The laces themselves aren’t typical smooth straight laces. I don’t know if there’s actually a name for the type of laces but I’ve only ever seen them on one other pair of boots. The laces seem almost crimped and, when tied, provide a more secure friction hold, lace against lace. I’ve always tucked my tied laces into the top of my boots anyway (old Army trained habit) but knowing that, I intentionally didn’t tuck these for several days of the wear testing. I fully expected that the laces would come loose but they never did. Another point for ALTAI’s boot design.
The boots were comfortable enough during initial testing. Within a week they were fully broken in and I never experienced any wear marks on my feet. Let’s be honest: with some boots, you don’t break them in – they break you in. That wasn’t the case with the ALTAI’s.
Most of my wear testing was done in areas common to law enforcement work: streets, sidewalks, inside buildings, and sometimes in grassy areas. It occurred to me that while such wear testing would be adequate, it wasn’t really telling about the durability or full functionality of the boots. So… I also wore them to hike in a local park where the paths are an ugly mix of rock, dirt and sand. I did that on the day after several days of heavy rain so it was really more of a hike on rock, in mud and across wet sandy mush mix. I noticed a couple important things during that hike:
First, the soles shed the yuck pretty quickly and easily. I didn’t have to bang them off. When I got home I did have to rinse the top and sides to get off the more finely granulated junk.
Second, the boots moved well with my ankles, providing good support throughout the twisting, turning hike across inconsistently hard, soft and sometimes mushy trail.
Third, my feet didn’t get wet even though I stepped in several puddles that were ankle deep, and the boots themselves were completely dry the next morning.
All in all I was impressed with the fit and function. The initial concerns I had about the SuperFabric® uppers proved baseless. Some folks might state a preference NOT to have metal in the lacing system, but that’s really a matter of personal preference. The only time it would matter to me is if the boots set off a metal detector and, more often than not, you have to take your boots off for inspection prior to entering a secure area anyway (think about airports).
You can find out more about the ALTAI MF Tactical Boots on their website. With a posted MSRP of $160 the price is reasonable and the wear testing, in my opinion, proves them worth the price tag.