Sean Curtis is a law enforcement professional with over two decades of experience, serving with SWAT, diving and swift water rescue teams in Colorado. He has also served in wildland fire, search and rescue, EMS and emergency management. This article about the Valsetz boots originally appeared on PoliceOne.
I have marveled over the years at how hard the profession of law enforcement can be on footwear. I’ve tried a number of brands over the years and while some did better than others, most of them eventually broke down and succumbed to a full medial retirement after some sort of blow out. The rigors of hours on foot, occasional running, scuffing, standing in mud, snow and water, all take their toll. The most I asked from my boots was to not hurt my feet, and take the occasional polish well.
These days, footwear is capable of so much more. I didn’t learn this until I tried the Under Armour Valsetz 1.5 RTS boots.
UNBOXING THE UNDER ARMOUR VALSETZ BOOTS
When I received the box from GovX it almost felt empty. Shaking the vessel confirmed contents but when I pulled the Valsetz boots out, I marveled at their lightness. Their inky blackness also seemed to absorb all the light around them, but for the reinforced areas on the canvas which look like a textured bed-liner—tough. Subtle badging was nice and there wasn’t a great deal of leather everywhere.
Things started to make more sense from a design standpoint.
FEATURES TO CONSIDER
The boots have some great details that are designed to withstand harsh treatment while supporting their wearer. With its ClutchFit features, cops can count on good ankle support that is structurally sound. This support is critical because during a foot chase, rolling an ankle can cause you to go down and create your own law enforcement yard sale.
On the outside, the Storm technology gives you that all important breathability while still repelling water. The rubber lug sole is low profile but super grippy and there is also a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPO) toe cap. Deep within, the TPU shank gives you good rigidity, and even helps with rebound (more on this in testing). Overall, the foam and molded sock liner translates to some top-notch comfort as soon as you put the boot on, and all the way through your shift.
PUTTING THE BOOTS TO THE TEST
I attended NRA’s Annual Meeting this year in Indianapolis. While the estimates vary, a ball park of the number of attendees was around 80,000 strong. Having seen it, I can believe it.
The expanse of the floors in the expo are massive, and with that many people to navigate through, it sets up a daunting task for new shoes. I have hesitated in the past to don new boots for a pretty big hike. Some footwear I’ve used did more to break my feet in on first trips than my feet could break in the boots.
All this aside I pulled on the Valsetz boots and laced them up, marveling at just how comfortable and lightweight they are on the feet. I headed off to the expo and started hitting all the booths on my list.
I walked a total of six miles on the first day and while this is no marathon, it was a strong indicator of future performance.
Dodging people, children, and the occasional muzzle, I moved fluidly from booth to booth. There were stairs, the occasional drop, and navigating of city streets and sidewalks. I kept waiting for a hot spot to form somewhere, either a heel or perhaps along the pads just behind the toes—it never happened. Not only did I not have hot spots, but I also did not have any redness on my feet. The Valsetz boots just comfortably hugged my feet without rubbing while I purposefully strode around.
I was continually encouraged by their lack of heaviness, which saved my strength. Moreover, I began to notice a strange sensation in the shank, a slight rebound. With each bend of the sole, I felt the bottom of the boots straightening again, returning energy. The grip was great on every surface I encountered, even in the rain.
THE VERDICT? THESE BOOTS ARE LAW ENFORCEMENT READY
Modern police have more varied duties than ever before, but one thing still remains consistent: there is a lot of standing and walking.
Whether you are a school resource officer strolling the halls of the school, or a SWAT officer stacking outside a door, chances are the hours are long and the amount of time on your feet is cumulative. If you end up in a struggle with a suspect on the ground, then you need footwear with traction. Running officers need to feel confident about turning abruptly or covering uneven terrain without rolling an ankle and falling.
Above all, officers need comfortable footwear that can still go high performance in a moment’s notice. The Under Armour Valsetz boots are a combination of the tough service boot you need, with the high performance you crave, all while providing hours of comfortable service.