Deceptively designed footwear

     The tactical officer is a special breed of officer. This is the officer who defines his physical and mental envelope on a regular basis. Law Enforcement Technology tested Magnum's latest boot designed specifically for tactical operations...


Sole stealth
     Tactical boots must be designed for stealth and surefootedness. The Elite Spider uses slip-resistant Vibram soles with a tread pattern that consists of angled geometric shapes. Although these shapes look like just pretty designs, they serve several purposes. First, they have to put enough contact surface on the ground in a way that doesn't sound like monster truck tires on a freeway. The design has to invite a rocking motion between the base of the heel and the ball of the foot. This motion is surrendered in the vicinity of the big toe, where a user generally picks up his foot when walking. Second, the Elite Spider sole has lugs with steep angles that can negotiate but do not hold muddy surfaces.

     The sole did not hang up when quickly changing directions and appropriately prevented the ankle from turning by offering an appropriate amount of lateral resistance.

     Law Enforcement Technology researchers liked the patch of cushioning foam under the heel in the insole. However, we would have put it under the ball of the foot also. The Vibram oil-resistant soles are truly quiet and sure-footed, including on wet pavement.

     The Magnum Elite Spider boots boast a positive heel, meaning the heel is higher than the ball of the foot. It has excellent lateral stability and a firm heel cup, enabling the bone structure to set directly over the foot, in correct alignment. These two features might seem unimportant until the officer has to stand in place on a concrete surface for a long time. Standing produces more fatigue than walking.

     Magnum boots have been in the uniform footwear industry for 20 years. When the Magnum Elite line was first introduced, officers gained immediate respect for the all-day comfort and support. The Magnum Elite Spider continues this tradition for officers used to donning gas masks and toting entry tools.

     This boot does what Magnum originally set as its goal. Gossamer light, it feels like a running shoe and breaths like a canvas boat shoe. Officers can find it in 3-, 5- and 8-inch-high versions.

Lindsey Bertomen is a retired police officer who teaches at Hartnell College in Salinas, California.

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