Steve Coulston gets up close and personal to some of our favorite boots in this Garmont T8 boot review, comparing both the BIFIDA and NFS models.

Garmont: Italian Quality

Italy has been long known for style. Italians pride themselves in their heritage and craftsmanship which includes exotic cars, fine dining, exquisite art and designer clothing. Clothing includes footwear, and footwear includes boots. Garmont has been in the business of making high quality footwear since 1990; however, they trace their roots back to the Calzaturifico Morlin which was established in 1867. Garmont now has a presence in over 45 countries worldwide. They make footwear that ranges from trail runners to technical climbing shoes to military boots.

Garmont T8 Comparison

The T8 series of Garmont’s tactical boots come in four different versions: the T8 BIFIDA, T8 NFS, T8 LE and the T8 Extreme. For comparison, the BIFIDA and NFS have striking similarities, yet are uniquely different.

Garmont T8 Review: Uppers

At first glance, both boots look identical. Above the outsole, both boots have identical construction.

Garmont T8 Bifida Review UpperTheir uppers are made from 1.6mm suede leather and 250g nylon mesh and polyester webbing. Every part of the boots is double stitched for additional reinforcement. The high, 8 inch ankle is flexible, made of breathable DD Diamesh, and sports a very stout pull assist at the top. The pull is high enough to aid in donning the boot, yet low enough that the laces will cross it when they are doubled back round the ankle.

The entire foot is protected by the suede leather, and the leather at the heel portion of the boot goes higher than other boots in the same class. There are metal ventilation holes on the interior side of the arch which aid in air circulation in hot and humid climates. The boots use zero optical refraction hardware which is combined with roller bearings and hookless rigging hardware. This allows for additional support and lock solid lacing. The laces are flat 8mm laces which, when laid flat, reduce the lace pressure on the top of the foot.

The interior of the boot is very comfortable and contains an injected molded footbed cup system that works in conjunction with the internal heel retention strapping system. This provides extra stability for a more stable and natural stride and works well as a stress reducer for the lower extremities. The insole is 2mm think for extra cushion and additional comfort. The boot is also nicely contoured, hugging the foot anatomy and providing a somewhat minimalist aesthetic.

Garmont T8 BIFIDA vs. NFS: The Outsoles

The differences lay in the outsoles, which are not only different, but also have an impact on the overall weight of the boot.

Garmont T8 BIFIDA Outsole
Garmont T8 Comparison OutsolesThe T8 BIFIDA is the original T8. It was made for running, hiking and climbing over diverse terrain. They are rugged, yet lightweight and they dry out quickly. They have Vibram “BIFIDA” soles which features very rugged lugs. The lug pattern is very chunky around the perimeter of the sole and wraps up around the toe and heel for impact protection. The interior lug pattern is fairly abstract, consisting of a series of circles and rectilinear wave patterns.

These lugs are made out of a very spongy and soft rubber that not only grabs the terrain, but allows the terrain to bite into the outsoles for extra grab and traction. The lugs are slick, meaning there is not any texture on the wear surface.

The heel of the boot is very pronounced and extends about a half an inch below the arch of the outsole. The heels are thick and are made for heavy loads, which make these boots ideal for long patrols. They are also well suited for vehicle use as well as maritime operations due to their quick drying technology. They are light weight, yet solid.

Garmont T8 NFS Outsole
If the T8 BIFIDAs are the work truck of the T8 line, the T8 NFS boots are the Lamborghini. NFS stands for “NEED FOR SPEED” and it shows.

Garmont T8 Review NFS HeelThese are multi-terrain boots that have the weight of a high performance athletic shoe. They are designed for everything from mud to water, from the mountains to the beach. Their outsole has been minimized and optimized for speed. The large outsole lugs of the BIFIDA have been dramatically reduced to small cleat-like treads. The outer perimeter of the NFS is adorned with long and lean lugs that are spaced fairly far apart. These lugs are dotted with micro treads in the shape of small pyramids. The toe, mid sole and heel, sport an array of small quarter inch squares which have a raised letter “M” on the wear surface. The outsole wraps around the side of the foot and up the heel and toe, but not as far as the BIFIDA boot.

Even though they don’t have the heavier sole of the BIFIDA, the NFS still are capable of heavy lifting. They excel at long hikes or standing still for a long time in formation.

Garmont T8 Review: Wear & Comfort

[quote_right]”The weight difference is noticeable between the two boots, with the advantage going to the NFS.”[/quote_right]Both boots wear very well. They are sized accurately and are snug enough to prevent the foot from moving around and getting hot spots or blisters, yet are roomy enough to allow the wearer to move the toes and keep circulation in the foot. Of note: because of the solid lacing system, it is required that all the laces be loosened in order to get the boot on. Once the foot has been inserted in the boot, it is important to make sure the tongue of the boot isn’t bunched up, even a little. The tongue is secured to the boot by wrapping under the leather reinforcement that holds the metallic eyelets in place. Because of this design, it is easy to get a wrinkle along the top of the foot, which is very uncomfortable. If the time is taken to properly adjust the tongue prior to lacing the boot, the experience will be much better.

Garmont T8 Boot Comparison: Urban

Both boots did well on dry pavement with the edge going to the BIFIDA. Its larger and wider slick treads were ideal for the hard surfaces while dry. The NFS did just fine, but have less surface area on the ground at any given point in time, which in the long run slightly diminishes its gripping capability on dry pavement.

After a hard rain, it is no surprise that the gripping ability of both boots was somewhat diminished on pavement, but the type of pavement was a factor. Depending on how aggressive the broom finish was, both boots did exhibit some slipping while traversing steep pavement grades in the rain. Again, due to the additional surface area, the BIFIDA provided slightly better performance on the wet pavement.

Garmont T8 Boot Comparison: Trail

Garmont T8 Bifida Review TreadOn the trail, the conditions were fairly dry. There was still some moist soil from the recent rains, but the ground was relatively solid. The BIFIDA’s massive lugs really grabbed at the trail and provided solid traction. The downside to the large lug size was that, after a while, organic material really got gummed up in the outsole, reducing the boot’s performance some. Overall, it did great on the hard pack and the mud, and slipping was almost non-existent.

The NFS was a blast to wear on the trail. The weight difference is noticeable between the two boots with the advantage going to the NFS. Even with its smaller tread pattern, the NFS floated over the trail with ease and confidence. The boot gripped the terrain well, and even during steep descents and assents, they didn’t slip. The NFS also filled up with organic material, however due to the lug size and spacing, the material seemed to fall out of the boot better than the BIFIDA.

Garmont T8 Boots Comparison: Running

Garmont T8 NFS Review TreadWhen it came to running on the trail or pavement, both boots were impressive. They exhibited athletic characteristics that warfighters would really appreciate. Thanks to the stability support, both the BIFIDA and the NFS had good impact resistance and really aided in protecting the joints and feet from stress. It should be no surprise, however, that the NFS really stood out during the runs. After running with the BIFIDA, which are fairly light weight, the NFS experience was borderline comical.

The featherweight outsoles made running a pleasure. It was almost like the boots weren’t even there. They provided excellent stability, yet didn’t restrain the natural movement of the ankle and foot. The boot didn’t require the natural running stride to be modified; rather it allowed for normal motion as would be expected of a running shoe.

Garmont T8 Review: Conclusion

Ironically these Italian boots are made in Vietnam. Go figure. If you can get over that fact, you’ll be very satisfied no matter which T8 boot you purchase. The T8 line is very rock solid. The boots are a fine example of craftsmanship, durability and functionality. Regardless of which boot is worn, the BIFIDA or the NFS did not disappoint.

The boots are available from US Patriot Tactical in Desert Tan and qualify for free shipping. As always, US Patriot Tactical offers a 365 day return policy.

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Steve Coulston

Steve has been a firearms enthusiast for over 20 years and is currently an NRA lifetime member. In 1996 he joined the United States Navy and served as a Special Warfare Combat Crewman (SWCC) at Special Boat Unit 12 (now renamed Special Boat Team 12). He made two tours during his time of service and spent most of his time in southeast Asia and the Middle Eastern theaters. Upon his Honorable Discharge in 2000, Steve spent the next 10 years earning his Masters Degree and state license as an Architect. Steve brings a unique perspective from both his tactical and design background and is a reviewer and contributor for US Patriot Tactical.
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18 thoughts on “REVIEW: Garmont T8 Boots

  1. Are these boots authorized? I was looking into buying a pair but I want to know if they are in compliance with AR 670-1.

      1. Are you sure? AR 670-1 says, “The exterior of the boot upper will not contain mesh but will be constructed of either all leather or a
        combination of leather and nonmesh fabric.” However, Both the T8 BIFIDA and NFS have a 250g nylon mesh according to the pictures on this site.

        1. We’ve had not one complaint nor return on the NFS or the BIFIDA due to AR670-1. What is and what isn’t mesh is something that has been debated – sometimes it’s a matter of the words that are used to describe a feature. That said, the T8 Bifida is actually a NSN item. Meaning that it has a National Stock Number and ordable within the DOD’s procurement system. The NFS is simply the same boot with a different sole – which we believe is compliant. As always though, the local unit command can “add to” any standard and deem really any item not compliant according to their own standards.

        2. Mesh isn’t defined in DA PAM 670-1 or AR 670-1.

          Webster’s defines Mesh as, “material made of a network of wire or thread.” Fabric is defined as “cloth, typically produced by weaving or knitting textile fibers.” If it’s woven, it’s a mesh. If it’s knitted, it’s a mesh. The only truly nonmesh fabrics I know of are felt and Polar Fleece.

          The DA PAM describes the material of the upper of the boot as “nylon duck.” Duck (canvas) is a heavy, plain woven nylon fabric. Clearly, canvas is a mesh, as it is made of a network of thread. The question seems to be, “Is it a plain woven nylon fabric, so that it qualifies as ‘nylon duck’?” This boot also has polyester in it. So how much polyester mixed with nylon makes it not nylon duck, but something else?

          Thanks to the ambiguity of DA PAM 670-1, that’s really left up to the eye of the beholder. This boot, which I own and love, is borderline. If you were one of my soldiers, I’d back you up wearing it and I would have a good basis for doing so. That doesn’t mean I’d win. Arguably, the boots issued do not even meet the definitions laid out in DA PAM 670-1.

          I want my soldiers worrying about their mission, not the minutiae of the details of the fabric on the upper of their boots. The Army wants us worried about it, apparently, so worry we do. I will always place the mission first . . .

          1. I didn’t know that about the definitions of mesh, fabric, duck etc. Thanks, that was quite interesting.
            I own a pair myself and they are wonderful and was about to buy a new pair when the changes came out. I agree wholeheartedly with you about getting the job done. However, at the same time I’m not trying to get chewed out when I show up to work.

  2. I’m getting flak about the “Toe Cap” that the NFS boots have i’ve read the DA-PAM 670-1 an it only state s cannot go above the toe. Can we clarify the Over the toe part

  3. I have had these boots for about 2 years. Roughly about 7 months ago I noticed what looked to be the wearing out of leather on left and right side of the boot. It is right beside where the bottom laces are attached. As of now I have a large hole that has formed on left side and the right side seems to be following suit. The biggest problem I see is that they were not field boots. I never once wore them to the field until they started to blow out.
    I love the boots they are comfortable and give good support and I wanted to buy another pair but, if they are only going to last a little over a year I just can’t see me spending the money.
    Can anyone advise if this kind of problem happens often with the boot or could it just be a flawed pair of boots?

  4. US Patriot,

    I want to order the BIFIDA model. How is the sizing? I know all boots are different. For example, with Nike boots (as well as gym shoes) I wear true to size (ie size 12), however, in Rocky boots I wear a size smaller to a size and a half smaller (ie 10.5 to 11s). Any advice how the T8’s would convert? Thanks.

    -Matt

  5. I have had a pair of T8 BIFIDA’s for about three years now. I first ordered them while in Afghanistan in 2012-13 and wore them everyday on every patrol. I continued to wear them for every field problem which included squad and platoon dismounted live fires through desert type terrain at Fort Bliss. I am back in Afghanistan currently and the same boots are just now starting to show wear and tear with a few little holes appearing on the side of the leather where my toes bend. These are probably the best boots I have ever worn.

    I just ordered a pair of the T8 NFS to replace this current pair of BIFIDA’s,. I am hoping they perform as well as the BIFIDA’s have.

    1. I have had 3 pairs of BIFIDAs and 1 pair of NFS. I prefer the BIFIDA…they hold up a lot better in the soles. The NFS is good for light ruck running and such, but day to day the sole material breaks down. I will wear nothing but the BIFIDA for the rest of my service (compliance permitting).

  6. I purchased 2 pairs of the T8 bifida boots, one in Coyote and one sand prior to deployment to Afghanistan. The first pair didn’t last a month after being wet and dried out the leather became hard and brittle and tore open GARBAGE!! Now the same thing has happened to the other pair that left at home during deployment. Bottom line the leather is GARBAGE I called Garmont and they will do nothing to replace them as I’m over the warranty time now, I’m so disappointed in this company and it’s not just my boots it’s every other soldier that I know who has them they all are torn open due to shit leather. SO DO NOT BUY THESE BOOTS!!

  7. I ordered the T8 NFS. They are light and conducive to running and jogging, but obviously not as light and flexible as dedicated running shoes. The materials appear to be of high quality, and they provide good ankle support. My only complaint is that they run small and narrow, or at least the size 12 regular boots did, and I’ve never had to wear a size wide on any other boot or shoe. I ordered a half size up and wide (12 W), which fit better, both lengthwise and by width.

    But although they now fit, they are uncomfortable. The area near the roller bearing lace digs into the inner side of my foot about an inch in front of my ankle. I thought they had to be broken in, so I jogged in them for several miles (roughly 8 or 9 total) over a period of a few days, but the problem persisted. I tried loosening the laces, tightening them, skipping the roller bearing lace and adjusting the tongue to no avail. I see the article above mentions the tongue needs to be properly placed to avoid discomfort in the upper part of the foot. I will try adjusting the tongue again to see if that may fix the problem.

    Aside from the discomfort and sizing issue, I like everything else about this boot.

  8. Just wanted to add that after further experimenting with the tongue, I was able to greatly reduce the digging-in roller bearing discomfort I described in my earlier review. The trick for me is to make sure the tongue is pressed as straight and flat as possible against the top of the foot and the shin. This will cause the outer edges of the tongue to fold in along the eyelet area, creating more of a cushion in that part of the foot, including the inner foot near the inner roller bearing area. This helped greatly.

    Also, I had initially replaced the original Garmont insole with a slightly thicker Dr. Scholl’s athletic gel insole. The thicker Dr. Scholl insert raised my foot just enough to press more against the top part of the boot, including the tongue, and the top inside of the boot near the roller bearing area. I switched the slightly thinner Garmont insole back in which further alleviated the problem. It is now much more tolerable.

    I hope this helps others who may experience the same discomfort issue I had and also hope it encourages prospective buyers to give the T8 NFS serious consideration. I’m really enjoying this boot now.

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