Have you ever thought to yourself why are my boots so damn warm or in the extreme case wake up to a layer of salt formed on your boots because of the sweat from the day before. Well Bates has their answer for you. This answer comes in the C3 line. The boot does this by having an insole with holes in it and vents at the side of the outsole.
-Keeps your feet free from perspiration
-Out of the box fit with little to no break in
-Boot does a good job of separating your foot from the water in small puddles
-Toe area does not have a wear resistant covering which allows for polishing
-Insole may cause some discomfort if you wear thin socks due to the holes
-The square holes can possibly cause rips like I had on mine
Initial Wear Period
Having had many boots make their way onto my feet it’s nice to have another option for a breathable boot outside of my various desert boots. I originally saw the Bates C3 boots at SHOT 2010 and was instantly intrigued. My feet can sweat thinking about work (not really it just sounded funny) and these seemed like a good option. When the box arrived I eagerly looked the boots over again to see if anything had changed from the display I saw at SHOT. Much to my pleasure everything was in its place and there were no surprises. I opted for the 8″ side zip model over the 6″ non side zip ones because it is the easiest to put on and take off. That and I can wear them while in uniform. The zipper is great when you’re running weird hours and are all sleep fucked because tying your laces then can be a chore. I had a good experience with my previous Bates side zip boots and was not worried about these letting me down. I must state here that these boots were designed with the police force in mind and not the military. I used these at my job but when they were used in the field I wasn’t slogging around through mud I was mostly standing around or did the occasional ruck in them.
After checking them over I popped my new boots on and went for a quick wander. At the time I was only wearing thin liner socks and the holes in the insoles felt a bit uncomfortable. This is due to the lower surface area of the boots insole. The holes in the boots remove area you would normally be standing on. It is kind of like a bed of nails one would puncture your back but hundreds wont. I am in no way saying these feel like a bed of nails it’s just a different feeling.
I went back to my room and put on a set of hiking socks and the holes in the soles were there but not an issue. After realizing how comfortable these boots were I decided to wear them for my ruck march later in the week. I did not bother to break them in much more then that other than to wear to work at my desk. After the ruck I was surprised at how little sweat my feet had on them. I could continue to wear the socks I was wearing for the remainder of the day with no worry. I was also surprised at how light these boots were. It’s been a few months of decent wear now and my only issue is a tear forming at the back left of my left boot from the vent hole. This might be cause by the right angle of the hole which can create a stress point. As it has not been repeated on any of the other holes I may have just caught my boot on something. I figured it was worth noting and if this has happened to you please let me know by going to the contact page. I let Bates know and they have advised the design team.
The C3 is made of the normal quality parts you have come to expect to find from Bates. The inside of the boot is a padded mesh to aide in pulling the moisture away from your lower leg and foot. This combined with the perforated mesh covered insole keeps your feet dry and in the fight even in the rising temperature. For every square inch on the insole there is nine vent holes. The other great feature of the insole is that it has a different material in the arch and heel to help remove under and over pronation. If you looked at my SHOT coverage this year you can see the new stability control system Bates is introducing called ICS. The only thing I would change on the insole is to have smaller holes but increase the amount of them. It would allow a more natural feel to the insole if using thinner socks.
The laces have three speed hooks at the top followed by five grommets underneath them on each side. Personally I did not really see a need for the speedhooks at the top as most people will not bother with the laces. I managed to bump the lace out of the speedhook and was wondering why the top was loose. I did this while putting the boot on and not while wearing the boots. The zipper section of the boots has yet to fail me. It zips up very easy and uses a quality YKK zipper. At the top of the boot there is a Velcro zipper cover with the Bates logo on it. The zipper is to the inside of the boots so you do not have to worry about things brushing up against the zipper too much. The main body of the boot is made of booth leather and ballistic nylon. If you are looking for a plain toe that is polish able for uniform wear you’re in luck. The outsole of the boot is made by Bates with the C3 (cross channel circulation). The sole provides good grip on the various surfaces a police officer will find themselves and do not squeak violently on tile floor when wet.
The sides of the outsole on either side have six holes for ventilation with a plastic mesh inside to stop debris from getting in. The vent holes have been the only issue that I have had with the boot and it has not spread or worsened with wear. It could be an isolated case as Bates has heard nothing of this so far. My boot must have been in the wrong place at the wrong time.
If you are a police officer or another profession that won’t be dancing in mud all day long then these boots are right up your alley. These are better suited for warmer climates but I even wore mine in the winter with no ill effects. The side zip is also a nice feature if you ever injure your ankle because they might not have to cut your boot off. All in all I am pleased with these boots and a little shoe goo should fix my tear just fine. I look forward to the warmer climates to return so I can continue to not have stinky wet feet at the end of the day.