Garmont’s T8 Extreme GTX is the company’s cold-weather addition to its T8 line of tactical boots. Each item in the T8 line is specifically designed to meet the needs of a particular mission or environment. The T8 Extreme GTX is designed for long patrols and heavy loads in winter temperatures, snow, and ice.
T8 tactical boots are AR670-1 and AF36-2930 compliant, so you don’t need to choose between warm feet and regulations. If you are wearing either OCP (Army and Air Force) or Multicam (Army), you can have both. Of course, it is always recommended you check with your local command before buying any non-issue footwear.
Garmont is an Italian footwear company founded in 1867. Although the company offers a variety of specialty climbing shoes, running shoes, and hiking boots, the core part of the business is military footwear. The company offers some of the finest tactical boots on the market.
Materials & Construction
Right out of the box, the T8 Extreme GTX tactical boots shout quality. The combination of suede leather and 600D nylon uppers, reinforced with nylon webbing at major stress points, gives you confidence that the boots will withstand even the harshest environment. The metallic eyelets, closed lace hooks, and ball-bearing hardware, which is also reinforced, remove any doubt that these boots will stay on your feet until you decide to remove them.
Closer examination confirms that the T8 Extreme GTX are extremely well built and sturdy. All threads are double stitched, with no visible faults or loose points that would suggest premature failure. All hardware is flawlessly set with no pieces misaligned or showing unwanted rough edges. By combining suede, 600D nylon, and webbing at the stress points, the uppers remain flexible while still providing a high degree of support at stress and wear points. Vibram Grivola rubber soles are heavily lugged and connected via full circumference weld. All welds are solid and show no points that may be subject to failure or separation. Finally, GOR-TEX lining and 200 grams of Thinsulate mean that your feet will stay warm and dry even on the coldest days standing post or humping a pack.
Speaking of standing post or humping a heavy load, that is what these boots are designed for. The Vibram Grivola rubber soles are combined with a PP footbed and insole that provide the comfort and traction you need for long patrols with everything but the kitchen sink on your back.
As mentioned above, the T8 Extreme GTX tactical boot is specifically designed for cold-wear comfort. Garmont has accomplished this by including a long list of standard features, each selected with one mission in mind: helping you complete your mission.
At a glance, this means:
- 320 gram 600D Nylon uppers reinforced with 1.6 mm suede leather (toe, lace area, and rear of shaft) and 250 grams nylon webbing at major stress points for stability and flexibility
- Metallic eyelets and closed lace hooks for increased strength
- Ball bearing at instep eyelet to prevent uncomfortable foot pressure
- Vibram Grivola rubber soles for increased traction in a variety of terrains and extra comfort over long periods of wear
- PP insole and breathable footbed for increased long-term comfort
- GORE-TEX and 200 grams of Thinsulate lining for optimal cold weather comfort without the bulk normally associated with such features
- AR670-1 compliant for wear with US Army Multicam & OCP uniforms
- AF36-2903 compliant for wear with US Air Force OCP uniform
Looks can be deceiving. Even the best-looking equipment can fail during the first use, so nothing is certain until proven under real-world conditions. So we took the T8 Extreme GTX tactical boots out of the box and into the wilderness for just such a test.
As stated above, these boots are impressive and do not lose any of their appeal after closer examination. But even though they looked the part, the boots still needed to be put through their paces. As these were not my first pair of Garmonts, my expectations were high, for both appearance and performance and performance.
One thing to point out is that the boots seem to run a bit narrow, which appears to be a common trait with Garmont products. This is especially true for the wider sizes. Perhaps it is a result of converting European shoe sizes for American buyers, or perhaps it is a side effect of the company’s construction and assembly of the boots. Regardless, if you are considering ordering a pair online and can’t first try on a pair at a traditional brick and mortar store, you should go up half a size from your usual size.
Once on, the T8 Extreme GTX feel more like a light hiking boots rather than full-height tactical boots. Even with the added insulation and thick rubber soles, they are surprisingly light and flexible. The insole and footbed design, coupled with the softer rubber soles, results in a sneaker-like feel. There is nothing of the harder, almost instant pressure you feel with many competitors’ tactical boots. Although it is still a good idea to break them in before full field wear, the boots are comfortable enough to take them straight out of the box on deployment.
One of the great features of Garmont boots, which is included in the T8 Extreme GTX, is the combination of closed lace hooks and flat laces. Although the trend appears to go toward paracord laces, the flat design allows for a more secure, slip-free fit and tighter knotting. Due to the all-metal eyelets, the laces slide effortlessly when you want them to, but otherwise, they stay in place. Another related feature is the ball-bearing lace hook at the instep position. Because this hook is located a little further back than normal, there might be concern when it comes to comfort, but that did not prove to be a problem. Although it did feel unnatural at first, it did not take long to grow accustomed to it and in the long run, it proved to be valuable.
As you put these boots through the paces, you will notice that the rubber soles are a hybrid of past T8 designs. The lug pattern is similar to the original BIFIDAs, with a chunky abstract pattern that provides excellent traction. The heel is also very pronounced, another feature shared with the BIFIDA, which helps you endure the strain of heavy loads and the pressure of standing for extended periods. In addition, the boot has the textured arch and smaller tread at the heel and toe areas, a feature shared with the NSF model. All in all, the combination proves effective in a variety of terrains. The boots are comfortable even after wearing them continuously for a long time.
Probably the biggest concern when it comes to cold-weather footwear is the issue of bulk. Adding insulation means adding material. This often results in loss of flexibility and the feeling that you are wearing boots that are too big. This is not the case with the T8 Extreme GTX. Thanks to an extensive diamond-stitch pattern used to secure the liner, the insulation goes almost unnoticed. There is hardly a difference between the Extreme GTX and similar uninsulated Garmont designs in terms of bulk or feel. If anything, the insulation feels like a little extra padding and contributes to the overall comfort on hikes.
Local weather during the test period was a combination of rain, rain, and more rain, with only a few stretches of dry weather mixed in. To make conditions as miserable as possible, those few days of sun were hotter than normal. These were not exactly optimal conditions for testing winter boots. Surprisingly, despite their intended use, the T8 Extreme GTX performed above average. The superior traction was a welcome feature when surrounded by mud and slick grass. The GORE-TEX was not needed for insulation, but it did its job when it came to keeping my feet dry. The Thinsulate was a bit warmer than needed, but not uncomfortable to the point where it became a problem. The suede and nylon uppers cleaned up well after being muddied and soiled, and the lug tread gripped tight but let go as you moved. There was no clumping of mud, so it didn’t track everywhere.
Who Should Buy the T8 Extreme GTX
The T8 Extreme GTX is a cold-weather boot. Despite its excellent performance during testing, they are not meant for everyday wear in warmer climates. If you are stationed or deploying to a warm climate, you would do better with different T8 boots. But if you will be facing cold, wet winter conditions on a regular basis during your deployment, this is the boot for you. They would be equally comfortable sitting at a desk or standing garrison duty, but they are best suited for when you need to spend your days on your feet outdoors.
While all T8 models are authorized for wear with the appropriate Army and Air Force uniforms, members of other branches should check with their command and review the appropriate regulations prior to purchase.
The T8 Extreme GTX tactical boots are built from quality materials. They are constructed to last and perform well in real-world conditions. Are they worth the investment? In short, yes.
U.S. Patriot Tactical is currently offering the T8 Extreme GTX for $189.99. That is $40 below the current MRSP. Even without this incredible deal, the T8 Extreme GTX is well worth the money. I have worn other Garmont models until the sole is smooth, and I have no doubt these boots will perform equally well.
Based on the features, construction, and performance, the T8 Extreme GTX 5 came close to getting 5 stars. Unfortunately, the lack of accurate US sizing means the rating drops down a bit. Additionally, there could be more reinforcement in the toe box and some padding in the calf and tongue areas. These are minor issues that do not impact the overall performance. But for a top-dollar price, you should not want for anything that is readily available in lesser competitor models.
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.