DISCLAIMER: I have no financial interest in AF Boots.
To start this review I will readily acknowledge my bias for Made in USA products. Itís not that Iím anti-other countries, rather Iím just pro-USA jobs. That said, I readily acknowledge that many things simply arenít available as Made in USA and I wonít recommend that someone get something that doesnít 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 donít 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 personís 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 canít complain.
Size 9.5 wide
Weight, about 2lbs 15.5 ounces, just under 3 pounds for the pair. Thatís 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? Theyíre 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. Iím 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 havenít 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 Iím pretty happy. The important review will be a year or two from now when I see how they handle a few hundred miles.
Footer foot measure toolhttp://footmeasure.com/
SOLE Signature EV insoleshttp://www.yoursole.com/us