LA Police Gear 8" Operator Boots

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First of all let us not confuse the LA Police Gear 8″ Operator Boots with the LA Gear shoes of the late 80’s and early 90’s.  LA Police Gear, Inc. was founded by LA Police officers and serves the general public, military, police, and security personal.  From my personal observation and prior purchases I must say their customer service is excellent and their prices are hard to beat. 

When I came across these boots, I was doubtful.  $39.99 for a quality boot?  Not going to believe it till I try it.  Of course, I didn’t want to shell out the money and find out the boots weren’t worth it so I procrastinated.  Time went on and my old boots were well beyond used, much like some celebrities, and I had to make a choice.  After much coaxing by my brother-in-law I decided to give them a shot (he had already ordered his). 

As a note of LA Police Gear’s excellent customer service, I must throw this bit in.  I ordered my boots late one night.  After adding my items to my cart and carefully checking them, I submitted my order. Much to my dismay I then realized that I ordered my boots a size too small!  I quickly sent them an email and then tried to call them.  It was after business hours so I had to leave a message.  The next morning I still had not received an email, so I was concerned that they were going to ship me the wrong size.  I called them as soon as they opened their phone lines.  The representative I spoke with said that they had already received the email and corrected my order.  Shortly thereafter I received an email with an updated receipt showing the correction on the order!  My boots even shipped that day.  I love great customer service!

box

Back to the boots.  The arrived in a well marketed box featuring the LA Police Gear logo on a glossy black background.  I’m so used to the airsoft stuff I get that comes in clear plastic baggies and plain brown boxes, that this was a nice change. Now let us take a closer look at these boots and see if they hold up to LA Police Gear’s claim of lightweight, low drag, extremely comfortable boots for the tactical operator

Construction

The boots consist of a leather upper with nylon / plastic eyelets, and soft fabric lining the inside.  Each eyelet appears to be well stitched.  Three of the eyelets are looped fabric, and in testing appeared to hold up well.

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The insoles are cloth on top, and the underside is manufactured from two different materials (one a pliable rubber, the other a firmer rubber or perhaps plastic).  The pliable rubber material is found forward of the arch, and at the center of the heel for shock absorption.  The harder material is located around the heel and up to the front of the arch of the insole to hold it’s shape.  The top of the insole bears the LA Police Gear logo.

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The tongue is not gusseted which is somewhat disappointing.  The tongue is filled amply with a soft material which should enhance comfort.  At the top of the tongue is a boldly stitched LA Police Gear logo as well.

Notably this boot does not have a steel toe or a reinforced toe.

sole

The outer sole is made of rubber and had a distinct pattern to it that should perform well in urban or wilderness terrain. 

Performance

I bought new boots out of necessity  as I had a weekend up in the woods and boots that were beyond worn  out.  A few days a head of time these arrive via UPS, and I was eager to try them on.  It had been a while since I had worn an 8″ boot, most of what I had worn in the past had been 6″.  I loosened up the laces and slid my feet in them.  Pulling the laces tight and tying them off, I realized that the boots seemed a bit big around the heel.  The length was good, but the area around the heel and ankle was a bit roomier than I’d like.  I was concerned that I’d end up getting blisters with my foot moving all about.  I remembered that I also had a pair of orthotics that I wore with my sneakers and took them out and put them in the boots.  They provided just enough lift to remove the extra movement of my heel and helped with the fit.  If I had it to do again, I’d order a half size smaller.

Walking around the boots felt stiff at first.  They didn’t want to flex easily, causing my ankle and heel to try to move inside the boot.  Weight wise, they were pretty light for an 8″ boot.  LA Police Gear claims them to be under 19 oz., but unfortunately I don’t have a scale with great enough resolution to test that out.  After wearing them around the house for a few hours I could tell that the boot was beginning to soften and the materials were stretching a bit, as I felt like the laces needed tightening.  I went back and re-tightened the laces and decided to go ahead and wear them for a bit to break them in. 

Now in my personal experience, a good boot shouldn’t take more than an hour or so to break in.  These seemed to take a bit longer, but I figured it would given the price.  You get what you pay for?  We’ll see.  Saturday came about and we had a skirmish in the foothills of the North Georgia mountains.  This is why I bought these boots, and they were going to take a beating and get tested.

Still a bit stiff, I felt like an astronaut walking on the moon as my feet didn’t predictably hit the ground like I expected.  I walked the area doing a bit of pre-skirmish scouting and trying to get a lay of the field we were using.  There was a bit of concern about the boots still lingering in my head.  Was going to come home with blisters and “hot spots” on my feet?  Were they going to be all raw and wet from a lack of ventilation?  Doubt lingered.

Game time.  Doubt had to go back in the box, and I had to get my head in the game.  The first game of the skirmish didn’t have me doing much more than some scouting from a few fixed positions being that I had the only quality optics on my squad.  Game two started and that’s when the test began.  Game two had me and my squad moving all over the field.  Running up and down hills, moving quickly from cover to cover.  I realized later that all thought of the boots had disappeared and they had become an extension of  my feet.  They fit comfortably, and had softened up and flexed as they should with each step.  The support they offered my ankles was much appreciated as I was running about kneeling, throwing my self at the ground for cover, and jumping up and running forward.  The laces never felt like they needed to be readjusted, nor did my feet feel like they were burning hot or beginning to blister. 

I quickly learned 2 things about these boots as I was running about.  I was attempting to flank the opposition by taking them from a low lying area with only one man standing guard.  Between me and where I was headed was a narrow ravine in which the nearby lake had receded from.  I took a step forward and “schlop” is what I heard as my foot disappeared down to my ankles.  It took a good bit of work to get my foot out of the marsh it had sunk into, but the boot stayed on my foot securely!  Learned lesson #1: these boots don’t slip of easily.  Learned lesson #2: these boots are NOT waterproof!  My foot was thoroughly soaked.  At least so it felt.  I went a head to make a run on the opposition. 

About 40 minutes later the skirmish ended.  Getting home and taking off the boots I realized that my feet were not as wet as I had thought, but still, the boots were not waterproof.  Now keep in mind, LA Police Gear does NOT market them as being waterproof, I just wanted to point out that I tested that aspect out.  My feet did not have any blisters or “hot spots”, and the boots did a decent job mitigating impact from running about with my gear on.  While I would like to see improvement on the insole itself (making it a bit better at impact absorption), it did the job decently. Physically the boot held up remarkably well, showing no signs of failure or deterioration.  Since that skirmish I have worn the boots one more time, and they seem to get more comfortable the more you wear them.

Conclusion

When it comes down to it, a good quality boot will provide you with a stable platform for running, jumping, climbing, and getting dirty.  They should be comfortable and breath well.  They should provide protection from the elements and the shock of your body pounding on your heels.

In the end, these boots performed well.  I’ve owned a few boots in my life and say for the price they work well. They breath decently and are flexible enough — once broken in.  The laces are strong and the stitching seems to be of good quality.  The tread pattern on the sole of the shoe is a bit unorthodox but seemed to perform well.  Other than a lack of waterproofing (even gusseting the tongue would help), I really don’t have a complaint about these boots and would recommend them to anyone on a budget who is looking for a good quality boot for mucking about in and getting dirty.

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