Impact II 8-in. Lace-Up Boots
An excellent alternative to hiking boots for the guy who wants a touch of professionalism in a practical work boot
I feel like I’ve tried just about every type of job-site footwear through the years. I’ve had several pairs of cross-trainers, which I’ve found sensible for the office, sticky for the roof, and perfectly suitable for client meetings. Unfortunately, these shoes don’t provide much protection when you step on a nail-riddled board. On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve tried tall, lace-up boots with thick, knobby soles that look more at home on an oil rig than a bathroom remodel.
Since my work involves everything from digging footing holes in freezing temperatures to hanging crown molding in fancy living rooms, I’ve settled on mid-weight hiking boots as the best everyday footwear. Unfortunately, boots made for weekend hiking can’t hack the job site’s day-to-day grind. Even the most expensive versions start delaminating at the toe long before I’ve gotten my $150 worth of use out of them.
I met a carpenter wearing some good-looking Ariat boots on a recent project, so I thought I’d give them a try myself. After several months of demolition and general home-improvement work, my Impact II 8-in. lace-ups ($165) have held up well. The soles are harder than those on sneakers or lightweight hikers, so they resist wear nicely, and because the treads aren’t too deep, the soles don’t cake with massive amounts of mud. The insoles, which have gel cushioning and ankle-stabilizing heel cups, make the boot comfortable all day long. However, it’s the classy-looking uppers that I like best—no racing stripes or bling, just leather and laces. My initial concerns about the lacing hooks at the top of the boots getting caught on items around the job site turned out to be unfounded. Only once did I snag one on my truck seat while climbing across the cab.
Finally, I think these boots project an image of professionalism that I’m comfortable with. While I’m definitely not a golf-shirt and iPad guy at client meetings, I still want to appear reasonably refined.