Posted On Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Posted April 25, 2011
Every time I get near a PX or clothing sales, I stop in and check out the latest in combat boots. I’ve done it for years, but since changing to the ACUs, I’ve only made one purchase and that was to replace my old standbys – my Jungle boots. I like the new boots I bought, but the soles are too tall and subject my ankles to roll-over. So, like the boot tease that I am, I keep looking.
Recently, I stumbled on the new Bates Delta boots, specifically the Delta-9 Desert Tan Boot. They caught my eye because of the way they look (very cool), and because they had this blue doohickey lying on the table beside them. I asked the Bates rep about the boot and he introduced me to the “Individual Comfort System”, or iCS, which is described as the latest in midsole comfort technology.
Here’s the concept: Bates has created a removable silicon disk that can be rotated among four zones to control firmness, cushion, and both inward and outward stability – definitely a novel approach to boot making. The rep pointed out that whether you walk on the outside of your foot or inside, you can rotate the disk to compensate and provide for better posture. You can also select a softer feel when walking on hard surfaces or a firmer feel when walking on sand or soft surfaces, which is great when going from garrison to the field. It all sounded good, and the boots looked really cool (we said that already, right?), so we had the folks at Bates send us a pair to try out.
I tried on the boots as soon as they arrived and I found them very comfortable right out of the box, always a good sign. Anyone who’s bought a boot that fit poorly in the store, I would bet, has probably come to regret it. I know I have.
The boot has a Vibram sole, padded ankle and upper (I’ll let you visit the Bates website for a list of specs). It also has a narrower toe box, which I really like. Some boots look like clown shoes with a big toe box, if you know what I mean? Many boots nowadays have too many “features” to make them look more space-age or something. To me they look silly. As for the iCS silicon insert, I’m not sure how long it’ll hold up, but there doesn’t appear to be any reason to suspect it would break down anytime soon. It lies below the comfort insert and seats snugly in a specially designed cradle. Only time will tell, I guess.
For the money, which is lot ($144), the Bates Delta-9 looks to be a winner. It passes the test for styling, ruggedness, and comfort. You’ll find the iCS system in 10 different boots, from low cut to high cut, men’s and women’s, black and tan leather. Check them out at http://www.batesfootwear.com/US/en-US/Home.mvc.aspx
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