If you don’t wear a suit to work, odds are you wear a pair of boots. Working as a CBP Officer I have some basic requirements when it comes to my foot wear. Despite on my work location (which will change the type of uniform I need to wear), there are some pretty standard footwear rules I need to follow; boots need to be black, plain toe, etc (I won’t bore you with all of it). This these types of regulations are pretty standard more the majority of Law Enforcement organizations. Similar to the Army, CBP provides us with uniform credits where we can access a certain website and order gear, clothes, etc. Although this is a great perk, more often than not the prices of items on this site are wildly inflated, and you end up spending your year’s budget on a single uniform and one pair of boots.
So, when I am faced with purchasing my own gear, I always start with my boots. I’d rather have to pay for my boots and have them be high quality, then free and fall apart after a month. As I have mentioned in other articles (here), I tend to run a bit hot in the foot department and I need to take this into consideration when selecting a pari of boots. This usually means I forego waterproof boots, even when environmental conditions suggest I shouldn’t. This changed for me recently when I was given a pair of Maelstrom Tac Force 8” boots to test out.
Maelstrom makes a variety of boots, and apparel with Law Enforcement in mind. If you haven’t checked out their line up, you can (here). After having the Tac Force 8” boots for a couple of months now I have to say I am impressed. These boots are 8” tall (as the name states), polishable (if your department/organization requires this), breathable, lightweight, stable, comfortable (even after 10+ hour shifts on my feet), and have zipper access (ankle side) for easy on/off.
Specifications (According to maelstromtactical.com)
- Polishable leather and nylon upper
- Proprietary waterproof linning with a full bootie construction
- Bloodborne pathogen resistant
- High performance removable cushion insert
- Lightweight, shock-absorbing molded midsole
- Slip, oil-resistant rubber outsole
- Padded collar and tongue for extra comfort
- YKK side zipper with closure for easy on/off
So far I have used these boots in indoor (Airport), and outdoor (Seaport) environments. While outdoor they have been subjected to rain, wind, and general Fall/Winter Seattle weather. They performed well, my feet stayed dry, and comfortable throughout my entire shift. Although indoor environments are seemingly less harsh, they still performed well. Even in hot conditions, these boots breathed well and kept ventilation to my feet. One of the things which stood out to me was how stable these boots feel.
Quality has always been a problem for me. As you can see in the picture below; the Maelstrom boots zipper construction is clearly better. On the right is a pair of boots ordered through work. After just two months usage the zipper broke off these boots making them useless to me.
As I mentioned, I have used these boots in rainy environments no problem, but I hadn’t completely tested the waterproof lining with full bootie construction. I walked through low-level puddles without a problem, but I really wanted to test the full waterproof capabilities of these boots. I took a bucket, filled it with water, and slowly placed the boot into increasingly deeper amounts of water.
There were no surprises during this test this test. After the water exceeded the height of the internal liner, the zipper was the point of compromise. As well as water is kept out to this point, it is equally well-kept inside the boot after compromise. In short, if you exceed the liner you will need to take these boots off and dump the water out. This being said, the compromise point wasn’t until approximately 5″ which is generally deeper than most of us will find ourselves during our day-to-day work.
Another plus factor for these boots are the price. The Maelstrom Tac Force 8″ Boots retails for $84, but are currently on sale for $59. This is a great deal considering like boots easily go for over $100. As with all products their eventual comes the time when you need to discuss the elements you didn’t like. For me, there was really only one aspect about this boot which I didn’t like. There is a loop high on the rear of the boot meant to help you put the boot on. The construction is leather, and it will support one finger to pull, while you push with your foot. My department recently went away from having to blouse our boots (tuck your pants into your boots), which makes this feature a little annoying. If I take a knee, or bend down low, my pants will ride over this loop and get caught. It’s purely cosmetic, and if your department uses blousing then this is a non-issue. My plan is to actually cut these loops off so I don’t need to worry about it anymore.