If you’ve been in the service or on the job for any length of time, you’ve heard of Bates.  From official issue to sleek modern designs, grunts, POG’s and admin types have all seen what Bates can produce.  The company has been doing combat and tactical footwear in some form or another since 1885.  That’s over 130 years of warfighter and ass kicker experience, not to mention recreational, dress, and riding kicks.  We were honored that Bates chose the Spotter Up crew to test and provide some feedback on their new Raide series.

Several team members tested iterations of Raide boots. From black leather duty type full 8”, to 6” desert, side zip and lace-up.  Bates describes the Raide series as “built like a true running shoe” which “gives you a dynamic fit…  The streamlined upper design provides maximum breathability, while the slip-resistant outsole and its cushioned midsole deliver a smooth ride.“  I have to preface that particularly in regards to slip resistance, my portion of the review was going to be held until rougher weather came in.  I feel that with the Midwest seasons being what they are, I got a good feel.

This was the first real athletic-style boots I have ever worn.  While it took me a minute to get used to a lighter and more flexible boots, it required no time at all to wear in or get used to the comfort.  This boots is light.  If you are used to a lug sole or a larger, more supportive shank, this will be different.  I feel like the Raide is not as much a running shoe, as a slipper.  I mean a good, old-fashioned household slipper that feels comfortable and you don’t mind keeping on for extended periods.  In fact, I’ve stayed with Raide full size 8” side zips for 16 hour shifts, and found them to be supportive and comfortable. I felt no fatigue, no hot spots and my feet did not scream for that relief as when you kick off a heavier pair of boots.  Majority of my work was used for the street.  Concrete, grass, some sand, and water.  The Raide held up well.  Although not water resistant and without Gore-Tex, my feet stayed dry after trucking through some relatively large storms.  I do feel that the Raide is a three season shoe.  While entirely usable in winter conditions, something like a GX-8 GTX might be a better fit, if you’re after a sport-fitting boots with more protection from the elements.

A ¼ mile runs in Raide’s felt just as fine and comfortable as a pair of broken-in running shoes.  They have a nice balance of flex and support.  When it came to moving heavier things, such as a vehicle, where you use more of a platform than just your weight, I felt the Raide’s flex and give a little more than I like.  However, and that was my main concern, they did not loosen up.  I always have reservations about using a side-zip, in that I like my laces pretty snug.  But days of in-and-out with only the side-zip proved that it maintained consistent fit. The sole of the boot is does not appear overly aggressive, however it grips.  I had no issues with traction, however I did not use the Raide’s in snow or on ice.  I climbed stairs, rocks, and walls, and have become confident in the Bates Raide boots.  I particularly like the reinforced heel.  Too often in vehicle and patrol operations that area gets worn out.  It is also handy when forcing doors and pushing off for rapid movement.

In presentation the Raide boots look sporty, and presentable.  They are not obnoxious as like some duty boots, aiming to overstate their own design. The Raide’s polish up nice, although I did not take the time to put on a parade shine, I did shine them daily. The breathability is nice as well, and on very hot days I had no issues with my feet sweating.  The mesh on the upper, left and right has nice padding and additional reinforcement, which keeps the upper straight, but also protects the outer side of the foot, which is a nice feature.  I have cleaned the boots with both running hose water, and spray disinfectant.  They maintained the clean, new appearance.

Overall I am very pleased with the Bates Raide 8”, and must say that they exceeded my expectations.  If asked to rate them, I would go with 4 out of 5 stars, just because it would be nice to have a little more support in the sole, like a shank insert. However that it my own preference, and if you are after a true sports duty boot, this one will be your go-to for hours of room clearing.

Yoshimoto also tested a pair, particularly at one of the many Spotter Up shooting team matches.  He adds that the Raide boots were super comfortable all day on the range, and kept his feet warm and dry: “didn’t think about feet once, which is a good thing”.  “The tread worked well on a muddy range” which I think may have helped him win.  Mike Kursina noted “shoes are stylish and good for everyday use”.  He felt that the Raide boot is better suited for walking, though not necessarily hiking.  This jives with my narrative above, and is consistent with the intent of the design and softer sole.  “For the street, Bates Raide offer good cost, great style, and functionality for daily wear on the street.”

So overall, the Raide boots by Bates rated 4 out of 5 stars, with flexibility of the sole being a consideration in use and personal preference.  The Raide series by Bates has enough variety of styles, models and features to fit most needs.  With colors, waterproof, zide zip and style variants, one thing maintained true to Bates description: “The Raide truly is a tactical boot with the sole of a runner.”

Other features include:

• Durable leather and performance nylon upper
• Breathable lining
• X40 Ortholite® removable cushioned insert for added comfort in every step
• YKK® size zipper for easy on and off
• Molded TPU heel cup for improved stabilization
• Lightweight cushioned EVA midsole to deliver flexibility and performance
• Slip resistant rubber outsole
• Strobel/Cement Construction for an athletic, comfortable fit
• 8 mm heel to toe drop provides an athletic platform for a more balanced, comfortable and powerful foot posit.

Material Disclosure

I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer via Spotter Up so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.

*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

By Rab

Rab has been in public service for some 17 years, holding several specialized assignments, and becoming a law enforcement and emergency services instructor. He has 10 years in the military and currently serving as a reservist, fire team leader and medic. He enjoys learning, writing, doing grunt work, and helping other vets in need. To further that goal, they started Grunt’s BBQ and Easy Company. A future mobile chow hall, coming to an AO near you.

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