New boot review Allegiance Footwear

Posted by: PerryMK

New boot review Allegiance Footwear - 03/29/14 08:02 PM

DISCLAIMER: I have no financial interest in AF Boots.

To start this review I will readily acknowledge my bias for Made in USA products. Its not that Im anti-other countries, rather Im just pro-USA jobs. That said, I readily acknowledge that many things simply arent available as Made in USA and I wont recommend that someone get something that doesnt meet their needs just because it is Made in USA.

I was in the market for a pair of hiking boots. Although Allegiance Footwear are marketed as work boots, a few reviews indicated they could serve as hiking boots also. I found another brand using what appears to be the same sole/last that were advertised as hikers.
The company history in a nutshell: Timberland boots moved the last of their operations overseas, a couple of former employees bought some of the equipment and started their own boot repair shop. This eventually grew into their own line of boots.

After reviewing the options on the website, I decided I needed a combination of features not presented, but available on different models. There was an extra charge for this, but such is life. My total cost was $190 including shipping. Without the extra features I probably would have paid closer to $125. In my opinion these are reasonable prices for quality boots (of course I dont know what the quality is like yet). According to the website they make their boots to conform to the sizing as measured with a Brannock device. I suppose one could go to a shoe store and get ones foot measured but it strikes me as morally wrong to take up a sales persons time with no intention of buying anything. So I bought one on eBay for around $35. I also found a Footer, a plastic foot measuring device Made in USA for $10. This is actually easier to use and I would recommend this. AFBoots has no web based order form that I could see so I called the number. Much to my pleasure I spoke with the guy who would later that day be cutting the leather for my boots. I was told it would take 4 to 6 weeks to receive my boots. I received them a day shy of 4 weeks so cant complain.

Basic specs:
Size 9.5 wide
Weight, about 2lbs 15.5 ounces, just under 3 pounds for the pair. Thats about 1.5 pounds per boot.
6 inches tall, just over the ankle
Uninsulated (I hike in Florida)
Made in USA

The boots look great, but what do I expect? Theyre new boots. The fit is fine. Roomy toe box which I really like. About the only criticism is I had to just about tighten the laces all the way to get a proper fit. Im not a big frame guy, but if I ordered another pair I would request the lace holes be set a little further apart. As it is it does fit though. I felt a little pressure on the heel and was concerned this might result in a hot spot when hiking. I immediately replaced the insole with SOLE Signature EV insoles, a heat moldable insole. I used to use Superfeet but a couple of years ago they stopped being comfortable. I then discovered heat moldable insoles and havent looked back.

So I took them for a hike. I live in the Florida Panhandle and selected a reasonably rugged trail for the area. Lots of ups and downs, the last 20 hours had been almost nonstop rain so lots of splashing, including walked through two shallow streams (about 4 inches deep). I wore a 40 pound pack and walked about 6 miles in 2 hours. The boots waterproofing held up and the heel concern melted away. I had no blisters nor hot spots. These boots will require some breaking in but another hike or two should take care of that. I suspect they will get more comfortable with time.

Right now Im pretty happy. The important review will be a year or two from now when I see how they handle a few hundred miles.

Allegiance Footwear

Footer foot measure tool

SOLE Signature EV insoles
Posted by: PerryMK

Re: New boot review � Allegiance Footwear - 05/09/16 07:40 PM

So it’s been a couple of years and a few hundred miles. I’m still hiking with these boots. In all fairness, I have two different pairs of boots for hiking. This pair of AF Boots and a no longer in production New Balance non-waterproof pair advertised as quick draining. I use my AF Boots for most hikes but prefer the NB for hikes that I anticipate will be in and out of water. As an example, about three months ago after a couple of hours in and out of water I spent a straight half an hour hiking in waist deep water.

So back to my AF Boots. These are as durable as they looked when I first got them. These are not as cushioned as some shoes and boots so might not be as good for long walks on pavement.

So I’ll address my original points:

“The boots look great, but what do I expect? “
As seen in the photos except for some discoloration from hiking in muck the boots show little wear.

“The fit is fine. Roomy toe box which I really like.”
They fit even better now that they’re broken in.

“ About the only criticism is I had to just about tighten the laces all the way to get a proper fit.”
Still a criticism.

“ I’m not a big frame guy, but if I ordered another pair I would request the lace holes be set a little further apart.”
Which I will use to segue into the next part of my review. I ordered new boots with the lace holes cut back a little.

Part of my reasoning is that when I hike into double digit mileage I feel the need for more support and I’d really like that option to tighten them up a bit once in a while. I don’t want this to be a debate of shoes versus boots so I’ll just say that boots are what work best for me, especially when I get past 10 miles. I will be replacing the insole with a SOLE Signature EV insole again.

There have been some changes since my last purchase. They are using a new sole. It doesn’t appear any different in shape but the tread looks a little different. Not a big deal. I’ve tried them on but haven’t taken them for a hike yet. (Recovering from an inflamed ankle; it sucks getting old) Walking around the house I can see these will need some breaking in as the leather is a bit stiff. The same was true for my original boots.

I'll be reporting back in a few months after I've taken the new boots a few miles. The old boots will be backups or possibly used for yard work.

Posted by: Gershon

Re: New boot review � Allegiance Footwear - 05/09/16 08:54 PM

They look like nice boots.
Posted by: bobito9

Re: New boot review � Allegiance Footwear - 05/09/16 10:48 PM

I like the fact that you can have them customized, at least in certain ways. I wish I could get my foot shape measured and a custom last made for it. Seems like I heard about a boot-maker in Bishop, CA (?) who made custom hiking boots, but they were very pricey.
Posted by: PerryMK

Re: New boot review � Allegiance Footwear - 05/10/16 04:53 AM

Originally Posted By bobito9
but they were very pricey.
These aren't wally world cheap, but they are in line with good quality boots. Prices start around $150 per pair plus shipping. Mine run $230 including shipping and customization. Considering I've had cheap boots fall apart after a couple hundred miles and these have gone easily more than twice that with little sign of wear I think its a good value.
Posted by: PerryMK

Re: New boot review � Allegiance Footwear - 02/12/18 07:56 AM

I guess it's time for a follow up.

I'm still hiking with the AF boots. They have several hundred miles on them and the main sign of wear is some discoloration from hiking in muck. And one gouge (not all the way through; just surface) in the leather after tripping over a sharp root protruding in the trail. The stitching looks new and the soles are intact. There is little wear on the tread. I'll point out these are used primarily on trails, not pavement. I still use the heat moldable insoles.

Getting the second pair for the better fit was a great decision for me. The original pair are still used for lawn mowing and yard work. They're still in great shape also, except for discoloration from grass, dirt, and grease.

Unfortunately photobucket is no longer free and I haven't searched out another free photo host yet so no photos.