The best boots I’ve ever bought.

I invested in my first pair of Size 13 Oakley SI 6” Assault Boots about 7 years back, and have barely worn anything else on my feet the entire time since (beyond formal shoes and very occasionally my Nike trainers).

Oakley SI 6" Assault Boots

I live in these boots, and love them to pieces… literally. I’m on my fourth and fifth pair now, having gone all the way from Gen 1 to Gen 3 over the years and seeing the changes in structure, materials, laces and layout. But the quality and comfort have remained largely consistent. For me the ideal piece of clothing or gear is the one you’re never aware of wearing. Particularly for me being a tall guy with massive feet, I’ve always found most clothes or kit chafe somewhere, or pinch, or give blisters. That’s why I was overjoyed when I tried Oakleys for the first time and felt like I was walking on clouds after years of enduring my RAF issue boots in the air cadets, tighter Berghaus walking boots (which I’ve barely worn since I got these Oakleys instead, and have been neglected in near mint condition!).

They don’t feel tight across the sides of my broad feet, or pinch the toes across the length, or press on the top or underside of the bridge, and more importantly they always support my ankles… which I screwed up a bit with 4 years of TaeKwonDo and the related loosening of my various joints! They’re just bloody comfortable to the point where I basically never wear anything else and love walking in them due to the fact I forget I have them on, up hill, down dale, day in day out, city or country, everywhere I’ve been in the world, I’ve been wearing these glorious Oakleys, and extolled their virtues to everyone I’ve met along the way.

Their design has changed over the years, as apparently THE choice of genuine Operators the world over (especially in the US) they are always in high demand and have obviously had a lot of use and end user feedback driving their development. My first pair finally gave up the ghost at my first Copehill Down weekender with Brit Tac; the right one’s sole finally peeled away due to wear and tear, as they only used to be glued on. The Vibram soles are very hard wearing, but everything has its limit and I’d literally worn them until they were worn down to slicks - God knows how many thousand miles they’d endured. I had to try and glue and duct tape the sole back on to finish the game and limp home, before getting my second and third pairs (I decided to get a Black and Khaki pair the next two purchases, to go with a wider variety of trousers and outfits).

Oakley SI 6" Assault Boots Oakley SI 6" Assault Boots

One thing I noticed over the next 2 generations was a thinning of the laces, as the original chunkier fluffier ones tended to wear more on the islets and fray as a result, the newer ones are far more resilient, if a little more abrasive to your fingertips when tightening them up. The other main change is the use of stitching on the Vibram soles; now they are continuously stitched circumferentially instead of just glued to the bottom of the fabric upper boot. This has vastly improved the durability of the boots, although the only downside seems to be that the inside of the heels now wear through faster as a result of the increased overall rigidity of the boot making the heel move more and wear more… this burnt through a few pairs of my socks, including the very comfortable - if a little overpriced - 5.11 Tactical Socks with their supposedly reinforced heel sections, before the boot inners themselves wore through to the harder substructure.

Oakley SI 6" Assault Boots

This wearing of the heels, coupled with the soles being made slick again by my walking, made me purchase the next two pairs.

Oakley SI 6" Assault Boots

The only downside I can see is this shifting of the wear towards the inner heel having fixed the problem of the outer heel and laces. Hopefully when I again wear the fourth and fifth pair out the even newer generation Oakleys will have solved this issue.