Continuing the quest for the perfect boot for the job, a second Bates boot is up for review. The Ranger II Hot Weather 8” boot is similar to their Cobra Jungle boot and the two will be compared here. Again, this boot is very light for what it is, though not quite as light as the jungle boot. Once lifted out of the box, I noticed the drain holes on the instep of the boot. These holes are reminiscent of the Vietnam era jungle boot and seem out of place on a boot labeled for desert use, especially when compared to the Cobra Jungle boot that had vent holes that looked like they would be more at home on a desert boot.
Over the past week, I wore the Ranger in various conditions and found that it was more functional and more comfortable than the jungle boot by a modest degree. Again, the suede is sturdy and well stitched yet flexible. The canvas was well made and did not have the odd crunch and noise found in the jungle boot, allowing for a much more comfortable wear.
Canvas: Sturdy and with strong stitching, the canvas was flexible and comfortable while providing support around the ankle. The top of the ankle had a thinly padded band around it to keep it from digging into the wearer. The side supports were placed slightly better than the jungle boot and felt like they protected the ankle from rolling. The back support on the canvas still bunched up but not as much and, after a few miles, softened up and was not painful.
Laces: The laces on this boot were the same as on the jungle boot. The Ranger came pre-laced boot-camp style and to keep the back-ankle support from hurting, I had to re-lace it near the top to stop the back strap from digging in. There are no speed laces on this one but the boot is flexible enough that loosening them for removal was simple and fast.
Insole: The insole was the same as the jungle boot and was very comfortable and supportive. Without getting too hot, this insole manages to provide a soft and conforming interior base for the foot. The foot did slide a bit inside the boot, though not as much as in other boots.
The Foot: This boot fit true to the labeled size and did not have any pressure points. It was not as flexible as the jungle boot, however, it did move well and never felt restricting. The drain holes on the instep seemed out of place, as noted above. When walking through a small puddle, the inside of the boot remained dry. After walking through deeper water, the inside of the boot became wet, but the drain holes allowed the water an escape and the boot dried fairly quickly. Walking through a small puddle that covered the vent holes on the jungle boot allowed the water in.
The Sole: With sturdy and aggressive tread, this boot provided traction in various conditions and allowed for quick movements. The ability to move in the sand was not as good as on the jungle boot, but it did well enough. Where this sole really shined was over the packed earth with loose sand and gravel. While running, I was able to turn and stop quickly with minimal sliding and never felt like I would fall as a result of the sole coming up short. It was not as flexible as the jungle boot sole, though it did move well with my foot.
Overall: **** (of 5 stars)
Being fairly comfortable, sturdy, and easy to clean, this boot gets near perfect marks overall.
The MSRP on this boot is $154.95 and it gets closer to being worth it than the jungle boot gets to its price point. Avoiding painful pressure points and not being the loudest boot on earth, I would not be upset for having paid the full price of these boots, though there are boots just as good at a lower MSRP.
The Ranger II fit well and was true to its size. After a break in period, the boots still my feet and there was minimal movement, yet my feet did not feel crushed or overly constricted.
The Ranger II was lightweight and flexible, while allowing for decent heat exchange to keep the feet cool and dry.
Bates has come a long way in regards to making a supportive boot that protects the feet from the environment without damaging the feet to do it. The arch support alone is worth trying these ones out.
Getting rid of that odd crunch found in the jungle boot, the canvas on this boot is provides decent support and protection without being annoying or noisy. I do not see this canvas upper falling apart any time soon.
All said and done, the Bates Ranger II Hot Weather Boot lives up to the task of protecting the feet of the world’s finest military. The wearer can be sure that they will be able to move without slipping and sliding while keeping dry and cool in a variety of conditions and environments.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.