Three officers test patrol boots from five manufacturers and share their opinions.
POLICE magazine asked three police officers from the Redondo Beach (Calif.) Police Department to wear five pairs of patrol boots for one shift each and tell us what they thought. Officers Dave Atwater, Denise Brenner, and Corey King have their favorites, but all had their own reasons for the ratings they gave their test boots.
Atwater prefers a high shine on his boots at all times, something that's not important to everyone. He also wants his work footwear to be comfortable and sturdy. But he says he goes through phases as far as the style he prefers to wear. Some years he wants to wear a bigger, heavier boot, while others he wants to wear lighter-weight boots.
Brenner is concerned with the comfort of her boots, especially their cushioning. She also likes a boot that looks good-and doesn't make her feet look big. Shine is only somewhat important to her.
King's biggest concern is comfort. He wants his patrol boots to fit comfortably right out of the box. If they don't break in within a week, he doesn't want them. He's not concerned with shine because he knows how quickly his boots get scuffed up every day at work.
Brenner admires the look of the Striker 45 GTX Danner boots she tested. "They go really well with the uniform," she says. "They almost look like a tennis shoe mixed with a boot appearance, which I like."
She also appreciates the way the two metal hooks at the top of the eyelets on the boots make undoing the laces faster and easier, which means she can get her feet out of them more quickly.
However, the Striker 45s don't fit Brenner as well as she'd like, although she feels the padding is adequate. "Because they're not a very high boot on me, the ankle portion of the boot rubbed on my ankle bone the whole shift," she says. She admits a higher boot probably wouldn't cause the same problem.
Another problem caused by the height of the boot was more of an annoyance than an issue of comfort. A bootstrap, a leather loop at the top of the heel, had a habit of catching Brenner's pant leg every time she rose from a sitting position.
"That pull-up strap on the back heel constantly got caught on my pant leg when getting in and out of the car," she explains. "I was constantly trying to pull my pant leg over the back of my boot."
King had the same experience with the Striker 8-inch GTX Danners he tested. Atwater didn't have an issue with the Striker boot because it was high enough to clear his pant leg. But he offers a solution to the boot strap issue, if it poses a problem and you prefer to wear shorter boots.
"I had a pair of Danner boots several years ago and the same thing kept happening to me," he says. "So within the first hour of wearing them I just cut the strap off. And it was never a problem after that."
Atwater is a fan of Danners, and was happy with the boots he tested. He found them to be, "professionally stylish and rugged."
In fact, all three officers noted the Danner boots' overall durability and sound construction.
What most impresses Atwater about the Danners he tested is the comfortable fit. "The boots felt right when I first put them on," he says. "They are a very good fit and have a supportive feel."
During the day, he noticed the boots' light weight and good traction, which made them comfortable and effective on the job.
King liked the boots overall. They were true to size, the laces were easily adjustable for a tight fit, and there was plenty of toe room. But he noticed that the size of the toe box could pose a slight problem.
"The toe is really wide. Comfort-wise, it isn't a problem. But as far as scaling a fence, it's hard to fit the toe in between slats in a fence to get a good toe-hold. Other than that, all around I liked the boot."
Atwater, for whom shine is of great importance, says of all the boots he tested he got the best shine on the Magnum Elite 900, an 8-inch-high boot.
"This is a well-made boot that is supportive, comfortable, and resistant to dirt. The drawback that I see is the large toe box and sole creating the feeling of wearing a large boot. It seems large and tall."
But he liked it overall and was impressed with its durability.
King has mixed feelings about the Magnum Elite.
"It was easy to get on and off because it had the side zipper. And it looked fine with the uniform. But I didn't like wearing it because it was too stiff in the ankles and it made it uncomfortable."
King feels that the fit just isn't right for him, but that others might like the boot for its heavily padded ankles.
"If someone has bad ankles and needs extra ankle support, this might be the boot for them," he suggests.
Brenner liked that the Magnum Stealth Side Zips she tested were so easy to get on and off.
"The Magnums I really liked because they had the zipper on the side," she explains. "I kept forgetting and would start to untie them but then I'd remember they had a zipper. It was a lot easier after I got used to that idea."
She didn't rate them highly for looks because at the end of her shift the left boot had wrinkled in the front, which she felt didn't look neat. She also didn't like their simple design, although others might prefer it. "They're simple. They just don't stand out in the crowd at all," she says.