In 2017, Haix worked with POLICE Magazine to find agencies to wear test its tactical footwear. Through an online contest, Haix selected three tactical law enforcement teams to participate: Lancaster County (PA) SERT, San Francisco (CA) Police Department SWAT, and Seattle (WA) Police Department SWAT.
In order to qualify for the wear test, the teams had to be from agencies with 100 or more sworn officers and the teams had to provide five to 10 officers for the testing. Each participating officer received their choice of one pair of Haix tactical boots, including the GSG9-S, Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 GTX High in leather, and Black Eagle Athletic 2.0 T High Side Zip in fabric.
The GSG9-S is a non-slip tactical boot developed for its stealth qualities and fast roping features. It is waterproof and chemical resistant. The Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 GTX High is lightweight, slip resistant, breathable, and waterproof. The Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 T High Side Zip offers the fit of a lace-up boot with the convenience of a side zipper. Its lightweight microfiber design is highly breathable yet durable.
Participants wore their choice of boots for one to two months and put them through their paces during long shifts on duty. At the end of the testing period, officers filled out questionnaires providing feedback on their experience with the boots. The following is a summary of the officers' reviews.
Categories on the wear test questionnaire included wear comfort, fit and comfort for different activities, and performance in different situations. Averaged together, all boots received a rating of just over 4 out of 5 at 4.03. When asked to rate how the boots held up over time, the average rating for all three boots was an impressive 4.72 out of 5.
Based on their responses, wear testers particularly appreciated the boots' grip, traction, and stability while running, climbing, and walking in different environments, especially in rain, with an average rating for performance in inclement weather of 4.5 out of 5 for all three boots.
An evidence control officer and part-time SWAT sniper from the Lancaster County SERT team said of his Black Eagle Athletic 2.0 T High Side Zips, "The traction with these boots was better than most other boots I've worn in my 30-year career."
Another member of the Lancaster SERT team was equally impressed with the GSG9-S boots he wore, echoing other officers' positive comments. He wrote, "I think these boots were bombproof. There was a significant amount of ankle support and stability and I had confidence that the tread would not slip on any surface." A Seattle SWAT officer was impressed that the soles of these boots were quiet on normally "squeaky flooring" when wet and said he would gladly buy another pair.
Other standout features officers called attention to included the Haix boots' wide toe box; comfortable, supportive insoles; and "excellent construction and durability."
On the downside, some officers reported discomfort while driving because of initial stiffness and having difficulty adjusting the two-zone laces to the proper tightness for their liking. The Black Eagle High Side Zip model received the highest marks for flexibility with a 4.4 average out of 5. As a bonus, one officer noted that with this style he was able to alleviate pressure on his injured ankle by "zipping down" the zipper to the desired height.
While some officers noted trouble breaking in their boots initially, most found that they became comfortable after enough wear. A San Francisco SWAT officer said that after his Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 GTX High boots were broken in, he found them to be comfortable, as well as very stable with excellent traction. "I wore them on several operations and during training and the boots held up well," he commented. "I will wear them in the future."