As a fulltime Instructor, I spend a lot of time on my feet, so footwear is one of the most important pieces of kit I use. Until recently, I spent most of the last 4 years on an indoor/outdoor range teaching firearms. That meant that I could get away with some quality thick-soled, trail running shoes. The only element that I had to deal with was a little cold in the winter. Nothing a good pair of wool socks couldn’t fix. This last year I have begun teaching a more involved course, preparing people for overseas travel and work. During this course I find myself in the classroom, on an outdoor range, in the woods, driving a car or anything in between. The weather can vary just as much during the day, and I never know what elements my feet are going to need protection from.
The Union Waterproof 6” Boot from 5.11 showed up in January. Just in time for this year’s snow and cold rain. Upon first glance, they look like well built hiking boots. I went with the Flint, a royal blue color version in 10.5 wide. There is plenty of room in the toe box, good fit in the midsole and the upper part can be tightened to wearers comfort. I try to get a tight fit on softer shoes/boots as they seem to stretch with use. I had to stick to my actual size (10.5) because the 10s were too tight at the ankle, causing discomfort to my malleoli (the bottom ends of my tibia and fibula). They were comfortable from the moment I tried them on. I have been wearing them for over a month now, including some higher mileage days. Because of the colder days I have been wearing them with wool socks.
Its hard to truly speak to long term durability with just over one month of wearing them, but what I can speak to is the components used to create this boot. The nylon and suede upper is water-repellent, so much so, the water was beading up and running off as I stepped out of the creeks and puddles. The Vibram® outsole with XS Trek provided me with excellent traction on any surface. The sole appears to be all one piece, to include a rubber 3d molded toe to add even more protection. These boots have been used to shovel driveways in the snow, walk muddy trails, sidehill leaf covered ridges and ford creeks. My feet stayed in place inside the boot, maintained traction with the surface and kept warm all day. Even if your feet sweat or you get water over the tops of the boots, the liner is treated with Agion® anti-micorbial which uses silver ions to attack bacteria and basically kill it, preventing both odors and the breakdown of the material.
These boots have all the quality components for a hard-use work boot; Vibram® outsole, eVent® waterproofing and bloodborne pathogen blocker, Agion® anti-micorbial treatment and OrthoLite® insole. All wrapped up in a boot that would look good in uniform or out of uniform. They come in Black and Dark Coyote to meet uniform conformity, Flynt and Burnt (a traditional hiker brown) for your everyday wear. With what these boots offer, from the quality materials used and how well they function, they are a great value at $164.99 retail (recently saw them on sale from 5.11 Tactical for $131.99). I have usually paid closer to $200 or more for waterproof boots of this quality. I anticipate putting many miles on these boots all year long.
By the numbers:
Comfort – 4/5 They were comfortable the moment I laced them up and stayed that way with the OrthoLite® insoles. Had to go with a wide size to give enough room in the ankle. As with any shoe, go try them on.
Durability – 4/5 They are constructed of top of the line materials and appear to be of sound construction. Still a soft sided boot and only time will tell how well they last.
Functionality – 5/5 Performed as advertised, keeping my feet warm and dry in winter climate and conditions.
Weight – 5/5 Comparable to other soft sided, waterproof boots. Light enough to prevent fatigue while walking around in them all day.
Value – 5/5 As stated before, these boots are priced on the lower end of the scale for waterproof boots made with these materials.
Overall rating: 4.6/5 For the price and performance of waterproof boots using the same materials as top outdoor brands, these will make my list of highly recommended.
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.
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