in the field last week. I am a big fan of several different aspects of this boot and not so much of one particular feature. The things I like a lot:

    -The insoles are very comfortable. When I say very comfortable, I mean the most comfortable boot insoles that have ever touched my feet. I currently own 5 pair of Wellco boots, 2 pair of Danners, 1 pair of Matterhorns, and 3 pair of Merrels. The Hybrid Hiker kills all of them in insole comfort.
    -They are a 6" boot and I didnt know how much I was going to like them in that height. Turns out I like that a lot. Im not sure how to really compare but it felt like I was more agile on the ankle/foot level while moving at any pace with guns and gear.
    -I was running through mud, dirt, rocks, ect and they always came out clean. This isnt something I particularly care about, I was simply surprised.
    -VERY lightweight!
    -Very soft, padded collar.

    The one thing I didnt like:

    -1 hot spot on each foot. The tongue is is connected to the body of the boot about 2/3 the way up. While I like that feature most times, the material used is way too thick. It is the kevlar woven material they use in the side panels of the boot and when it folds into the boot it created a hot spot on the inside front of my ankle. It wasnt something that made me go switch out boots, but it was annoying especially when taking a knee. This happened on the right and left boot in the exact same spot. I dont know if it is a case of having these properly broken in before taking them to the field, but I think I am going to take the scissors to them and remove that connector to eliminate the hot spot.

    One further observation: These are not a waterproof pair of boots. When walking in tall grass full of morning dew, your feet are going to get wet.

    Overall, theyre a very nice pair of boots. I would recommend them to anyone headed to the Afghan theater in a second. Stay tuned, youre going to see the Tactical Revolution designed hot weather hiker come out very soon with a lot of the same technology that went into this boot.