Garmont is well known for producing quality footwear, especially rugged hiking boots. But can they take over a century of experience making hiking and climbing boots and turn that into a top of the line tactical boot? Check out this review of the T8 BIFIDA and find out.
About the Garmont T8 BIFIDA Boot
Garmont’s T8 BIFIDA is advertised as “a multi-terrain tactical boot designed to provide protection and comfort in multi-terrain environments whether hiking, running or under heavy load.” Quite the claim and a tall order to fill. Plenty of boots are more than capable of fulfilling one or two of those claims, but ALL of them? If Garmont is able to make good on these promises they will have provided a truly remarkable pair of boots.
Features of the T8 BIFIDA
The T8 BIFIDA line is a modern jungle boot. The upper is a combination of soft 600d nylon and 16 mm suede leather. As with any jungle boot, these boots are designed to dry quickly, and this is aided by a set of screened drain holes in each boot. The lace system is a combination of traditional circle eyelets on the toe, transitioning to quick lace eyelets at the instep. Two unique features of the lacing system are the flat laces and Garmont’s “Zero Optical ball bearing system,” which reduces pressure and provides better security while also reducing friction as the laces transition from toe to upper. The outer sole is rubber, featuring a deep lug design for added traction. For additional comfort, the T8 BIFIDA features a shaped, impact-reducing insole. The heel of the insole also includes a cup for added comfort and support.
Out of the box, it is obvious these boots were made by experienced boot makers. Every stitch is a solid, double stitched design with no loops or hanging threads. All hardware is seated properly, evenly, and without any sharp edges or other potential failure points.
The outer sole is a wraparound design, covering both the toes and heel area for added impact protection. This is always a cause for concern as these are the two areas most likely to fail and loosen or peel away under heavy use – but the construction appears to be solid and capable of holding up under testing.
I was surprised to find flat laces, not a common feature in modern boots, but since I generally replace manufacturer-supplied round laces with flat ones, it was a nice surprise.
These boots are lightweight. You would expect jungle boots to weigh less than other designs, but these are more like athletic shoes than boots. Again, this is a nice feature but something which often leads to early failure. This is another area that will be watched during testing.
The boots I am testing are sage green, but the T8 BIFIDA is also available in desert sand or coyote. The dye is applied evenly with no noticeable change in shading from suede to nylon with a matching outer sole.
All in all, I could not wait to get these on my feet and out into the field for some real testing.
Testing the Garmont BIFIDA Boots
I have learned something important testing past products – don’t jump into the deep end of the pool too quickly. The last thing I wanted was to head off on a long hike and find the boots were less than made out to be. With this in mind, I started by wearing them for a simple day on the town.
As expected, the boots were extremely light. They are designed to feel more like a high top athletic shoe than traditional boots, and that is definitely a promise fulfilled. I found their lightness to make for a very comfortable feel while driving and walking.
The soft sole was also welcomed, especially as the day wore on. While I did not need to cross any rugged terrain or muddy fields, I did find myself walking and standing quite a bit as my wife and I visited a large outdoor market. Regardless of whether I was walking or standing on a mix of asphalt, dirt, or gravel, I found the feel to be soft and the traction, when needed, more than up to the task.
I was also pleased with the lacing system. The combination of flat laces and multiple eyelet systems, including the Zero Optical ball bearing system at the insole, were both extremely comfortable and secure. Not once throughout the day did I find the laces digging into the top of my foot or loosening.
Once the street portion of the field test was out of the way, it was time to take to the field and see what they could really do.
I received the boots just in time for some late spring scouting and trail camera placement. This would also be the perfect opportunity to try out the T8 BIFIDA in real-world conditions over various terrains. My normal route, if the boots were up to it, would include hiking approximately 10 miles using both established and bushwhacked trails, over muddy fields and rocky hillsides, and climbing several trees to place cameras. Only the best boots could handle the task without leaving my feet aching at the end of the day.
The T8 BIFIDA did not let me down.
The muddy terrain was no match for the rugged lug sole. I never experienced the slightest loss of traction or stability, even when ascending or descending slick slopes with a pack. The lugs did pick up some debris but it was easily expelled as I continued my trek.
The soft outer sole was of greatest benefit when climbing over rocks, logs, and other obstructions, and when climbing to place cameras. The heavy, rugged design proved very stable and assisted with gaining a foothold on the numerous uneven surfaces. Even when in contact with only a small surface area, the tread was excellent at grabbing hold and not letting go. This was equally true when climbing, with both climbing sticks and without aid, as they allowed for a solid foothold no matter the surface. This was no doubt aided by the heavy-duty heel, perfect for such a task.
Being spring, I also encountered water, in the way of both wet fields and small streams needing to cross. The boots are not waterproof, and it would be pointless to treat them with waterproofing solutions given the open drain ports. But they are designed to be quick drying so that is what I tested. Water did enter via the drain ports, which is not always a welcome feature but was expected, however it does drain quickly. One of the first streams was early in the hike and by the time I had covered only a few miles, long before the next crossing, the boots had all but dried. Most importantly, they remained comfortable both when wet and after drying – no new rub points, no unwanted stiffness.
Overall the Garmont T8 BIFIDA tactical boots are definitely an example of expert boot making. They are lightweightt, capable of tackling multiple terrains, and provide solid footing. Most importantly they are comfortable regardless of where or how they are used. From a walk about town to a hike through the wilderness, they more than met the match. I would have to agree they are a multi-terrain tactical boot designed to provide protection and comfort in multi-terrain environments whether hiking, running or under heavy load.
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.