Most people with an interest in things such as shooting, hiking or fitness have an interest in good boot-wear. Enter the Under Armour Valsetz. I wasn’t really sure what to think when I first looked at these things. Like most of our readers I too have purchased many pairs of boots over the years, some good and some not so good. It was time to give the Valsetz a try. Would they hold up to the task?
I was willing to give it a try. I’d already tried out the Nike FSB Tactical boot the Rothco Lightweight Tactical Boot, and Belleville TR900 Jungle Runner Lightweight Panama boot; all had their pros and cons. I’m always in the outdoors and wear the heck out of my footwear. I wanted something that would last.
The best way to select a boot or shoe is to first determine what they are being used for. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- What level of softness do you prefer?
- Will you use them in hot or cold conditions?
- Will you use them for crossing rivers and streams?
- Will you use them in urban or some other kind of environment?
- How durable do your boots need to be?
- Will you be travelling over very harsh terrain?
- Do you need a lot of ankle support or less?
- Will you need a wider last for a more stable-step to go over forest rubbish and scree?
- Do you need a light weight boot but for speedy travel or a heavy boot for protection?
- Do you need a protective material against such things as thorns, glass or nails?
First things first. These are extremely light-weight boots. The entire boot is constructed completely out of synthetic materials and is void of leather. Leather is the best material to use for constructing durable footwear. If leather isn’t being used then the substitute material should be nearly as hard-wearing. For toe protection the Valsetz has a high-abrasion rubber toe rand to protects your digits from debris.
The boot uppers are mostly made of a soft, water-resistant mesh-material which also enhances breathability. It’s very plush and provides a great deal of padding around the foot and ankles. I have to tell you the boot does a good job in the comfort department.
This light-weight material is also well-suited for using in hotter climates and climates that aren’t frigid. I first put the boots to use in an training school where it was cold in the morning and then got hotter mid-day. My feet were able to breathe and not feel hot. I was comfortable during the brisk mornings.
The other thing I noticed is the bounce. The boot has a fully-contoured, compression-molded EVA midsole. This is supposed to increase comfort because of the enhanced cushioning. The boot also has a sockliner they call Ortholite and you get added cushioning and a lockdown fit.
I ran up and down the store aisles. I felt like I was in running shoes but wondered how long they’d last. I found this to be particularly pleasing on my feet when I used them for a SWAT school. The cushioning isn’t so soft for it to be bothersome when travelling, and doesn’t collapse so much when moving that you’re off balance-particularly when you’re carrying a heavy vest and pack.
This means the boot is excellent for explosive starting and stopping movements such as moving to shoot targets, going into the prone position, getting up and running straight, or turning to pivot; you will not be unstable as you go through your motions such as following behind your partner to corner an angle.
A part of the motion control comes from the boot having good lugs. Lugs are the bumps on the outsole (bottom of the boot) of a boot or shoe and it gives the footwear traction. When buying a boot you want to look for well-spaced wide lugs because these are going to improve your grip or look for numerous well-placed smaller lugs. Good lugs will mean you can get good traction. Valsetz did pretty good in this department as well.
Hiking in them was pleasing. Going over rocky terrain was done without any struggling due to the right amount of give from the cushy outsole over rocks. The boots can also be used in the gym however don’t load your barbell too heavy when performing exercises such squats and deadlifts. The same boot outsole (platform) which makes the shoe squishy and comfortable to run in might not necessarily be good for those actions. You can use them for performing weightless exercises if you need to get a calisthenic workout during a lunch period or shift.
There is a lot to like about the Valsetz. Some of the things to be aware of: The fabric that provides excellent comfort isn’t going to hold up as well as leather. Keep in mind that you have to decide what you need the boots for before you purchase them. If you are going to do security patrols at a facility then it’s going to be fine. I recommend purchasing these online and they can be had for around $90.00. If you want a bit more out of their boot than get the Valsetz RTS for about $120.00. If you are going to put the boot under extreme demands trodding through rivers and deserts or urban environments as you tactically walk you should consider the Speedfreek Bozeman model for about $149.00.
One of the biggest issues for the Valsetz is the sole. Mine separated from the boot within weeks of using them. I returned them to the store and the business begrudgingly exchanged them. I received the other pair and haven’t had a problem since.
I’ve asked other users about their experiences with the boot and I’ve heard the same thing: the boot is comfortable, light-weight, can be worn all day, but separates from the sole. I don’t think this is a major issue for the Under Armour company. I believe it is a construction problem coming from a particular plant. I believe the boot has improved a lot from the first generation.
I am definitely recommending the boot. For the money it is a very good buy but if you want more then pay the extra and beef it up to the Speedfreek Bozeman.
- Synthetic leather & textile upper with welded, abrasion-resistant film around the perimeter of the foot
- Full-length Micro G® foam turns cushioned landings into explosive takeoffs
- Lightweight TPU shank for mid-foot support & the right amount of rigidity
- Molded Ortholite® sockliner is designed with a memory foam top & PU base
- Low-profile rubber lug sole
- TPU toe cap
- Height: 7”