Ask nearly anyone in law enforcement if they’ve heard of the Timberland line of footwear and the answer would be a resounding yes. Timberland began making footwear in the early 1950’s but, in 1973, the Swartz family, who owned the business, created its first waterproof boot called the Timberland. That boot was wildly successful- so much so that the family changed the name of the company to the Timberland Company in 1978.
Fast forward to 1999; the Timberland PRO series was introduced to meet the needs of professional tradesmen. Their philosophy was, and continues to be, to study the needs of those who work in the most demanding environments and then develop a product that meets those needs. The Timberland PRO Valor series is designed to provide first responders with boots built with safety and performance in mind.
I tested the Timberland PRO Valor Duty 6” waterproof soft toe side-zip boot to see how it measures up and this is what I found:
The boots I tested were shipped to me and the first thing I noticed was how lightweight they were. I had to shake the shipping box to make sure there was something inside. At that point, I knew we were off to a good start.
Timberland introduced anti-fatigue technology in their work boots in 2007 and they back it with a 30 day comfort guarantee. Straight out of the box, I found these boots comfortable. They have a hug-your-feet feel that is neither too tight nor too loose. The size ran true so no adjustment should be needed if ordering online.
I’m rather picky about boot comfort. I spend too many hours in boots and if a company wants my money, then they need to hold up their end of the bargain…make a comfortable boot. Timberland did not let me down in this category.
I found no areas that caused discomfort to any area of my feet or ankles. After hours of wear, my feet were dry, comfortably warm, and not achy. These boots provided ample arch support and cushioning for the entire foot. Frankly, they were more comfortable than several pairs of running shoes I own.
Much of the comfort comes from the insert. The top of the insert is covered in fabric but the magic is from the bottom part of the insert. The area is covered in what looks like orange Cheerios that range from about 1/8” thickness at the toe area to about 3/8” at the heel where more cushioning is needed.
The toe box area allowed plenty of wiggle room for the toes without giving the boot a clown-like appearance. Padding inside the boot protected bony areas of the foot and ankles from uncomfortable rubbing while a leather band that continues up from the heel area to around the top of the ankle provides ankle support without restricting movement.
The Timberland PRO Valor Duty boot has an eye-pleasing symmetry, with an appealing blend of tactical roughness and professional sleekness that would allow it to be worn in a variety of settings.
The boot upper consists of mesh fabric and premium waterproof leather. Being a soft toe boot prevents the boot from being polished to a mirror finish but one coat of polish did an impressive job of shining the boot to a normal-wear level as shown in the picture on the right. The leather is smooth, without deep pores that would make shining them difficult.
The boot measure 6” from the bottom heel to the top back of the boot. The back slopes down slightly which accommodates the calf muscle nicely.
The parachute cord type laces are looped through eight eyelets. The lower eyelets are standard round metal holes, the middle four eyelets are leather straps that provide a wider area for the laces and lessens the amount of pressure the lace puts on the top of the foot. If you’ve ever had your foot go numb from top laces, you’ll appreciate that feature. The top eyelets are protruding metal that make lacing the top area a breeze.
Since this boot comes with a zipper, tying laces should be fairly rare. I’m a huge fan of zippers on boots. Not only does it save the monotony of tying boots all the time, it also allows you to find the perfect ‘setting’ for the laces and knot them into place permanently.
The sturdy 5” zipper in covered at the top with a zip-locker that prevents the zipper from being accidentally unzipped. The inside membrane of the boot continues across the zippered area to lock out wetness and keep your feet dry.
A strap at the back of the boot allows you to pull the boot on with ease. But, it is also the one feature that should be reworked. The strap faces upward which causes your pant leg to get caught on it. I found I had to do a shake-stomp on each leg anytime I got out of the car. The strap should either be removed altogether or sewn on in a downward facing manner so a pant leg doesn’t get stuck on it.
The sole of a tactical boot is one of the most important features, yet it is often overlooked by both manufacturers and consumers alike. The sole on the Valor Duty is a heat resistant lightweight rubber that is designed to be non-marking, slip resistant, abrasion, and oil resistant. The sole tread is composed of squares of material that allows the boot to move and flex in all positions, providing the boot with athletic performance not found in many tactical boots.
A tread ridge at both the toe and heel of the boot sole allows you to maintain traction when climbing and descending obstacles. The sole extends up the boot at the toe about 1 ½”. It is smooth which means you’re less likely to trip if you drag your feet slightly. However, I would prefer this area to have ridged tread like the heel area does. The heel area tread extends up the boot right at 2 /1/2” which will help keep you sure-footed when descending obstacles. The arch area of the sole has ridges to provide traction on ladders.
Stealth performance is extremely important for any boot worn by law enforcement. The last thing you need is for your boots to squeak as you clear a building after coming in out of the rain. I tested this boot, both wet and dry, on commercial tile and ceramic tile. The boot did not squeak at all on either surface. It also maintained a respectable level of slip resistance.
The Valor Duty boot has a rather long list of features that are of significant value, such as:
Electrical hazard protection: Meets certain footwear standards to provide protection from open circuits.
Blood-borne pathogen protection: Meets certain safety standards by providing a breathable membrane which helps protect the wearer from diseases caused by blood-borne pathogens.
Water-impermeable membrane: While testing this boot, I walked in the rain and my feet stayed dry. But, that did not seem like a good enough test so I stood in a bucket of water that measured three inches deep. I swished the water around continuously ensuring that water would cover the zipper, laces, and fabric parts of the boot. The boot was immersed in water for five full minutes (while I ate a dark chocolate truffle). Not a drop of water ended up in the boot. Impressive.
Anti-microbial odor control: This part is promised by Timberland. I tested the boot in temperatures ranging from 45 degrees to 75 degrees and my feet stayed warm without sweating. No foot or boot odor was noted at the end of each wear.
Scotchgard protected: Provides additional protection to keep the boot clean and looking good longer.
Whenever possible, I prefer to buy from businesses that work to make the planet better in a variety of ways. Timberland strives to be an industry leader in the use of both sustainable and recycled materials in its footwear, as well as its footwear packaging. In each box, Timberland provides what they refer to as a nutrition label that shows their environmental footprint.
In the box I received, the nutrition label showed the following footprint:
- Renewable energy 15%
- PVC-free footwear 94.7%
- Recycled, organic or renewable materials 59.2%
- Trees planted by Timberland from 2000-2011 – 557,721 (that’s a lot of trees!)
And, of course, the box and inside wrap was made with 100% recycled material and printed with soy and water-based inks. The Timberland Company believes in corporate responsibility and supports numerous civic and social projects throughout the year.
The Timberland PRO Valor Duty 6” waterproof soft toe side-zip boot exceeded my expectations in nearly every way. It is clear that earnest thought and consideration went into the design of this boot. Only two design elements were less than desirable for me; the upward facing rear pull tab and a lack of treads on the toe rubber to allow for more grip when climbing. Beyond that, I wouldn’t change a thing. Timberland has earned a standing ovation.
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.
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