08 February 2011

Lightweight Footwear

About 3 months ago I was looking really hard at light weight boots that would provide max breathability. I did a lot of research and asked a lot of questions. As a lot of you know, we used to work with Wellco so my search started there.

Like I stated, my requirements included light weight and breathability, but I also wanted to run with something in a 6" height. I started with Wellco and found that their new GenII Jungle Boot-ELite fit the bill for light weight and breathability, and it had a very low profile sole. They are being billed as a sub-16oz. boot; which would be awesome! However, they do not, and will not make these in a 6" height so I moved on. The general consensus, based on research and feedback was OTB Bushmaster, with a hand full of Lowa Zephyr mixed in. So like any normal thinking human being would do...I bought both.

Some Specs on both

OTB Bushmaster: (Direct from OTB's website)
  • Mid cut height for those wanting a "faster boot", made especially for Special Forces units needing the best equipment.
  • High traction non squeak Vibram outsole and midsole unit. This provides the best combination of traction and cushion in a boot today.
  • Large mesh quarter panel with leather reinforcements make this boot cool even in the hottest conditions.
  • Double Reinforced lace loops are made not to fail in the field
  • Variable Sausage Laces will not come untied
  • Reinforced climbing rubber toe and heel to help when scaling walls
  • Dual Density cushioned footbed with Drill-lex lining for increased wicking and foot comfort.
  • Weight: 2.0 lbs per pair.
Lowa Zephyr:
  • Bi-injection PU midsole with cushioning and support.
  • Monowrap construction for stable, close to the foot fit.
  • LOWA Cross sole unit with three quarter length shank for stability.
  • Breathable textile lining.
  • Split leather and fabric uppers.
  • Weight: 2.40 lbs per pair.

Both of these pair of boots are all that they were billed to be. The Lowa's are a bit heavier but I don't think I notice the 4 oz difference. They both have merit in their own right. The Bushmaster's have some external features, such as the "sharkskin" on the toe and heel for abrasion resistance. While the Zephyr's fit nice and snug on your foot, almost like a sock with a boot sole on the bottom. There is but one negative to these boots and it is a negative of both. Because they are so light weight and breathable, they also allow your feet to get cold very rapidly. After all, breathability works both ways. However, when the heat of Baghdad kicks in here in a couple of months, I will be glad they work as billed. They've both taken a beating in the New Mexico desert prior to coming here, and have additionally been run through the Jan/Feb rain and mud here in Baghdad. Both have performed admirably in each setting and I would recommend them to anyone looking for "go faster" boots!

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