Product Review: Blauer “Clash” Duty Boots

We were recently approached about wear testing Blauer’s new “Clash” duty boot.  I spend a lot of time in duty boots and put my boots through a lot.  Therefore, I expect a lot from my boots and was happy to try them out and share my thoughts.

Between work, teaching for the state fire academy and SAFE Firefighter, I am in duty boots more than most people. On a typical duty day, I’ll be in boots from about 0630 to roughly 2300 or so.  Whether I’m on duty, teaching classes or getting ready for classes I subject boots from anything from the daily firehouse routine, EMS runs, equipment maintenance, preplans and hydrant maintenance to inspection formations with recruits and classroom presentations in a professional setting.  Also, living in South Carolina, I need boots that will be comfortable all-day long when it’s 90+ degrees with high humidity.  Therefore, I look for the following characteristics in work boots:

  • General appearance and ability to polish
  • Fit for my strange feet
  • Comfort over time

General Appearance

When I took my Blauer Clash 6″ boots out of the box, my first impression was that they looked stylish yet “clean”.  The uppers are leather and suede with nylon mesh on the side to provide breathability.  A lot “athletic fit” and/or “lightweight” boots tend to look less like boots and more like tennis shoes.  I consider myself to be a little “old school” and prefer more traditional style duty boots.  The clash boots have a modern overall appearance but are not over the top with the designs.  I found them to be appropriately stylish and professional looking when wearing them with either BDU style or traditional style duty pants.

The Blauer Clash 6″ Boot is supposed to have a polishable leather toe.  Normally I won’t buy boots unless I can polish them.  Once I have them I put polish on them almost immediately to help with the break-in period.  However, for the sake of wear testing, I waited to polish these boots for a couple days and wore them right out of the box.  I was expecting stiffness and blisters but did not experience either.  The boots seemed to break in easily with little work and no polish.  There was some break-in, but not as long a pair of all-leather boots.

However, as someone who inspects the polish and shine of Recruits’ boots, I started getting antsy so I put 3 coats of polish on them the third day.  That’s the only polish I’ve put on them throughout the test so that I could see how they held a shine.  Even though Blauer’s website only noted that the toes were polishable, I went ahead and polished all of the leather just for kicks.  In general, they polished up well.  I did note that, where the toes break when stepping, the polish did not seem to hold polish well.  However, the rest of the toe and leather on the uppers held their shine well.  One tip would be to use light coats of polish rather than go heavy (like you might with an all leather upper) and make sure that the polish has plenty of time to set up.  The polish on one of the boots was a little heavier and me a little trouble when it started flaking off (Nothing a little extra time couldn’t fix).

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The soles are a wrap around molded “athletic” style.  Typically, this is not my particular favorite however with the Clash it doesn’t seem to bother me.  They feel solid but not stiff.  They are not loud when you walk, in fact they’re very quiet. Grip also is fine with wet floors, rain and/or puddles not being an issue at all.

Clash Pic 2  FW016_gallery_1

 

 

 

 

 

Fit for my Strange Feet & Comfort Over Time

My feet are very wide in the forefoot, narrow in the heel and I have an extremely high arch.  This typically makes finding shoes and boots a nightmare and was an immediate concern when approached about this wear test.  Typically, I don’t ever buy footwear that I cannot try on first but I accepted it as part of the overall evaluation of this boot.  As mentioned above, out of the box the Clash boots fit well and were comfortable.  Throughout the wear test there were no pressure points, no blisters and no “hot spots”.

FW016_gallery_6One of the unique features of the Clash is the BOA LACING SYSTEM which is also available in other outdoor athletic footwear.  It utilizes cable laces attached to a ratcheting knob to tighten the boots.  At first I was skeptical, however, it’s a really awesome lacing system and I kind of wish I could get it in all my boots.  It far surpasses any kind of zippers whether side zip or lace-in (my other duty boots are 8″ Pro Warrington Station Boots with lace-in zippers).  Admittedly, I cannot attest to their durability yet, but I have goofed around with them a lot and have not seen a problem yet.  Everyone that has seen it has been impressed with it (I’ll try to get a video on this post ASAP).  The only thing to watch out for is making sure you can get the forefoot tight enough.  The ratchet pulls from the top of the tongue.  If you don’t periodically pull the slack out bottom portions of the “laces”, you may end up with a slightly loose fit (though its easily fixable).

 

Lastly, I mentioned that I also have a very high arch.  This is another thing that my orthotics help with that I did not have for these boots.  What I found was that, for normal use, these boots were great for me.  The only time I started having any discomfort was in the arches of my feet at the end of long days on the concrete training pad or classroom.  While I consider this to be more of a personal problem than an issue with the boots, it may indicate that the natural foot type ideal for this boot are flat footed or neutral footed people.  However, this is also easily fixable with either orthotics or over-the-counter insoles.  Despite this, I would still wear them as an everyday boot.

Overall Impression

During the wear test the Blauer Clash 6″ Boots have become a welcome addition to my boot selection.  They have proven their comfort I enjoy wearing them.  Plus the BOA lacing system is awesome for firefighters who need to get their boots off quickly.  They are very light weight yet feel durable and reliable.  The leather, suede and nylon uppers are stylishly professional, polishable and breathable.  This is good news for those of us baking in the Southern summer heat.  The outsoles are athletic, sleek and provide a solid walking surface that holds up well in damp environments.  The overall fit of the boot seems that it would be comfortable to a wide range of foot types and could easily be fine tuned with over-the-counter insole options.  With such a wide variety of benefits, features and options, I would recommend the Blauer Clash Boots to anyone looking for a quality pair of duty boots that are comfortable, modern and professional.

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