Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Review: Bates Delta 8 boots

I've worn boots almost every day since I was at uni and out of school-uniforms, in 1994. If I'm not in boots, I'm barefoot, unless I have a real need to wear shoes (like driving, at which time I'll throw on some sandals. However, day in, day out, boots. I've had my share of GP's and steel-caps, giant goth boots and sheepskins. However, I tend to wear them to death. To my shame I infrequently polish them, but I do try to at least maintain them, doing waterproofing and the like. Here is my current set, and I think, my favorite yet. These are the Bates Delta 8 Gore-Tex Sidezip Boots and I'd like to tell you a thing or two about them.
Firstly, for a 6" boot, I find they are light at 1.6kg (3.7lbs) and well balanced. They are leather, "ballistic nylon" and Gore-Tex construction in the "uppers" which is both breathable and tough, and the soles are made from Vibram® Mutant rubber. Zipper closures on the instep make for speedy fitting, but I must admit, unless I'm going to a meeting,or know I'm about to so some serious trecking, I leave them unzipped to breathe and give me some more freedom whilst I'm sitting or strolling. The soles are hard wearing and grippy, whilst not being an aggressive cleat you can see that they have collected some crud from feedings the chookens this morning. The uppers are cemented onto the soles, rather than stitched, but have given me no sign of decaying as yet.I replaced the shoestrings with paracord, because you never know when you might need some. The leather upper continues up asa fold behind the zipper to keep the entirety of the height of the boot waterproof.

The interesting part of these boots however is the removable insole. I have dodgy Achilles tendons, and require a bit of bracing, which these offer in a unique way. The whole sturdy fitted insole comes with two gel-padded regions, one on the ball, and another at the heel. The ball-pad is nothing special, other than being bonded directly into the insole, so it sits in the right place, all the time, without slipping and sliding like some after-market pads I've had in the past. The heel end is where things get interesting. This is the iCS® technology adjustable heel .

What it does is allows the wearer to customise the firmness of the heel padding, by rotating the blue gel disk, the crenelations of which vary around its circumference according to the labels, letting you adjust the fit, both for firmness, and also for lateral movement. I love this. I've been able to adjust my boots to suit where my physio has been at, and maintain a level of protection for my ankles that other boots have failed at in the past. These are pitched as Police boots, and I would think that they are well suited.

I think I've finally found my brand for boots, so much so that I bought a second set of Bates boots. Hardy, great fitting, good protection for my feets and not clunky. Look out summer storms and abandoned fortification locked-doors everywhere. I have me some good kickers on!


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