Sunday, 31 July 2011

De Mystery Boot - Tarmac test

Now in a bit of a change to the previous plan I am testing the mystery boot on tarmac instead of the Magnum Stealth Leather WPI cross country test.  Partly because the weather conditions are similar to those as they were for the Magnum boots and partly because I got impatient looking at the new boots and wanted to give em a go.

First impressions the boots are very light weight, but a lot more rigid than the Magnums.  These boots are 8 inch leather and Cordura and come with a YKK Side Zip and SRC slip resistant soles. Impressive spec so far.  Putting them on they immediately felt a lot more like "combat" boots than the Magnums offering more ankle support and toughened toe protection. Personally I liked the feel, but it felt like these boots would need some breaking in before they were comfortable.  Lacing them up initially the cuff dug into the back of my calf and I had to loosen them off before I even got out the front door.  The left one I loosened a bit too far I think as the heel started to rub a little by the end of the 3 miles.

On the run the sole of these boots felt fantastic, very grippy on tarmac, grass and a short stretch of gravel and felt very "fast" to run in.  On the downside there didn't seem to be a cushioned mid sole and I felt some quad fatigue in the evening that I normally get in my old Berghaus boots but not in my trainers or in the Magnum boots.

As I expected these boots were less flexible and supple than the magnums and the cuff did dig in a little into the calf, but I expect with a bit of breaking in they will be great, especially for the ankle support they offer.  The top of the toe flexed without discomfort and they clearly offer a lot more protection in that area than the Stealth boots.  The mystery boots are NOT a safety toe by the way, just toughened for a bit of extra protection.

As mentioned the weather conditions were similar to the previous test and these boots felt cooler (same socks remember) I guess due to the Cordura panels.  These boots are not sold as water proof but the "oily" leather and Cordura used are specifically water resistant and the Zip is there is some logic to putting a waterproof zip on a boot that is only water resistant, as the zip is going to be the obvious weak point and a cheap zip would really let the whole package down.

Next week I will give both boots a cross country test including a good paddle to see how they hold up.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Running Shoes Mini Post

Just a mini post to give a 10 out of 10 to Hi Tec for their V-Lite Infinity Pro HPI running shoes.  Now I spent more than I would normally on a pair of running shoes but these are fantasic, light, comfortable and the draw string lacing system is a breeze....making that 06:30 run just a little bit easier to face!

Friday, 29 July 2011

Magnum Stealth Force - The tarmac test!

I will be wearing the same socks for all my run tests (I have more than one pair of the same style before you question my personal hygiene!) .  The socks used are Magnum MX3 midweight "Magdry" socks.  Magdry seems to be Magnums own brand of Coolmax and I have been very impressed with them in all conditions.  They are slightly thinner than tradional "hiking" socks or military patrol socks offering the perfect blend of comfort and cool!

Anyway, onto the boot test.  First impressions the magnums are very light, the leather is very soft and flexible and the soles/footbed feel more like trainers than boots.  Great for comfort on tarmac but I wonder if I will want more support when on the cross country test.

On the run the boots performed fantastically straight out of the box, way more comfortable than my old Berghaus boots and the sole was a joy to run on.  There was no rubbing in any area and the tops of the boots creased without causing any discomfort on the tops of my toes.

Downside, they were very hot and though the socks did a good job with any sweat my feet did feel like they were cooking a little bit.  Now to be fair it was a warm(ish) summers day, about 22 deg and sunny.....and the boots are waterproof, but I was hoping for more heat management with Ion Mask over Goretex.  Perhapse as an all leather boot I should have expected that over a Leather and Nylon version.

As a winter urban patrol boot the Magnum Stealth Force all Leather WPI is very impressive.  I will test the water proofing in a more "rural" setting in the next couple of days and see how the leather and ankle support hold up off road.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Magnum Stealth Force WPI - What is Ion Mask?

Based on the ever popular leather and nylon Stealth 8 Inch boot the all leather Water Proof Ion-mask (WPI) version replaces its predecessors nylon panels with leather (no great suprises there) and ads Ion-mask liquid repellent technology.

Ion-mask is a pretty new technology to the market; it is totally different to previous water resistant membrane technologies like Gore-Tex or Sympatex which act like a lining "sock" barrier between the outside and inside of a boot, in that it coats the entire surface are of the boot both inside and out.  Water will literally run off any surface of the boot like water off a ducks back, inside or out!  This is pretty revolutionary stuff.  Membrane technologies, whilst great at providing breath-ability and water proofing up to the height of the boot were hindered by the problem of being incredibly slow to dry once water reached over the top of the boot.  Membranes were therefore a mixed blessing, whilst suitable for most police or security officers patrolling in the rain or through puddles, military personnel or dog handlers etc. would find their boots waterlogged for the rest of the week once they forded a river over 8" deep!  With Ion-mask no part of the boots will absorb water....problem solved!

You can read all about magnums use of Ion-mask in their boots here:

Ion-mask claims not only to repel water, but also, oil, dirt, chemicals, blood and
blood bourne pathogens! And yet remaining light weight and breathable. Grand Claims indeed.

Now there is some wonder as to how well Ion-mask holds up as a waterproofing technology, will your socks get wet standing in shallow water or in heavy rainfall?  I will risk my socks and my comfort to find out in my up coming cross country run test finished off with a quick paddle in the local lake!!! So Stay tuned.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Reviews, Wear Trials, Product Tests and my own personal musings....

Over the years I have amassed a vast array of boots, bags, knives, belts, pouches, torches and pretty much all things tactical.  Some of it I use everyday, some of it gathers dust in a box under the bed all of it will be given a thorough right up over the next few months, maybe even years as I put it through it's paces or it's daily chores and I will share what rocks and what sucks for me and maybe it will help some of you make an informed decision on your next purchase.

First up for review next week is a pair of Magnum Stealth Force All Leather Water Proof Ion Mask boots and their performance on 21min 3mile runs on tarmac, across country and on the treadmill.  (Some among you might notice the distance and time is the same as required for Royal Marine Recruit Selection :) )

I will be giving my initial impressions against an old pair of Berghaus hiking boots I had been using until now, then next week they will be going up a new "mystery" pair of boots for a compare and contrast.