Lightweight, extremely breathable and durably waterproof desert boot demonstrates its value in a user trial
NUREMBERG (March 3, 2017) – With its Patrol GORE-TEX® Extended Comfort Footwear, W. L. Gore & Associates (Gore) offers its footwear partners a first-of-a-kind solution for a lightweight, extremely breathable and durably waterproof duty boot specifically engineered for use in hot-dry and hot-humid climates. A full-scale user trial has now confirmed that the footwear concept performs well in active use. Trial participants stated that the temperature inside the boots was pleasant and the heat release characteristics were excellent. The boots were also quick to dry and offered reliable protection against sand, dust and water entry.
Exceptional breathability and outstanding heat release characteristics
The Patrol GORE-TEX® Extended Comfort Footwear line was developed for patrols with a lighter load, combat in urban environments, and low to medium liability combat operations. At the core of the desert boot is the Patrol GORE-TEX® Extended Comfort Laminate that comes without insulation. This laminate delivers exceptional breathability and outstanding heat release characteristics, reliably preventing the foot from overheating. At the same time the laminate creates a durable barrier against water entry whilst offering protection against sand and dust as well as preventing penetration by undesirable liquids and commonly occurring chemicals. This is the first-of-a-kind and quite different to the desert boots worn by the armed forces until now. Thin materials and limited use of foam layers facilitate the heat release process. The single-layer boot construction allows for a low water pick-up of the outer material and extremely quick re-dry paired with less weight.
User trial in hot weather
From July to November of 2016, the Patrol GORE-TEX® Extended Comfort Footwear was tested in a full-scale wear trial conducted by Gore, footwear partner Meindl and market research agency HYVE. 48 soldiers from Germany, Switzerland and Austria tested Meindl’s Equator Alpha GTX® duty boot over a period of 10 to 16 weeks. The majority of the trial participants wore the boots for more than six hours a day in easy terrain, sandy and dusty environments, standing water and other liquids. The bulk of their activities were conducted over level terrain in warm weather and involved moderate exercise – i.e. marches, combat training, shooting drills or indoor duties. Most of the soldiers were stationed in Central Europe, however, eleven were in Africa, Afghanistan, the Near East and Kosovo.
During the extensive feedback process, the trial participants were overwhelmingly positive in their assessment of the test boots. “The boots are ideal for their intended use. I’m thrilled with the high climate comfort factor and the breathability,” said one of the test participants. The majority of the participants said that they sweated far less in the trial boots than in the boots they had worn in the past. This was almost unanimously confirmed by the soldiers who were stationed in extremely hot climates. 75 percent said that up to 35°C they felt that the temperature inside the test boots was still pleasant. 80 percent stated that the heat release properties were good or even very good while 87 percent said the same about the re-dry properties – and confirmed that in this respect the trial boots possessed better characteristics than the boots they had worn in the past. One of the soldiers even described the highly breathable boots as “heat specialists”
The GORE-TEX® boots also scored high when it came to their protective performance. The vast majority of the trial participants were satisfied with the protection the boots provided against sand and dust. This feature was certainly of great significance for the test persons. Half of the wearers said that during military operations they often, or even frequently, came into contact with sand and dust. They were also positive in their evaluation of the waterproofness of the test boots – their experiences involving exposure to sewage and commonly occurring chemicals will certainly have fostered this attitude.
The desert boots scored additional bonus points for their high comfort factor. 91 percent of the soldiers were favourably impressed by the weight of the boots, particularly when compared with the footwear they had worn in the past. The boots also made an impression on the trial participants with their walking comfort, running comfort, fit and durability.
The specialist for hot-dry and hot-humid climates
At the end of the trial and after several months of wearing the boots, more than two thirds of the participants said that they would recommend Meindl’s GORE-TEX® Equator Alpha GTX. They particularly recommended that the boots be worn in hot-dry and hot-humid climates. The approval rates were significantly higher in the case of soldiers who had tested the boots in extremely hot climates. “In view of their light weight and really good membrane, the boots are highly suitable for the intended uses,” said one of the trial participants.
For the conditions found in warmer and even hot climates, Gore offers two other solutions that are specifically engineered to meet the exact requirements of soldiers operating in these scenarios: Tactical GORE-TEX® Extended Comfort Footwear and High Liability GORE-TEX® Extended Comfort Footwear.