I got these boots for hiking, hunting and industrial exploring; I chose these because they had a nice tread and were cheaper than the rest. I had concerns about them, particularly because they're Ozark Trail, which isn't known for outstanding quality. I thought carefully, and after examining them, determined that I could make some adjustments that should increase the quality and longetivity. I'm of the opinion that something should be cared for and used until it is completely worn out. What I found is this: - These boots need broken in. The first 24-hours wearing them was very uncomfortable around the ankle area. The upper part of the boot is very still, and it will press into your leg, particularly the back. I had to walk in these for two solid days before they loosened up enough that I could grab the edges at the top (opening) of the boot and bend them in and out to loosen the material. You should clock at least ten miles in these, plus a lot of manual bending, before attempting to hike, otherwise you'll be very uncomfortable. Once the material loosened, they felt solid and are comfortable to wear. - The tread isn't as soft as many cheap shoes, which is nice. They do have a solid grip feeling concrete and rocks, yet aren't so soft that the rubber starts peeling and wears out quickly. - You need to waterproof them. I know they say they're waterproof, and perhaps they're keep small amounts of moisture out, but you need to take additional steps. Because I don't have a lot to spend, I massaged Dollar Store lotion into the real leather parts for moisture, then massaged petroleum jelly (Vaseline) into the leather parts. Rub it with Vaseline, then give it an hour. The grease will absorb into the leather. Rub it down again, then let it sit. Repeat five or six times. Eventually the Vaseline will build so that the leather resembles that of a baseball mitt. At this point, rub on one more layer and buff it very vigorously using a piece of aluminum foil. The leather will be smooth and shiny, and water will bead off of it. On the man-made material areas, you'll need MANY layers of Vaseline to make it smooth. In excess of 15, I think. It is worth it in the end. - You need to spray silicone on the tongue, else water will soak through into your socks. - The boots are very wide in the middle (they don't taper inwards properly) so you need to wear thick cotton socks to make them feel snug. If you want to wear synthetic material socks, you'll perhaps need to purchase these boots at the smallest size you can comfortable wear, else they'll feel loose. So far I tool these boots urban exploring and hiking. They held up well to both, felt solid on my feet (very uncomfortable at first, better later). After waterproofing with Vaseline, water beads off of them, and I've never had issues with water getting inside. Overall, for those who can't afford better, I recommend these boots, but be prepared to put in a bit of elbow grease to get your money's worth.
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