Last summer HAIX launched an extremely ambitious wear test of its newest police footwear. The company selected up to 1,000 qualified American law enforcement officers from a large pool of applicants and sent them each a pair of Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 boots.
Wear-testers were asked to choose from the Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 GTX High Side Zip with Gore-Tex or the Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 FL High with Crosstech. The boots were theirs to keep. All the company asked was that they wear the boots for one full month on duty and review them in a special questionnaire.
The HAIX Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 FL is an 8-inch boot with a European bull hide leather upper that is polishable, waterproof, hydrophobic, and breathable. What sets the boot apart from many of its competitors is its Crosstech inner lining. The lining is waterproof and breathable. It also provides protection from blood and other body fluids. Features include: separate heel shape for cushioning and comfortable foot insertion, non-marking running sole, anti-slip grip, double-density mid-sole, HAIX 2-zone lacing, HAIX ankle protection system, HAIX climate system that permits air circulation, and HAIX smart lacing system.
The HAIX Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 GTX High Side Zip is an 8-inch boot with a side zipper. It features a Gore-Tex inner liner to ensure that the officer’s feet stay dry even on the rainiest days. The sole is both slip resistant and insulating. The insulation reduces the amount of cold from cold surfaces that reaches the officer’s foot. Another feature of the sole is that its non-marking tread is self cleaning, releasing caked in dirt as the officer walks. The upper is a combination of leather and textiles that are lightweight and breathable. Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 boots have built-in stabilization on the foot-bed to aid in foot health and reduce fatigue. The side-zip design makes it easy to take off and put on the boots when needed.
Testers worked a wide variety of assignments, but the majority, 72%, were involved in patrol operations. Tactical and K-9 officers were also represented in the tester group.
Each of the selected wear-testers received a questionnaire to fill out.
The first question asked was which boot did they choose. Most of the testers, 65%, chose the Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 GTX High Side Zip with Gore-Tex liner. The other 35% chose the Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 FL High with Crosstech.
The testers were also asked to rate the HAIX Black Eagle Tactical boots for quality, comfort, and other attributes based on a 1 to 10 scale, with 10 being excellent and 1 being poor.
Asked to rate the quality of the materials used in construction of the boots, 84% of the testers said they were 9 or 10 on the excellence scale. Only one respondent rated the quality of materials less than 7. Testers also rated the quality of construction. More than 85% of testers gave the construction a 10 or 9 rating.
One tester said: "Best boots I have ever worn in four years of active duty military service and 13 years with state police."
Comfort was another category of the questionnaire. Testers were asked: How would you rate the overall comfort of the boot? More than 63% said the comfort was a 10 or a 9 on the excellence scale. Related to comfort HAIX asked the testers to rate the weight of the boots. More than 90% said the boots were lightweight.
"They feel like a pair of running shoes," one tester said. "Until you look down you won't think you're wearing boots."
Two of the questions specifically addressed a feature unique to the model of boot. One asked, “If you are wearing the side zip boot, how would you rate the side zipper feature?” More than 70% of testers rated the quality of the zipper 10, 9, or 8 on the excellence scale. More than 75% of testers who wore the other boot model, the lace-up boot, rated the smart lacing feature as excellent at 10, 9, or 8 on the scale.
Some of the questions focused on the performance of the boots. Asked to rate the slip resistance of the soles, 94% of testers said it was a 10, 9, or 8 on the excellence scale.
Waterproofing was also a subject of the questionnaire. The two models of boots use different types of waterproofing material but both scored very high, 90% at 10, 9, or 8 on the scale.
One tester said: "I've been to car accidents wearing these. I have stepped in oil, transmission fluid, and water while wearing them, and I haven't had any issues."
Breathability is one of the comfort features touted by HAIX in the Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 line. Asked to rate the breathability of the boots, 85% of the testers gave scores of 10, 9, or 8. The breathability is one of the factors in maintaining foot temperature inside the boot. Other temperature control features include the insulated soles and the sun reflective leather on the uppers. The testers said the temperature control features work very well, with more than 80% rating the boots 10, 9, or 8 for foot temperature. A related question asked the testers about the level of foot sweat they experienced while wearing the boots. More than 75% said they experienced minimal or near minimal sweat levels in the HAIX Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 boot models.
The final question HAIX asked about the two boots wear tested was: How likely is it that you would recommend this product to a friend or colleague? More than 73% said they would recommend the boot model they tested.
"These boots, just like my other HAIX boots, held up to more than 60 hours of work per week and walking five miles per shift. They still look brand new. I would definitely recommend them to other officers," one tester said.