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  • Elite Force - First Impressions test pair

    By Sam 10/06/2010

    By first impressions, I mean I literally just got my test pair of Elite Force WPi out of the box four hours ago, they arrived at 11 am this morning. I feel it's just as important to review these boots the first time you try them on as it is after spending 6 months with them.

    I'll start with the packaging, which is where my experiences began; I wasn't sure at first whether I would get sent basic test packaging, or full retail packaging. The outside of the package was wrapped in a plain grey bag with Hi-Tec logos printed on it, plus an inexplicably ominous DOCUMENTS ENCLOSED sticker over it; pretty drab. I assumed I was getting plain packaging, but as I cut it open I saw the familiar brushed metal-style logo over the box.

    I opened it up and as I expected both the box and interior packing was very well done - Magnum boxes are printed on all sides and that alone makes them fairly sturdy and water-resistant. All the necessary information was marked on the outsides, and it was all generally very nice and neat. On the inside, I noticed that the plastic waterproof bags my previous pair of Magnum boots were packaged in were now not featured, although I have more than enough faith that the boots could keep themselves dry in transport anyway. They were lightly wrapped in some kind of grease-paper though, and that was probably protection enough from humidity &c. Rest assured, my boots arrived in completely pristine condition and I would expect any other Magnum delivery to be the same. The only other remarkable part of the packaging was a printed message from chairman Frank Van Wezel on the box inset, 'personally' thanking me for purchasing my boots, which I didn't. Sorry Frank, this one's on your credit card.

    Before I actually put the boots on, a took a quick look at the details. Here are some things that I noticed that aren't explicitly mentioned in the boot specs:

    -although not mentioned in the rundown, there is actually still some toe protection, although it isn't exactly a full toe-cap. It's still pretty good.
    -on the tip of the toe and end of the heel there are some sets of grooves set in the sole, presumably for climbing both up and down hills safely - nice feature!
    -the heel plate is surprisingly large - it's useful all the way up to the beginning of the ankle.
    -shaped into the ankle pads at the top of the cut is a dip that comfortably lets your foreleg flex backwards, also a welcome feature.
    -the bootlaces are very nice, very strong.

    Actually trying on the boots was a nice experience: as I expected, they were extremely rigid at first but straight away they fitted my foot very closely, and basically all of the breaking-in process so far has just been giving the ankle support some flexibility, and learning how tight I should lace them. Walking is very comfortable and natural, I haven't tried running in them yet. Despite the reasonable weight of the boots, they feel very light on your feet because the mass is spread very evenly over your foot.

    Two things I would like to mention is that walking with them while they are breaking in produces a dull crumpling kind of sound in the leather; it's expected but quite significant compared to Ion-Mask untreated boots. The Vibram outsole also produces quite a lot of squeaking on certain hard surfaces, but I'd imagine this will subside after I take them outdoors and treat them to some abrasive surfaces.

    That's all I have to write about for now, but after using them for a while I'll follow up with a better overall report about how they actually stand up to proper outdoor usage.


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