As the weather warms in the spring and summer a whole new world opens up for exploration and adventure. What footwear do I want to wear on my next adventure? Hiking Boots? River Sandals? Sneakers?

What do I really want to wear on my feet on my next trip? How about Hydro Recon made by a company called LALO Tactical that makes footwear designed by and for special operations forces.

This boot is your one piece of “must have” footwear for all your adventures.

Over the past month I have extensively tested this boot in a variety of land and water conditions and I must say this is one superlative boot.

On the day the boots arrived I was filled with anticipation as I opened the box. I was immediately struck by the olive drab, neoprene, and surf booty like construction with medial zipper, anti-debris gusset, and what appeared to be a ceramic-coated toe cap. Would these boots really hold up to the punishment I was going to put them through and are they really worth the money?

TECH SPECS as advertised

  • A dynamic, quick-response shoe with minimalist feel for all surfaces.
  • Full drainage
  • Anti-inversion mid foot support and fit strap
  • Neoprene surf booty construction w/ medial zipper and anti-debris gusset
  • OCF Fit System [1]
  • Ceramic-coated SUPER FABRIC toe cap

In order to fully assess the pros and cons of these amphibious Hydro Recon boots I concluded these boots needed an extensive land and water test. For the land test I decided to use a crawl, walk, and run approach. The crawl phase would consist of high intensity interval training (HIIT), the walk phase would involve a five-mile speed march, and I would conclude the run phase with a 3 mile run. For the water test I settled on a run, swim, and run consisting of a one mile run, thousand meter fin, and one mile run followed by a separate trial on a later date involving a kayak.

Land Test

For the crawl phase I decided to just slip the boots on and conduct some high intensity interval training (HIIT) which would include crawling.

I unzipped the boots and used the pull tabs on the rear of each boot to slip them on to my feet and I adjusted the fit with the fit strap. One feature I really liked was there was no need to lace anything. Just zip and adjust the velcro strap. I also noticed the toe box on these boots provided plenty of room and the toe on these boots was covered with a ceramic-coated SUPER FABRIC toe cap. This material felt like Kevlar.

These boots fit me perfectly and performed extremely well. They gripped the gym floor in a spectacular manner and shined in sprints and multi-directional movements. In the outdoor dirt and grass area they were excellent. No slipping or sliding. I was impressed.

For the walk phase I decided to conduct a 5 mile speed march with a 35lb rucksack on a hard surface bike trail with some rolling hills. I liked how these boots felt on my feet. They were light, roomy; there was no slippage or rubbing. These boots appeared to be designed for speed. I hit the trail hard but it didn’t feel like I was wearing boots. I was truly impressed with the cushioning. No need to loosen up laces or tighten anything.

I did traverse several small creeks during my speed march because I wanted to test the drainage on these boots and I was not disappointed. There was no sloshing around of water in my boot, nor did my boots feel heavy; the water drained right out with no problem.

The ceramic-coated SUPER FABRIC toe caps also did their job and protected by toes from a variety of obstructions that I banged my feet on. By the end of my march the boot was dry and so were my feet. The boot never tightened around my feet or ankles but remained supple.

For the run phase I determined the best test would be a standard 3 mile run. As I put on these boots I wondered if my feet would be a mess after this little jaunt. I started my run and immediately noticed the fit; these boots fit like a glove. I also noticed these boots were dynamic, provided super cushioning, and felt as good or better than my standard running shoe which is the Nike Air Zoom Odyssey 2 shoe. My feet felt supported all around. Wow, extraordinary!

These boots performed flawlessly. Now for the water test.


Water Test

For the water test I decided to start my testing with a run, swim, and run consisting of a one mile run, thousand meter fin, and one mile run. The run was quick and the transition to the pool was quick. I entered the gym, grabbed my fins, went straight to the pool, where I effortlessly slipped on my fins and entered the water. No need to adjust anything.

I rapidly conducted a 1000 meter fin and exited the water. I took off my fins and stored them, rapidly toweled off, slipped on my shirt and went back outside to complete my one mile run. I noticed as I walked from the locker room to the area outside the gym there was no trail of water; these boots had drained in my walk from the pool to locker room. The final run was effortless. I felt nimble and fast.

My final test for these boots involved conducting some boat work in a kayak. I put on the boots, moved the kayak out into the water and jumped into for a short paddle. The boots were perfect. The boots provided plenty of support under my feet and around my ankles and my feet had plenty of room. These boots are much better than Keens or Chacos for water work because the boots provide excellent ankle support and your feet are anchored in the boot and do not slide around. Again the boot drained rapidly and by the end of my trip my feet were fairly dry.

Summary

These boots are absolutely superb. They provide the support of a mid-weight hiking boot, excellent arch support, the feet are solidly anchored to the foot-bed, and the soles are super grippy, comfy, and very durable. They price at $140.00

If you are an active individual instead of buying multiple shoes or sandals for different environments just buy a pair of these Hydro Recon boots by LALO Tactical. You can use these to hike, or backpack in the spring, summer, or fall; and you can use these boots in a variety of workouts, and for a variety of water sports.

SPECS: Dynamic, quick-response shoe with minimalist feel for all surfaces. Features full drainage, Anti-Inversion mid foot support and fit strap, neoprene surf booty construction with medial zipper and anti-debris gusset, OCF Fit System, and ceramic-coated SUPER FABRIC toe cap.

  • PRODUCT SCORES
    Functionality: 5/5
    Weight: 5/5
    Durability: 5/5
    Cost: 5/5
    Comfort: 5/5

 

  • PROS & CONS
    Pros

Extremely functional

Comfortable from the start

Lightweight, agile and durable

Great drainage system and quick drying

Added protection in the toe area with the Ceramic-coated SUPER FABRIC toe cap

No need to lace-up anything

Cons

Price – they are expensive but you only need one pair for multiple environments.

[1] “Operator Component Fit System.” The OCF system is comprised of a stability arch constructed into the outsole of the shoe to provide balance, an anatomical footprint consisting of an integrated midsole that wraps up the heel and forefoot, anatomical lacing to relieve pressure on the instep/top of foot, and a stability wrap for lateral support.

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.

 

Brought to you by the dudes at Spotter Up

Comments

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About The Author

M is a multi-skilled professional with over 34 yrs of combined military and government service. He joined the Marine Corps in 1983, commanding infantry and reconnaissance units at multiple levels and served in a variety of staff positions. He has deployed multiple times to the Pacific and the Middle East to include combat tours in Kuwait, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan in a variety of capacities. Since retiring from the military M has continued his government service. He is an avid outdoorsman and athlete. He enjoys shooting sports, hiking, hunting, working out (swim, bike, run), and participating in endurance style events like Go-Ruck and Tough-Mudder, which promote camaraderie and teamwork. He completed the Infantry Officer Course, US Army Airborne Parachutist Course, US Army Ranger School, US Army Special Forces Combat Diver Qualification Course, US Army Jumpmaster Course, US Army Special Forces Qualification Course, and US Army Airborne Freefall Parachutist Course. He earned the following decorations Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Commendation Medal with Gold Stars and Combat ‘V’, and Meritorious Service Medal. M subscribes to the Spotter Up way of life. “I will either find a way or I will make one”.

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2 Responses

  1. Joe H

    Thanks for the great review! What kind of fins were you using for your swim?? I’ve used LALO Bloodbirds exclusively for the last few years for workouts and just around town, and I’ve never been disappointed. Great company. Thanks again!

    Reply
    • M

      US Diver’s Rocket Fin which is what many of the special operations training programs use.

      Reply

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