The Oakley Assault Boot is another product from the “Big O” that’s well worth the money spent. Photo Dave Spaulding
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I’m not much for trends or fads. If something works, I tend to stick with it until something better comes along. When it comes to gear for cops and military personnel, I’ve seen a lot of trends and fads come and go. Most of the time, the piece of gear is popular for no reason other than “it’s the thing to have,” regardless of whether it’s well built or not. Let’s be honest, all of us (myself included) have bought a gun, holster, knife, shoes, pants or other related item because “everyone else” had it. Remember when you were a kid and your mother told you, “If everyone else jumps off a cliff, are you going to jump, too?” I try to remember that whenever a new whiz-bang piece of gear takes the cop world by storm.
One of the more recent phenomena is the Oakley Assault Boot. It seems that everywhere I go every firearms trainer or SWAT cop has a pair of these boots on in either black or desert sand color. At first, I just rolled my eyes and figured “fad.” But then I stopped and thought for a moment.
I wear Oakley M-frame shooting glasses when I teach, train or practice, and I’m very happy with them. As my eyesight worsens with age, I’m always looking for anything that offers greater clarity of vision, which is what led me to spend more than $100 on the Oakley glasses.
Although some might say all safety glasses are created equal, I have to disagree. I’ve worn all types of protective eye wear—from cheap to high end—and I get greater service and clarity of vision from my Oakley glasses than I had with any others. This said, perhaps I was too hasty in dismissing their boot.
I contacted Oakley, explained to them who I was and that I wanted to review the company’s boot. Understandably, the folks at Oakley were a bit cautious at first (after all, how many requests for free gear do you think they get?). After checking me out, they supplied me with a desert sand pair of Oakley Assault Boots, which were originally designed at the request of the Special Operations Command and built to their specifications.
The boot I reviewed is the civilian version of the combat gear Oakley developed with the U.S. military and includes multiple innovations created specifically for the Special Forces operator.
Lightweight and inspired by shoes designed for sports, the Oakley Assault Boot offers the comfort of prime urethane shock absorption and the climate control of a moisture wicking liner that will help keep your feet dry, especially from sweat. The vulcanized rubber sole includes directional lug geometry and provides wet and dry traction on both smooth and rough terrain. If you think about the types of terrain encountered by American law enforcement officers, it can vary from a muddy farm field to a slanted roof top, so having a sole that will grip no matter what is a huge feature.
The Desert version (which is the one I reviewed) meets U.S. Army Uniform Spec 670-1. The boot is built with a soft temper for instant comfort and silent movement and the low-friction lining with anti-microbial treatment helps keep your feet comfortable. The ergonomically optimized geometry with enhanced load-bearing stability further enhances comfort and performance.
The comfort factor of the Oakley Assault Boot was apparent from the moment I put them on; they felt more like a running shoe than a boot, which is quite an accomplishment considering the amount of material that goes into each.
Once I laced them up, I felt that I had solid ankle support, which I later came to appreciate while walking on gravel-covered ranges and wooded, hilly “jungle lanes” that are used for decision-making training. The sole grabbed everything that was placed beneath it and, unless the turf itself gave way, the boots held up their part of the bargain.
Although the boots weren't waterproof, I did have them on during a summer rain and didn't feel like I was squishing along as I have when wearing other boots. As far as sweat was concerned, the moisture-wicking properties of the inner sole delivered as advertized, and I didn’t suffer any chafing due to moisture.
I wore these boots for quite a while and couldn’t find anything that would dissuade me from continuing to use them.
In the end, I have to say that the Oakley Assault Boot is well worth the money spent. If I were currently on a SWAT team, I'd definitely give the Oakley Assault Boot a hard look. They perform to the same standard as my trusty M-Frames, which is why I'll also use them when I teach.