When I heard I was going to receive a pair of Timberland boots for review, I must admit I was a bit concerned. Timberland is well known for making high-quality boots, and I have owned several pair over the years. But, although all of the Timberland boots I have owned performed flawlessly for many years, none were designed to be duty gear. Plus, I am very particular when it comes to my professional wear- boots, clothing and even sunglasses need to be the best available, even if it means paying a bit more.
So, how did this maker of excellent hiking and work boots do when it comes to providing high-quality footwear to law enforcement officers, EMS, and other public service professionals? Well, you’ll just have to read my review to find out.
Out of the Box Comfort
One of the first tests for any footwear I purchase is what I call the “out of the box test.” Simply put, this means “How do they feel straight out of the box?” I understand that every pair of boots requires a certain break-in period, during which they conform to your foot, stretch and work out the “new boot” kinks. But, if they do not feel good out of the box, I usually am not willing to wait – I send them back.
The Timberland Pro Valor 8” Duty Composite Safety Toe (CT) Waterproof (WP) Side-Zip did more than survive my Out of the Box test, they established a new grading curve. Weighing in at just over 1 lb. each (1 lb. 4 oz.), these boots lacked one thing and it was that awkward feeling that many boots have the first time you wear them – like you are wearing the boxes instead. Even my favorite duty boots are a bit clunky when I first put them on, so this is not always a deal breaker, but with the Timberland Pro Valor it was not even an issue. Next, I noticed that there was very little pinching or binding as I adjusted the laces. Good fit across the toe box and excellent flexibility in the ankles- key issues if you are going to avoid spending the first week walking around the living room instead of your regular beat. The addition of the side zipper meant that once I had the laces adjusted for the best fit I never had to worry about it again. Just unzip, take off and I was ready to go the next morning. Finally, there was the collar. Again, no binding or rubbing as I took my first steps- due in great part to the sloped design of the collar itself. They passed the Out of the Box test.
So the Timberland Pro Valor passed the first test, but would they last? After all, even though I am willing to pay a little bit extra for a pair of quality footwear, I expect to get my money’s worth. More importantly, I expect to get a pair of boots that are not only comfortable but built to last under any conditions. Rugged terrain is a daily part of my patrols, including exposure to harsh conditions. Water, mud, rocky terrain and a whole host of other boot-destroying obstacles are commonplace and not the exception.
A thorough examination of the Timberland Pro Valor proved that they are designed to thrive in the harshest of conditions. A combination of leather and textile uppers provides the perfect mixture of rugged protection and needed flexibility. The waterproof membrane will keep your feet dry from the toes up. Even with the leak-prone side-zipper, I was able to not only move through water but stand in it without fear of having wet, cold feet the rest of the day. The cement construction not only reduced the typical break in period but also increased flexibility and waterproof capability – no need to treat seams here. The speed lace system, a combination of leather and polycarbonate loops, provided quick donning and even lace pressure from toe to the collar while the laces themselves are a durable parachute cord design. The slip resistant rubber sole provided the traction needed to safely cross everything from wet parking lots to mud covered stream banks with ease. Meanwhile, the unique lug design did not fill with dirt or debris, something that not only reduces your tractions but adds unwanted weight. Again, despite trying my best, I could not find any fault with this pair of boots.
Finally, there is the issue of protection. Duty gear can be the most comfortable and well-constructed piece of equipment you’ve ever owned- but if it does not offer the protection needed you might as well save it for doing the yard work. Timberland has provided top of the line protection when it comes to many of the areas unique to public safety.
- Blood Pathogen Protection – ASTM level protection from blood pathogens; this is something every public safety wearer needs to consider on an almost-daily basis.
- Electrical Hazard Protection – ASTM level protection from open electrical circuits, due in part to the rubber outer sole.
- Impact and Compression Protection – No boot is crush proof, but the Pro Valor does offer ASTM level protection in both impact and compression without compromising comfort in the toe box.
- AGION Antimicrobial Technology – wearing boots for 8+ hours per shift can cause some serious issues when it comes to sweat and associated odors. Not so with the Timberland Pro Valor. These boots were designed with the working person in mind, and the inclusion of this antimicrobial technology helps ensure that your boots will be as fresh as they are comfortable day after day.
- Anti-Fatigue Technology – the molded EVA midsole, fiberglass shank, and contoured open-cell footbed may seem like small details until you find yourself standing post or walking a beat for a living. When this happens, it becomes as much about survival as comfort. There is no doubt these boots were designed to provide all day comfort.
- Vibram Outsole – not only does the aggressive traction provide excellent slip protection, but they are also resistant to oil, heat, and abrasion. While the cement construction means the sole cannot be readily replaced, it is unlikely these soles will wear out before the boots themselves are ready for retirement.
As I said in the beginning, I was a bit concerned about testing a pair of boots by what I consider a non-traditional duty gear manufacturer. But, I will be the first to admit that my concerns were misplaced and certainly not deserved. Timberland has proven that their decades of manufacturing quality work and hiking footwear has prepared them well for the public safety market. If you are searching for boots that will provide day-long comfort as well as protection from the hazards we face on a daily basis and are ready to do so straight out of the box, then look no further. You will do well to consider the Timberland Pro Valor 8” CT WP Side-Zip Duty Boot. If you find that you do not agree, don’t worry – Timberland offers a 30 Day Comfort Guarantee.
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.