OTB calls these the lightest jungle boots ever. They feel like it. I think these are even lighter than the old Israeli boots. The materials are top notch. While the lack of weight is impressive, the breathability is even more so. I can blow through the nylon sides and feel it with my hand inside the boots. There are six mesh drain holes in each side of the boot. This combines with the perforated insoles should allow water to drain quickly. The "Sausage Laces" seem to help keep the laces from untying. Donning is quick, even though there are no metal "speed eyelets" on these boots. My first impression when I put them on was "wow". They do feel light on my feet. Almost like running shoes. However, there is quite a bit more support. The first time I wore them was in the hotel at Sniperweek the night before the conference/competition. I wanted to make sure they fit correctly before I tore them up on the firing line. As I walked around the hallway I could feel the air conditioning blowing on my feet through the tongue and the sides of the boot. I have worn many boots before, but never experienced that particular feeling.
The tops of the boots are cut low in the back and surrounded by a soft microfiber. They are reinforced by webbing and include pull loops at the back. They are very comfortable, but care must be taken to not cinch them up too tight.
The Desert Lites and Jungle Lites both ooze with attention to detail.
Due to the "Lite" claim I got the strange idea to take these boots for a run to see how they compare. Now I have not done a "boots and utes" run since I left the Marine Corps. There just isn't any credible reason to punish my knees like that. However since I was considering a black version of these boots to replace my work boots, I wanted to know how they would perform in a foot pursuit.
I laced the Desert Lites up and headed out for a two mile run at a medium pace. After the first half mile I could definitely tell the boots were NOT as light as my New Balance running shoes. The upshot is that I did not have any hot spots or any pain. I just had a little more of a burn in my quads than I normally do. At the end of my two miles I was not feeling any pain. I will not be getting rid of my running shoes anytime soon, but the Desert Lites are cushioned well enough that the occasional run will go just fine. As I reflected back on boots I have worn through my military career I cursed OTB for not coming out with these a decade ago.
Once I had some time on the Desert Lites, I decided to pull the trigger on a set of "Jungle Lites" for work. As a street patrol officer I spend a lot of time on my feet. Most of that is standing and walking. Some of it is running. When the big brown fairy (UPS) showed up with my new boots I was twenty minutes away from dressing out for my shift. I eagerly threw on the boots and was again amazed at the lack of break in required. Just lace them on and go.
The Jungle Lites are exactly the same as the Desert Lites with the exception of color and a smooth finish.
I work in a medium sized city in Southern Indiana. It gets rather hot and extremely humid here. Some nights the air feels just a little lighter than I experienced in south pacific jungle. The first night on the street in the Jungle Lites was no different. At the end of the night my uniform was soaked with sweat, however my feet were still comfortable.
The next day I was scheduled for SWAT Training on our range. This usually entails four or more hours of standing, walking and running on the square range in full gear (PASGT helmet, Protech entry vest with ceramic plates, magazines and weapon). As with any team range training there is a certain amount of standing around and waiting your turn. This puts a lot of stress on your feet. Again, the best compliment I can give these boots is that I didn't think about them or my feet the whole evening. I was completely soaked after removing my armor.
When I got home and pulled off my boots, my socks were DRY! My feet don't sweat a lot to begin with, but it still amazed me that they were dry at the end of the training. Much of this had to do with the excellent Thorlo socks I wore, but the boots allows the moisture to evaporate after the socks carried it away from my feet.
Our second SWAT training day was inside a local building clearing rooms and hallways. The training was conducted in full entry gear. On the slick institutional tile floors the boots had great traction. I did not hear a "squeak" out of them. They were utterly silent through the whole evolution. At the end of our second day my legs and feet were tired, but not hurting. They were in much better condition that they would be at the end of a training day in my old broken down boots.
I have now been wearing the boots for a week and a half on the street and two training days. There is no detectable wear. The Jungle Lites are a smooth finish like full grain leather boots but they still breathe extremely well. Time will tell how their looks hold up. I am usually a "form over function" type of guy but in uniform wear you have to look sharp.
I am waiting for a nasty day to see how these hold up in the water. From the appearance of the constriction I have no doubt they will perform much better than my old issued Jungle Boots or the High Tech Magnums I wore as a Jungle Warfare Instructor. I have not had a chance to take these to the desert yet, but I have no doubt they will work well.
If you are looking for some waterproof or winter boots, these are NOT a good choice. If you work in a hot arid or hot tropical environment these are some of the best boots I have worn.
As always I will continue to update this review as I get some wear on the boots.