The Magnum Elite Force 8.0 Boot Review
I should probably disclose, right here at the start of this review, that I’ve always been a fan of Magnum boots. My first pair of real EMS boots were Magnums and…well, I guess you never forget your first.
While I’ve remained a fan, I haven’t been the most loyal customer. Through the past two decades I’ve worn just about whatever boot seemed to be in style or recommended or available at my local uniform store. I know. I’m not proud of it.
That’s why, when Magnum offered to let me test drive a pair of their new Magnum Elite 8.0 boots, I jumped at the chance. I was curious to get a pair of Magnums back on my feet and see if they still felt as good as that first pair. I was also willing to put previous biases aside and pay Magnum the proper respect by giving the Elite Force an honest to goodness, full-fledged, no-holds-barred test run. Here are my five essential elements of a quality EMS boot and how the Magnum Elite Force 8.0 measured up.
I like a boot to feel good on my foot. I don’t want them to feel good two years down the road, I want them to feel good right now. I don’t believe in suffering until I’ve worked in a good pair of boots. I like them to feel good right out of the box.
On this front, I think Magnum has a clear advantage in the field. I don’t know what they do and I imagine that it’s a carefully guarded trade secret, but these boots felt good the first time I put them on my feet. The arch support is unparalleled and the lacing really hugs your foot without biting.
Support around the ankle is top notch. I took the boots for a run around the drill ground one afternoon to see if i could get any rubs or hot spots. I got nothing (except a good workout.) I simply can’t make my feet feel bad in these boots.
One comfort negative I noticed was that, after several hours of wear, the upper edge of the boot wanted to press into my shin uncomfortably. While my feet still felt good, this was a bit of an annoyance that didn’t improve remarkably with wear. I was able to rectify the problem with a higher, bulkier pair of work socks.
On future models of the Elite Force, I’d like to see Magnum apply their trademark comfort-magic to the upper edge of the boot as well. I don’t imagine that the shin-dig would be a deal breaker for most folks, and the great news is that Magnum takes comfort seriously. If you put these babies on your feet and you don’t like anything about the way the feel, Magnum will take them back for up to sixty days. You have to admire a company that stands behind their products.
I’ve worn my Magnums for almost a year now and I’ve noticed very little wear. They look like new. The photos you see here were taken after a year of wearing the boots and they still look like they just came out of the box.
My water testing consisted of an in-station, simulated rain test and a real world swift-water rescue course. The first test was performed out behind my station with a garden hose. I sprayed the boots down liberally to try to saturate the fabric and give my little piggy’s a soaking.
It didn’t happen. The Magnums shed a ridiculous amount of water without absorbing a bit. I was impressed. But really, how realistic is a garden hose? I wondered how well the Magnums would hold up in serious water while my feet were moving and I was working. To that end, I took them along to my swift-water re-certification class.
I first noticed some water in my boots about 25 minutes into throw-bag arrest practice. That means I spent 25 minutes, working hard, in and out of standing water, feet fully submerged, hauling in swimmers on ropes. It was probably 40 minutes into the exercise that I felt like I had significant water saturation within the boot. Even after water penetration, the boot remained comfortable and performed well.
Magnum accomplishes this remarkable degree of water resistance using what it calls ion-mask hydro-management technology. Water resistance is further improved by a unique lace eyelet design that keeps the laces on the top of the boot instead of between the tongue and the boot. It works.
I’ll say it. They look good. To coin a phrase that you won’t find on Magnums website, the look kind of bad-ass. I could describe to you why I think that is, but just look at the picture instead. You know what I’m talking about.
Looks don’t mean anything if the boot turns out to be just another pretty face. In the performance category, this boot comes through in spades. And that’s where it really counts right?
Dry feet are nice. Comfortable feet are really nice. Pretty looking feet are great too. But you might as well throw the boots in the garbage if they don’t perform when it counts. Pretty boots are worthless if your feet slip out from under you while you’re carrying someone’s grandma down a staircase in the rain or you can’t dig in on an icy road in the middle of the night a feel confident.
I was very happy with this boots performance over the year that they were on my feet. The boots light weight and sticky Vibram sole give the wearer a feeling of confidence and agility. I wore them through the Colorado winter, shoveling snow and working on roadways. I wore them through the summer standing ankle deep in streams and hiking in on dirt trails. I climbed on roofs and stomped on burning Yucca plants.
These boots never failed me, and for that…I’m sold.
I give the Magnum Elite Force 8.0 an enthusiastic recommendation. I think you’ll be really happy with this boot. With a retail price of $160.00, Magnum’s Elite force line comes in at the upper mid-range of the market and I believe that they are a value for what they offer.
Most folks who’ve worked in EMS for a few years will tell you that it isn’t worth it to skimp on boots. With this boot, you’re going to like what you get. I know I’ll keep wearing mine for years to come.
Now it’s your turn: Do you wear Magnum boots? What do you think? What makes a great EMS boot?
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