I’ll be honest – the first time I saw the Tactical Research Desert Jungle Runner, I was underwhelmed. It was just another 8” warm weather boot that would easily be lost in a sea of boots. There isn’t anything sexy about it. Nothing too out of the ordinary immediately jumps out and screams, “I’m special!” But God is in the details, right?
The Desert runner has some great features if you take the time to look closely, and more importantly, to wear them for an extended period of time. The boot itself is made of cattle hide leather, with a nylon upper. The construction is rugged, especially for a “lightweight” warm weather boot. The boot features quad stitching around the base with double stitching throughout the upper ankle construction. There is no pull tab at the top of the boot, but it isn’t needed. Rather it has a padded collar that prevents the boot from cutting into the back of the leg. The pad is large enough to also serve as a pull point to get the boot on.
The laces are exceptionally long, which is a win in my book. Short laces are a pain to tie and I like to wrap the excess lace around the ankle. Having extra lace is a good thing to have on hand for repairs. The laces are made of 550 cord and slide easily through the all metal hardware. The drainage holes located on the interior side of each boot aid in breathability and quicker drying times. The soles of the boot are chunky at the heel and the ball of the foot with a flexible arch. The aggressive lugs are designed for sure grip, keeping a lot of surface area on the trail but with wide enough voids for debris to fall out. The outsole wraps the heel and toe enough to protect the boot from typical stubs and stomps but not so aggressive that it makes the boot less flexible.
Even though the leaves were turning color and the seasons were transitioning from summer to fall, I continued to wear these boots. My first impression after getting them all laced up and on the street was they were surprisingly comfortable. Even though the boot isn’t the lightest or most flexible I have ever worn, it fit well. I find that I usually need to go a half size larger with boots to avoid pinching – not the case with these. My shoe size matched the boot size, and I didn’t notice any discomfort in the toes or heel. As I get older, I feel like my feet are getting a little flat and require more arch support. I often find myself replacing the insoles in boots to accommodate the arch. The Desert Runner insole was ideal for my foot, and I have no plans to replace it.
While I won’t say these boots require a break in period, you might find with heavier boots, they are a tad on the clunky side that does take a few trips to get over the feeling that you are clopping along, however, it will smooth out. Ascents and descents on steep grades weren’t much of an issue thanks to the sure grip the soles proved plus the boot did a good job of grabbing my heel to prevent any slippage or hot spots. The boots performed well on all types of surfaces including pavement (wet and dry), gravel, rock, sand and your typical dirt trail through winding forest paths.
Again, these are warm weather/light weight boots so I have no illusions of wearing these in extremely inclement or cold weather. I drug these through the mud and water as well. The water typically just beaded up on the boot. When the level got high enough, the drain holes allowed the water to infiltrate, but just as easily provided a way for it to regress. Mud and muck that got trapped in the soles easily washed out with a simple stomp or trek through a stream.
All and all, I would say these have just the right amount of detail and features to set itself apart from the fray. There isn’t much to complain about. They are pretty simple with some nice touches. They meet all Army qualifications, are priced well at $110 and should last you a good long while.
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.
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