Oakley Assault Boots

Oakley
Assault Boots
(
US
Elite Special Forces Standard Issue)

by Arnie

Stock
Specifications
RRP 225USD


Please
note that boots are a difficult item to recommend to someone
you don’t know, as individual tastes vary as much as the shape
of feet. What I may find comfortable, may not be the case for
you the reader – but I’ll do my best to give you as much information
as possible to help aid your decision. ;o) These boots were
kindly supplied by ExtremeProcurement
in
conjunction with OakleyUK.

“…Remember
camouflage gear after the first Gulf War? Now a small army of
companies hopes to start selling consumer versions of the goggles,
boots and other products they’ve been supplying to the troops
in the Middle East…”
CNN/Money

Hardcore
“booty”:
The Oakley boots struck somewhat of a
stir when they were announced (for varying reasons ^_^) and
it’s certain that they are rather unique in terms of looks and
design. Oakley are well known for their world renown line in
optical eyewear, and relatively recently branched out into other
areas of the market. Every Oakley product is very carefully
thought out, designed with a specific target audience in mind,
and continually tested and benchmarked throughout the product’s
development cycle to produce a unique, functional and very marketable
item. These boots prove to be no exception to the Oakley lineup.
Designed for the Elite Special Forces, and now available to
us Airsofter’s:

“…It’s
the latest benefit of a fifteen-year alliance between the United
States military and a technology company called Oakley. Engineered
specifically for the U.S. Elite Special Forces, it’s part of
Oakley’s ongoing research and development with the United States
Military.

This
military hardware exceeds the combat performance profile for
durability, comfort and protection. Engineered with a lightweight
athletic design, the Elite Special Forces Standard-Issue Assault
Boot is braced by an over-the-ankle boot shaft and shielded
by abrasion resistant panels on soft top-grain leather. Comprehensive
moisture control maximizes comfort. Advanced polymer EVA and
premium urethane offer resilient shock absorption. High-NBS
vulcanized rubber maintains traction over a full range of terrain…”
Oakley

First
looks:
Well the first thing that strike you when you open
the box is the sheer modern look of the boot. You simply can’t
confuse this with your standard hard soled leather boot. I think
the best way to describe these things is “trainers on steroids”.

You
have a one piece flexible sole with a high back padded ankle
support, a light build and a very tactile feel to the shoe.
Let’s not forget that it’s an Oakley product too!

How
to choose the boot for you:
Before getting any pair of boots
consider what you are buying them for and where you intend to
use them.

  • For
    indoor use, anything comfortable that is fairly light and flexible
    will do
  • For
    average use outdoor use consider getting a boot with a fairly
    stiff sole, particularly if you are going to be ladened up.
  • For
    extreme woodland use, you really shouldn’t settle for less than
    a GoreTex or similarly lined “waterproof” boot.
  • If
    the terrain is slippery, look for a shoe with a stiff sole and
    a deep tread.

Be
sure of a good fit:
It’s very important that your boots
are right for your feet in terms of size and fit, consider boots
to be almost as (but not quite) important as good eye protection
and you’ll get along fine. ^_^ These points apply to any footwear
really:


  1. Go shopping late in the day or after walking a fair distance,
    this ensures that your feet are swollen, and will be more similar
    in size to when you are out and about skirmishing.

  2. Put the boot on without lacing it up, and kick your foot to the
    end of the shoe. There should be just enough room to get your
    finger down the back of the boot behind your heel

  3. Walk down an slope and see if your toes touch the end of boot.
    If they do they’re too small for you.

  4. Make sure you try the boots on with anything that you normally
    wear/use such as proper walking socks or insoles.

  5. Make sure you break your boots in before use, there’s nothing
    worse than getting blisters when you are meant to be enjoying
    yourself.

With
the Oakley boots I found that size 11 (US12 EU 46) fitted me
just right which is the same size that I normally buy trainers
in. So if you buy online my advice is to do as I did and get
some of the same size as your trainers. I shall refrain from
cracking any jokes about big feet and men here.. If any smutty
innuendos come to your mind here it’s really not my fault! ^_^

Lacing
them up:
There’s several schools of thought on how to lace
boots, some methods work better with different boots. I found
the cross lacing method to be the most functional here, and
then half hitching the laces wrapping them around the back of
the upper ankle to the front and tie them securely. There’s
a handy gully in the rear of the boot to guide the laces round
too.

I
leave the choice of how to lace the boots down to you though
(for reference these are 16 eyelet boots). Take care when lacing
the upper holes, as the boots lack steel eyelets (they wouldn’t
work that well in this design) so it’s easy to misalign the
end of the lace and get it snagged inside the hole on the inner
lining.

Features:
The boots sports the Oakley logo on the side, and although made
primarily of a soft leather, the toe and heal area have been
reinforced with some heavy rubber panels (stitched nicely to
the boot) to help protect the boot from wear rubs and nocks.

The
sole is one piece moulded and nicely wraps all around the toe
and heal area giving extra protection and grip on all contours.
The sole leather may well be soft, but it’s certainly hard wearing.
I’ve given mine a fair amount of punishment and there’s no sign
of cracks or tears in them yet.

The
inside material of the boot is rather like what I know as air-tex,
and is some form of breathable material. The tongue is only
stitched to the boot up to ankle height, so that sets the maximum
wading depth for the boots before water will start getting in.
All the material is nicely double stitched, the sole and toe/ankle
protectors are glued on to ensure a lasting build.

You’ll
find the sizing of your shoe stitched to the inside of the tongue,
and a somewhat comedy “keep cover securely fastened while
machinery is in use” label on the inside floor of the shoe.
The insole is removable which is useful if it wears out, needs
replacing or if you simply need to dry the boots out after some
rather enthusiastic wading.

The
sole is well interesting, if a little difficult to describe
without pictures (thank goodness for my handy digicam). The
sole looks somewhat organic, but has a nice deed tread made
of a nice strong rubber, and one that looks like it will not
pickup stones easily – I’ve tried it on gravel and not managed
to pick any up yet. The only minor niggle I have with the tread
is that is does somewhat squeak on tiled floors.

In
use:
You remember that I mentioned that boot was rather
like a trainer on steroids? Well I mean that in a really good
way. You see I have a nice pair of Hillmaster Classics, and
although they are arguably the best hiking boots on the market,
they really suck for use in CQB and FIBUA simply because they
do not bend at the ankle, well they do, but they tend to ‘crimp’
up and compress the lower front of the ankle joint which can
get very painful after a time. This means that crouching down
in them (such as under a windowsill) is not necessarily impossible,
rather very uncomfortable.

The
Oakley boots were a nice surprise, as due to the nicely cut
away material and the design of front of the boot they fold
very nicely providing support, whilst also allowing reasonable
flex. The sole bends nicely in all directions allowing for a
lighter feel than your average tac boot.

Water?
Well there’s no such thing as a truly waterproof boot but
this one gets close! Using advanced water seepage measurement
gear (read: me holding the boot down in household sink) I wanted
to see how much water the boot could walk in until it started
leaking, and I was pleasantly surprised.

Note:
it’s difficult to test for water seepage with your feet in the
boot as you can’t feel small amounts of water that easily, whereas
you can with your hand inside the boot. ^_^ (yup there is reason
to my madness)

Looking
at the material and the stitching I thought that it would seep
water like a sieve, but I was completely wrong. Sinking the
boot up to the 4th set of lace holes not a drop of water was
to be seen inside the boot despite prolonged submergence. You
can actually take the boot right in up the the point where the
tongue splits and then water finally gets in.

Conclusion
The looks of the boot will be either be something you
love or hate really, and may not be what some people are
after if they want a more classic style boot.

As
with any item under review there are good and bad points
to bear in mind. The advantages are:


  • modern design – they certainly look new

  • lightweight – you’d never know they were on your feet

  • comfortable – they don’t pinch and hold your feet
    nicely even when crouching
  • require
    almost no wearing in – yes that’s right you can ‘almost’
    take these boots new out the box and go skirmishing
    in them, just be sure to lace them beforehand.
  • highly
    water resistant (but not water proof)

Bad
points, sorry but they have to be included to be 100%
honest

  • no
    metal eyelets – the upper material is a bit of a pain to lace
    the first time around
  • not
    100% waterproof – the boot will seriously let water in above the
    4th eye hole pair, it’s a pity the tongue isn’t one piece all
    the way up, but then again if it was the boot wouldn’t flex as
    well as it does.
  • squeaky
    – don’t try to cross tiled floors, no really – it’s like having
    live hamsters strapped to the bottom of your feet ^_^

These are certainly
some of the best boots in terms of being comfortable and easy to wear.
The pre-worn in feel was certainly amazing when they were first taken
out of the box. I’ve driven to skirmishes in my hobnail hillmasters,
and it’s like driving with concrete blocks on your feet. The Oakley
boots afford a lot of tactile feel, and are amazingly flexible without
being too soft so as to allow your feet to get hurt.

Just the right
balance of lightweight features and protection I’d say…Possibly
the comfiest boots I’ve ever worn. Another winner from Oakley!

Build
Quality

9/10
Well they have survived all I’ve thrown at them.

Value
for Money

9/10
Price is something that is difficult to quantify for shoes.
I think they are worth the money, but they are not that
cheap

Overall
Potential

9/10
Suitible for all but the wettest of terrains

Site
links:
TBA

More
“booty” shots:
I took rather a lot of shots
for this review – here’s the ones that didn’t quite fit
in, but should still be of interest.







Comment
on this review in the forums


Last
modified:
Saturday, May 31, 2003 4:39 PM
Copyright 2003 ArniesAirsoft




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