Review: These boots are made for walking – and other police work
Our reviewer treks through mud, water and blazing sun to test the comfort, protection and durability of these tactical boots. Here’s how they hold up.
Sponsored by HAIX
By Sean Curtis for Police1 BrandFocus
Haix, maker of fine footwear, recently sent me a couple pairs of boots that are outstanding options for law enforcement. I spent a month trying the two, and they are high quality, to say the least. The offerings tested were the Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 FL High, and the Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 GTX High Side Zip. Both models are highly evolved and address many of the repeated concerns officers on the street encounter on a daily basis.
Tall, lightweight and waterproof
The HAIX Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 FL High is an 8-inch tall boot with an all-leather upper. Despite this, the boots are lightweight. They are also waterproof with a Crosstech inner liner that protects your feet from other threats we run into on the road such as chemicals, blood and other fluids.
The FL High also feature the “Haix Climate System” that is designed to keep your feet warm during cold temperatures and cool during the heat. Since the testing period occurred during July and early August, I was keen to try out the “Sun Reflect” technology. I’ve spent many an assignment on highways or parking lots standing in black boots while the sun beat down mercilessly. This tech is supposed to keep the feet 20% cooler.
The boots fasten with a linked smart lacing system that has two stages: the bottom which tightens around the foot, and the top, which tightens the section around the ankle. They are built to protect feet, too, and have a stone shield in the soles. Additionally, they have an ankle protector, a heavier pad that protects the ankle bone (inside of the tibia). Continuing in the theme of protection, the soles have an aggressive, anti-slip lug pattern made of a special rubber that provides good traction in loose conditions.
Taking it to the streets
The Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 FL High were very comfortable after I slipped them on. One of the first things I noticed is they actually have a useable bootstrap – not some anemic loop you can only fit one finger in. This makes putting them on so much easier. They remained comfortable as I wore them multiple days at the range, through daily work and recreating as well. I ran, walked and navigated through both wet and dry conditions. Despite water, my feet remained dry. Impressively, my feet did not get hot during many hours under direct sun while at the outdoor range.
The two-zone lacing system allows you to first tighten the bottom area covering the foot. Once this is set, you pull the combined laces together and cinch down the ankle portion with a plastic buckle. The remaining laces get wound up and stuffed in a small pocket that extends off the top of the tongue. The pocket then snugs down with hook and loop. As a system goes, this is fast, easy and tucks out of the way.
Command presence is important, and the FL High literally shines here. The leather is sleek, gives a professional appearance and cleans up easily after getting dirty. Those inclined to polish their boots will be well rewarded with the sheen they produce.
Being tender-footed, I was happy to learn they come with a built-in stone shield to protect the soles. I trod on a lot of uneven surfaces and did not feel any penetrators. Also, because of the support to the ankle, I did not roll an ankle. Finally, the pad that protects the inside of the ankle is really stout and did a great job when I was climbing over various obstacles. I didn’t worry about hitting that “not so funny” bone. These boots are tough, comfortable and look sharp.
Athletic, nimble and fast to don and doff
I also received a pair of the HAIX Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 GTX High Side Zip. These are also an 8-inch boot but equipped with the side zip for rapid donning and doffing. Made mostly of leather, the boots have the distinctive “Haix” piping on the side. They also feature a GORE-TEX inner liner to help keep your feet dry no matter what the conditions are. While I didn’t get to test this feature, the boots have slip-resistant, cold insulated soles that keep the cold from seeping into your feet. Coined as a comfortable, lightweight and waterproof, these boots are a strong choice for duty or tactical wear.
The GTX High Side Zips have the same marvelous boot strap I mentioned above. They also have a dual zone lace-up which you ultimately tie off to fit, then leave it. After the knots are secure, you can use the side zip to get in and out of these boots pretty easily without the need for further adjustment. One thing I noticed that was different was the more athletic fit to the boots. There is a closer, slightly nimbler feel to them as compared to the Tactical 2.0 FL High boots without losing any comfort.
Standing up to the elements
I wore these boots for many days while working and while out at the range. I also used them on a few hikes and walked through multiple forms of terrain, from dry to wet and everything in between. Most of the weather I experienced was usually blazing hot peppered with bouts of rain.
I haven’t normally gone in for zip boots because the zipper has previously allowed in water in others I’ve used – not so with the GTX High Sides Zips. They have a gusseted flap that keeps the water at bay. Despite being black, I did not get the usual foot burn I experience after being in the sun for hours. On top of that, my feet did not sweat, and the boots remained comfortable all day long. After a long, dusty day, all I had to do was wipe these boots with a damp cloth and they were duty-ready again.
After wearing the boots, it’s apparent Haix has a good idea of what officers face on a regular basis. Both pairs are all-day comfortable. They both do a great job of regulating the weather extremes officers face on every shift. My feet stayed dry in the wet and cool in the heat. The traction was really good, and at one point I had to dig a shell casing out of the tread. Thankfully, I didn’t feel it when I stepped on it.
Officers have plenty of options when it comes to the fastening system they want to use, but both I tested were outstanding. The boots protected my feet from different threats and injuries, and they usually stayed professional looking while doing it. If things got bad, a simple spray or wipe down took them back to serviceable.
You must have good footwear as a law enforcement officer. You never know when you’ll be running, climbing a fence, or standing on a hot highway (or frozen intersection) conducting traffic for hours. Making a wise investment in quality footwear will pay huge dividends when you’re thrust into these scenarios. Your feet affect your legs, hips and spine health, so think long term when you purchase. Haix has some solid offerings, and their one-year warranty can be extended to two years by signing up online.
Try a pair of boots yourself - for free
HAIX is holding a contest to give 1,000 law enforcement officers the opportunity to get a free pair of the Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 FL High or the Black Eagle Tactical 2.0 GTX High Side Zip. In exchange for their feedback, wear testers can keep the boots. Click here to enter, but hurry! Contest ends August 24, 2020.
Get more information from HAIX.