I’m excited to announce a new section of Hoopie World, Product Reviews. This section will be for unbiased, detailed product reviews for firefighting and emergency service products. There is a new tab Product Reviews in the top menu of the site, and here is a link to our Product Review Policies.
The first product that Hoopie World will be reviewing is the leather X-Boot, Stock #0911, made by Black Diamond Protective Equipment. This will be a two-part review, with this first part concentrating on details of the boots such as material, looks, comfort, and the second part will focus on field tests with the boots. The field tests will include testing the traction and tread in a variety of situations, climbing ladders, and comfort after wearing them for a long period of time.
During a quick search online, these boots can be found for sale for around $250.00. Some sites have them for more, some for less. I would suggest going to a local fire equipment and gear dealer and see what type of pricing they can get you.
Here is Black Diamond’s blurb on this boot:
The X-BOOT sets a new standard for fire boots – built for today’s firefighter, using proven shoemaking technologies and constructions. Utilizing proprietary materials, innovative thinking and input from firefighters, we built a better boot, a better way. In addition to meeting the NFPA standards, we meet the standards of firefighters who demand all-day comfort, support and protection. NFPA1971 Certified.
At first glance, these boots look like pretty standard firefighting bunker boots, with one difference of the loops at the top. The loops on the X-Boot are integrated with the boot so there aren’t external loop straps hanging off. I like the look of them, as they mix new technology with a traditional look.
The outer materials are a mix of fire-retardant leather and Black Diamond’s trademarked Crosstech fabric. The bottom of the boot actually has some descriptions in the different part of the treads which I’ll be giving a good workout to in the field test of this review in the coming week. The treads seem aggressive and deep, and I’m eager to see how the boot performs in slippery and muddy conditions.
I put these boots on expecting to be a little stiff and needing broken in. I was wrong, these boots fit like a pair of comfortable tennis shoes. I don’t wear Black Diamond boots at my station, and I do have leathers, so I have become used to having comfortable boots, but I know for a fact that I didn’t have the same reaction with my current boots that I had with these X-Boots. Black Diamond recently received a Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association that Hoopie World covered here, and I can see why. The support and comfort is immediately felt.
I’m interested to see if the initial comfort that I felt just putting the boots on and walking around will last after wearing the boots for a while. Like previously mentioned, I will be putting these boots through a field test in the upcoming week and reporting back.
For the readers who want some technical information, here are the product specs from Black Diamond’s website:
Comfort System : Comfort Fit Plus – with Enersole
Boot Height : 14 inches
Leather Upper : Firetuff Leather(TM) with Fusion Fabric
3-Point Heel Lock System : Exclusive 3-Point Heel Lock
Lining : Crosstech(TM) Fabric with Omaha Lining
Kevlar Lining : Kevlar Line for Protection
Insulation : Standard
Tibia Protection : Padded Shin-Guard Protection & Comfort
Toe Cap Protection : Rubber Toe Cap for High-Abrasion
Steel Toe : Hi 500, Meets or Exceeds ASTM Standards
Steel Midsole : Stainless Steel
Steel Shank : Ridge Steel
Outsole : Rubber Comfort Cup Sole with Comfort Flex, High-Abrasion and Traction Performance
Footbed : 3-Density Removable PU Orthotic Footbed
Pull-On System : Integrated Pull-On System
Certification : NFPA1971 Edition
So in conclusion of the first part of this review on the Black Diamond Leather Fire X-Boot, they pass the test. I like the look and I was blown away by the comfort of these things. Again, it was like I slipped a pair of comfortable tennis shoes on.
I will be putting these boots through the test in the upcoming week, wearing them in a variety of situations from climbing ladders, to working in the mud, to whatever else may come up this week. I will report back here and write a formal summary and conclusion including a pros and cons list.
I can’t wait to get off this computer and go out and test these boots.
To be continued . . .