In August July 2022, HAIX offered up to 1,000 qualified American law enforcement officers a chance to test the company’s Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 side-zip boots with Gore-Tex (GTX). Each wear-tester had to be over 18, active in the law enforcement profession, and be able to provide a wide array of testing scenarios in police operations.
Each selected member from this large pool of applicants received their choice of one of two versions of the Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 GTX side-zip boots that they got to keep. All the company asked was that they wear the boots in September and October on duty and review them in a special questionnaire.
Wear-testers received either the Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 GTX High Side Zip or the Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 GTX Mid Side Zip. The testers were almost evenly divided in their choice of boots, with a very slight majority choosing the High Side Zip model.
The HAIX Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 GTX High Side Zip is an 8-inch boot with a side zipper for easier on/off. It features a Gore-Tex inner liner to ensure that the officer’s feet stay dry even on the wettest 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 HAIX Black Eagle Tactical GTX 2.0 Mid Side Zip is a 6-inch boot that features a HAIX propriety rubber sole and rugged tread for slip resistance in rough weather and on a variety of surfaces. Extra cushioning in the sole reduces foot and leg fatigue. The high-density midsole reduces the impact of rocks and other objects. A waterproof yet breathable Gore-Tex liner keeps feet dry and comfortable in summer heat and in heavy rain. The HAIX 2-zone lacing system lets wearers personalized the fit. Special foam between the inner lining and leather outer absorb moisture. With every step moist air is released at the top of the boot and fresh air is taken in to keep feet dry and comfortable.
The majority of the wear-testers were assigned to patrol duties; the next most common assignment was special operations, followed by K-9 handler.
Each of the selected wear-testers received a questionnaire to fill out.
On the questionnaire, testers were asked to rate the HAIX Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 GTX side-zip 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, 91% of the testers rated the boots at 10, 9, or 8. “I have put this boot through a lot and it’s going strong,” one tester who rated the Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 GTX Mid Side Zip at 10 for quality of materials wrote.
Testers also rated the quality of construction. And again the reviews were overwhelmingly favorable, with 94% of the wearers rating the construction quality at 8 or better. One tester who rated the Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 GTX High Side Zip a 9 for construction quality wrote, “The boots have held up very well thus far. They’ve been in wet and dry conditions on asphalt, gravel, and dirt.” A tester who rated the 6-inch Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 GTX Mid Side Zip an 8 for construction quality wrote, “Very good construction with comfortable materials.”
Comfort was another category of the questionnaire. Testers were asked: How would you rate the overall comfort of the boots? More than three-quarters of testers (78%) rated the Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 side-zip models at 10, 9, or 8. A tester of the 8-inch model wrote, “Definitely some of the more comfortable boots I have had yet. I have been able to subject them to 12 hour days in late summer heat on blacktop and did not get the usual hot spots.” A tester of the 6-inch model wrote, “The boot is very comfortable and breathable. I wear wool socks in all my boots, and I have had no issues doing so in these boots. I like how these boots conform to my foot to reduce slippage, but do not feel too tight.”
Another comfort issue that the testers were asked to rate was the weight of the boots. The Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 GTX side-zip boots were both designed to be lighter than some comparable tactical boots. On a scale of 10 being lightest and 1 being heaviest, 86% of respondents rated the HAIX side zips as 8 or above. One wearer of the 6-inch model wrote, “It’s the lightest boot with a polishable toe on the market.” An 8-inch wearer wrote, “Very lightweight, but still feel well made and durable.”
One of the comfort features of the two boots in this wear test is their side zipper design. Some 90% of the testers gave the design rave reviews of 8 or more. “Side zip is a dream when putting on or taking off the boots,” one respondent wrote.
Testers were asked to measure the performance of certain features of the HAIX Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 GTX side zips, including slip resistance, waterproofing, breathability, foot temperature, and how much feet perspire in the boot.
* Slip Resistance: Some 92% rated the boots at 8 or better on this safety issue. One 8-inch wearer wrote, “This whole past week has been wet and rainy with a lot of walking on wet leaves. I have had no problems with slipping so far and the boots do not squeak when they are wet.”
* Waterproofing: An overwhelming majority of testers (93%) were happy with the waterproofing. “Water is not getting in unless you submerge the boot into water,” one wrote.
* Breathability: Some 76% of testers gave the boots scores of 8 or above on breathability. One 8-inch side zip tester wrote, “HAIX boots are far more breathable than anything I’ve worn so far.”
* Foot Perspiration: About three-quarters of respondents (74%) said their feet did not sweat heavily in the boots. “Working in Florida with these on my feet and my feet don’t sweat,” one tester wrote.
Durability is one of the key concerns officers have about the boots they wear for daily duty. The HAIX Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 GTX High Side Zip 8-inch and the Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 GTX Mid Side Zip 6-inch both were rated high for durability by the wear-testers. Some 90% of the respondents rated the boots’ durability at 8 or better.
The final question asked of the testers was if they would recommend the HAIX side zips to friends or colleagues looking to buy new boots. Some 88% of the testers answered 8 or better to that question, indicating that they would enthusiastically recommend the boots.