REVIEW: Rocky C5C Boot

US Patriot has a lot of people looking for an in-depth Rocky C5C boot review, so they recently shipped me a pair to use and abuse. The Rocky C5C boot is a lightweight, comfortable boot that isArmy uniform regulation-compliant and GSA approved. This boot is basically an upgraded Rocky C4T Trainer. It maintains many of the features of the C4T Trainer but with some welcomed upgrades.

Rocky in Brief

Rocky Boots has been manufacturing rugged footwear since 1932. The Nelsonville, Ohio, boot manufacture is known for making boots that can conquer the most rugged of terrains while keeping your feet comfortable at the same time. They offer a wide variety of outdoor, work, western and duty footwear for men, women and children.

In regards to the military side of things, Rocky has done a fantastic job of getting their product into the hands of our service men and women.

Rocky C5C Boot Review: Specs

The C5Cs are currently only available in desert tan and feature leather and Cordura construction for a tough, long lasting boot. The eight inch upper has been fitted with speed laces and NATO hooks for fast secure lacing. The laces are made of 550 paracord for long lasting performance. The tongue is constructed of soft, perforated leather to aid in ventilating the foot and drying the boot. At the top of the boot there is a triple stitched padded collar. This provides more comfort for the calf and shin.

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On both sides of the boot there are ventilation ports. These ports consist of eight perforations that are screened to allow proper airflow while keeping larger debris out of the boot. They also help the boot to dry very quickly. The insole of the boot feature Rocky’s Airport Footbed. This is a thick padded insole that is extremely comfortable and is 4mm thicker that the traditional DOD footbed. At the heel it stands an inch high, providing extra padding for heel strikes. The insole is removable for cleaning.

A new key upgrade from the C4T boot is the new all rubber aggressive lug outsoles. The perimeter lugs are large for aggressive traction while the interior tread is a smaller, alternating saw tooth pattern. This allows the tread to be somewhat of a self-cleaning system. The toe and the heel are a smaller, gill-like pattern for scaling and descending steep grades. The toe outsole wraps up in front of the boot providing protection from hard impacts to the toe. It is also sewn on to the boot to prevent the sole from separating from the boot over time. The heel outsole also wraps over the back of the foot and extends up, providing added protection for heel strikes and impacts. It also has the additional benefit of added support when removing the boot with the opposite foot.

Rocky C5C Boot Review

Comfort and Performance

The C5C seemed to be made for my feet. The first thing I noticed was the durable construction. While they are a lightweight, warm-weather boot, they didn’t feel flimsy. They look and feel well made. I liked the look and feel of the genuine leather construction. The sizing seemed true and they provided enough room for my toes to move without feeling too snug, yet they weren’t loose enough so that my feet slid around. If you plan on wearing thicker hiking socks, going a half size larger may be a good idea. Getting the boots on, while not terribly difficult, could have been made easier by a rear ankle pull or loop. Once on, the boot laced up easily. The lace eyelets are made of metal and allow the laces to quickly and securely cinch up. I really appreciated the 550 cord laces. During my time in the service, I always replaced my op footwear laces with 550 cord as it is much more durable than traditional laces and it can be used for many other uses other than lacing a boot. It is nice to see that Rocky has come to the same conclusion.

Wearing C5Cs was a pleasure. I wore mine continuously for two weeks straight for just about everything. There was no break-in period as one was not needed. They were comfortable at the office, in the home and in the field. The boot hugs the foot without being too overbearing and the lightweight, flexible nature of the boot is reminiscent of an athletic shoe. Even though the soles have aggressive tread, Rocky did a great job making sure they were flexible. They provided eight distinct breaks in the tread pattern in the lateral direction that really allows the boot to flex and bend the entire length of the outsole. The rubber sole is very flexible and soft making it also ideal for hard surface performance as it does a great job “sticking” to the pavement. This isn’t always the case with aggressive treads. Upon closer examination, the larger perimeter lugs have smaller “Y” shaped micro treads on them which help provide the “sticky” traction on hardpack and pavement.

In the Field

Outside, the boots performed well. I wore them on a wide variety of surfaces in different weather. The temp this time of year hovers in the low to mid 40’s which must feel like a heatwave compared to many other parts of the country.


Finding dry ground in the middle of winter in the Pacific Northwest can be challenging; however, during a break in the rain, I managed to scrounge some up. On dry pavement, the C5C’s exhibited extra grip and really grabbed ahold, allowing for sharp turns, stops and takeoffs. Traction on the wet pavement was less impressive but still satisfactory.


There are a lot of steep, urban and rural hills in my neck of the woods and I took the time to trek up the steepest I could find. During this excursion, the pavement was wet and it was very humid out as it had just rained. The boots stayed on my feet and my heel didn’t lift up in the boot even on the steepest grades. Traction was good. Even though I was moving at a fairly brisk pace, I made sure to firmly plant my feet before taking the next step. If I moved too quickly, the boots would slip a little. There came a point where the entire grade was covered in moss as the hill was always in the shade. I took extra caution and managed to make it to the top without twisting an ankle. The boots grabbed the soft, slick moss better than I expected.

I had climbed around 350 feet in altitude fairly quickly. The path soon transitioned to dirt and gravel and began to descend. The aggressive tread really felt great on the path. Even though it was wet out, and the path was soft, it wasn’t mud, at least not yet. The oversized heel tread was a welcomed asset during the trail decent.

”They are so lightweight and comfortable I forgot they were boots.” I also took the opportunity to do a little trail running. These boots felt great. They are so lightweight and comfortable I forgot they were boots. I never slipped on the trail once during the decent. A portion of the hill consists of stairs which are made up of wooden railroad tie-treads. The wood can be very slick when wet. I took great care to watch my footing and avoided any twisted ankles. I only had one mishap… I ended up in some fairly deep mud at the very bottom of the trail and it was there that I almost lost my footing. I don’t think any tread pattern would have worked in that condition as the mud just flowed into the treads, filling them up and rendering them useless.

After I recovered and made it back to the hardpack, I noticed the treads were fairly clean even after my romp through the mud. I think this was due to the alternating pattern of the tread at the center of the insole. I do wonder how denser, tackier clay would have affected the tread and if it would have come off so easily. Regardless, the boot’s tread was fairly clear and I was able to continue my run on pavement. The thick padded insole and soft rubber tread really made running comfortable.

Climate Control

One important thing to note is my feet stayed dry and fairly warm. This surprised me. These are warm-weather boots and it is very obvious they aren’t waterproof. However, they have enough water resistance to keep your feet dry on wet trails, at least for a period of time. Just don’t go wading in them.

Rocky C5C Boot Review: Summary

Back at home base, I was able to more closely examine the boot. They held up well. I did notice a little balding on the edges of the larger lugs. Some of the micro treads was beginning to wear off. I am sure the pavement on the soft rubber tread was the culprit. Other than that they were no worse for wear. Overall I am impressed with the C5C. They look great, are well built and comfortable. I plan to continue to wear these boots and see how they hold up. I have high hopes!


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