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Oakley SI Combat Boots Review
Introduction

"Being two inches shorter than your regular combat boot is a feature welcomed by those who seek a compromise between a runner-type gore-tex and a regular ICB"

Turn the clock back a couple years and tell me that Oakley were making more than sunglasses, I'd put on a fake Italian mobster accent and tell you to "getthefakouttahere". But my Godfather impression wouldn't have changed the fact that you'd be right, since Oakley have moved from shades and gone into a full booming clothing and accessories industry aimed for both the professional military operator as well as the smooth brand-sucker civilian.

So the brands have taken over the military fashion showrooms too huh? Quite so, and those of us in the airsoft community who generally go for spot-on impressions, have to once again put the hand deep in the pocket, as is the case with these Oakley SI assault boots.

The Oakley 'O' brand mark is slowly becoming a fashion statement by itself.

Admittedly, there's a fine line between the kind of gear you need as a simple airsofter to help you get you around, and the gear you wear just that enhances the gameplay and the show-off factor. Boots can fall under either category as scroungers would argue that a cheap pair of trainers can get the job done whereas more hardcore players won't settle for anything less than a gore-tex boot in terms of comfort and ankle security.

Wherever your loyalties lie, let me put some stingy characters off the blood scent: The Oakley SI boots have a retail cost of $175 and that is plenty more money than what you'd pay for a standard set of infantry combat boots (ICB) which usually come with an affordable two-figure pricetag. Having said that though, there is a certain lack of products across the board that combine the word "cheap" with "reliable", so in most cases you will inevitably end up coughing up more than your fair share in order to get something good. Of course there are exceptions, but as far as boots are concerned, let's just say that I'm still looking for them…

Now you can see where this is going… I'm starting to indirectly praise the Oakley boots already! Well, there's no hiding my excitement about them so I'll just lay it down for you: These boots are the most comfortable ones I've EVER worn (and I've been through more than a few pairs, I'll have you know) and they are guaranteed not to give you blisters even after a full day's use. If they do, then you must have screwed up and bought the wrong size or something, because there's no way a boot that light can generate any kind of skin problem.

ndeed when I originally saw the boot at the Oakley store, I was surprised to pick it up and find out that it's probably the most lightweight tactical boot on the market. Two thoughts followed, the first one being "omg!! wtf?!?" and the second "I bet they'll fail inside three months..."

Serving Suggestion. Tan laces included.

But I just couldn't let it go. I would wake up at nights sweating, thinking of how cool they looked and how that boot could finally give me a chance of a really stealthy footing. So I decided to go for it and I'm happy to say that it was worth it. The sole is extremely rigid and the build is nothing short of sturdy. I've spend the better part of last year running around everywhere from our remote desert-like local airsoft fields, to the heart of busy urban centers and they have yet to fail.

Still, reading Oakley's PR spiel on these boots, certainly has a 'wow' factor by itself that will make media-savvy people grin. While it does make them stand out from the regular ICBs, one has once again read between the lies (*cough* *cough*) lines... I mean lines, in order to see if this pair of Gucci shoes will give you any advantage at all.

Engineered with a lightweight athletic design, the Elite Special Forces Standard-Issue Assault Boot is braced by an over-the-ankle boot shaft and shielded by abrasion resistant panels on soft top-grain leather.

Compared to other ICBs the last bit is indeed a welcome addition to those who make a living by falling on gravel and causing them abrasions above the ankle. OK, it COULD happen I guess, but the sturdier upper construction is more helpful in providing actual ankle protection, than preventing anything else. Bear in mind that this means that you will feel a bulkier layer surrounding the foot and it could take some getting used to for some.

Comprehensive moisture control maximizes comfort.

The grilled ventilation vents won't do wonders, but they definitely help your feet breathe a little, albeit with some difficulty.

As previously stated, these boots are indeed extremely comfortable, but I'd gander that it has to do more with the actual internal 'pillow-like' construction than whether your feet are under some sort of arcane 'moisture control' (good socks will see to that bit). The two grilled vents found in each boot are indeed worth mentioning though. They are designed for proper ventilation, without letting in any unwanted elements, such as water. Pretty cool.

Advanced polymer EVA and premium urethane offer resilient shock absorption.

Wow… erm.. not really.

High-NBS vulcanized rubber maintains traction over a full range of terrain.

Take the word 'full' out of that statement and you've got the picture. Yes, the Oakley boots will give you traction in a broader range of terrain than other ICBs, but the fact is that they are extremely slippery over marble floors and mud. In addition, wet marble floors will send anyone wearing those boots to the ice-skating finals. So don't for a second think that this pair is the jack-of-all-trades of terrain traction.

Strangely enough, one thing that Oakley did not try to promote was the stealthy-ness that the boot provides, which is really a HUGE advantage over most other pairs on the market (especially the steel-toed ones). The key to this is the lightweight design that is there to guarantee that you tread… quietly.

However...

There have been numerous reports in the past which claimed that the Oakley SI boot 'squeaked' while navigating through a plethora of flat surfaces. As far as I'm concerned, the squeaking effect remains to this day a mystery for me as my pair has only cried out only twice while running through wet asphalt, only to shut up later on. Other than those two cases, I've never, EVER, heard a peep out of them.

Lastly...

A word about the looks… The Oakley SIs could be anything from a trendy civilian tan boot to a construction worker's pair of choice. They don't look like army boots but in day and age, they simply don't need to because they can get away with only looking cool. When worn over the BDU pants, you'll inevitably notice that the six-inch tall SI boot is noticeably shorter than all ICBs. Towards this end, Oakley has recently released an eight-inch tall SI version for about the same price, also adding more wowing features.

You might want to check them out too…

 

As previously stated, these boots are indeed extremely comfortable, but I'd gander that it has to do more with the actual internal 'pillow-like' construction than whether your feet are under some sort of arcane 'moisture control' (good socks will see to that bit). The two grilled vents found in each boot are indeed worth mentioning though. They are designed for proper ventilation, without letting in any unwanted elements, such as water. Pretty cool.

Advanced polymer EVA and premium urethane offer resilient shock absorption.

Wow… erm.. not really.

High-NBS vulcanized rubber maintains traction over a full range of terrain.

Take the word 'full' out of that statement and you've got the picture. Yes, the Oakley boots will give you traction in a broader range of terrain than other ICBs, but the fact is that they are extremely slippery over marble floors and mud. In addition, wet marble floors will send anyone wearing those boots to the ice-skating finals. So don't for a second think that this pair is the jack-of-all-trades of terrain traction.

 


 

These desert boots will mix perfectly with all tan-based camouflage, but can equally look good on woodland and OD uniforms.

... and that just about summarizes what I have to say about the Oakley SI Combat Boots. See you on my next review...




Credits/Acknowledgments

This review was brought to you by one of our forum moderators, Federal.

June 1, 2007. Athens, Greece.

 

 
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