Friday, January 6, 2012

Kiowa Assault Boot - Review

This is the one of several new designs available through a company called "Tactical Research" (basically a cheaper, foreign subsidiary of Belleville. Think American stratocaster versus Mexican stratocaster; it does the same shit, just the people who are doing it don't speak any English). Long story short, I needed new boots and these looked decent (notice I didn't say 'great'), the price was right at a hair under $100, and the online reviews seemed favorable. A couple weeks in and I'm not totally sold on these things, but I'll start the commentary now and fill in the gaps down the road if anything changes. Once again, I'm not going to re-post the factory specs or any of the marketing; if you want that shit use Google, otherwise I'm sticking to the meat and potatoes here.

The good shit: Overall these boots seem to be well constructed. I'm a little concerned about the sheer number of pieces in the whole construction possibly creating more weak points than is necessary, but so far no issues. The insoles are very comfortable (though the outer sole will be addressed in a moment. Not thrilled...) and the metal eyelets built into the underside of the leather is a cool feature. The sizing is a little off (I wear a 11.5 regular, and these are about a half size big) but that's not too uncommon with inexpensive boots. There aren't any major blister points that I've noticed thus far, so that's definitely a plus (obviously I will continue to break them in and see what happens, but at least on this front it's looking good).

The shitty shit: The outer sole pisses me off. I'm not going to sugar coat it. The working portion of it is actually smaller than the outline of the boot itself, which makes it feel a little wobbly at first. For an in-garrison boot, this wouldn't be much of an issue, but as soon as I put them on I started having field-exercise rolled-ankle nightmares. It just doesn't feel stable at all, and I've already pulled out my old S2Vs so I don't have to use these fucking things anywhere outside of the office. The toe cap is a little ghey looking as well; it gives this overall appearance of some kind of pointy genie shoe that I'm not a big fan of.

Meh: I have a couple personal gripes, but they're not really detractors. The padded ankle makes tucking pant legs a pain in the ass. Everything is soft and smooth and doesn't keep the pant leg tucked in at all, so you will sepdn 10-15 minutes a day re-blousing your pants. If you get these, I highly recommend blousing straps instead. The laces that come with the boots are the puffy thick kind that you have to tighten one eyelet at a time, and I ended up replacing them with 550 cord for a bit slicker texture. I'm a little concerned that the sole is not stitched to the upper in anyway (everything is glued/laminated/whatever you want to call it). I don't know if this will be stronger or not, but it just makes me uneasy.

Overall: This boot is okay. Not something I'm going to rave about, because frankly I will probably not be buying a second pair of these. Still, it's an acceptable boot that is perfectly sufficient for normal day to day ops. The lower price tag (They can be had on sale for around 80 buck) is a plus as well, but I would not be caught dead with these things on my feet in any situation I might potentially twist/roll an ankle, because they will make it 100% worse.

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