Ops Systems are the new kids on the block as far as tactical boot manufacturers go and will have a lot of competition along the way from a number of big name companies. Their flagship boot is the Anti-Static CT BOOT and that is what we have up for review here. The CT boot is designed to be worn by operators in the urban environment and a lot of the key features of these boots have that in mind. If you've seen the Bates Falcon or Adidas GSG9 then you'll recognise this sort of boot.
They have non slip rubber soles with a tread pattern developed to be most effective on smooth surfaces (aircraft surfaces, ship decks etc). They also provide protection from anything that is likely to puncture it without losing any of its flexibility, much like the sole does on an issue jungle boot. The toe is reinforced with tough rubber to stop the leather getting scuffed and also to protect the front of the foot from dynamic impacts kicking doors down basically!!!
As the name suggests the boots are advertised as being anti-static to prevent them from setting off any surprises that might have been left behind to catch out the wearer. Now without actually having any spare IED's kicking around the house to test this I will just have to take this claim for what it is. These come with an impressive pair of insoles with padding in all the right places to aid you in jumping over walls like an Olympic athlete when chasing down the bad guys!!! There are also some drainage holes in the instep of each boot to help rid the boot of any excess water and the boot is lined with coolmax to help cool the wearer's feet down in hot environments. So as you can see these boots are loaded with features but the big question is what are they like to wear and unfortunately this is where they start to fall down.
The first thing I noticed about them is then sheer size of the boots. They are quite high compared to most other boots I own including nearly an inch bigger than the similar Bates boots. They also feel quite wide when on and since Ops Systems don't offer any different widths you are pretty much stuck with what you get. Despite the height, they are relatively easy to get on but I found it quite hard to get a comfy fit with laces going up to the top eyelets. In the end I just stopped using the top eyelets all together and did them up on the ones below the top.
Unfortunately when I started walking around in them I uncovered the most significant issue which is that during the breaking in phase these proved to be are some of the most uncomfortable boots I have ever worn. Neither different types of socks nor alternative lacing methods prevented them digging into my feet, especially around the outer ankle area. After about a week the right boot dramatically improved but 5 weeks down the line I'm still having problems with the left one. Investigations seem to indicate that the rubbing may be due to one of the areas of stitching but I've no idea how to solve it. It is entirely possible that the problems are due to some pecularity with my feet but I don't normally have any issues
The boots are not all bad though and once the right boot had broken in it was quite comfy. Unlike other similar boots I didn't have to wrestle them around the floor whilst trying to get them on my feet and they do seem quite well made. I reckon they would withstand a fair amount of punishment and the leather seems to be quite good quality and not a cheap substitute. The sole also has an instep which although is a pretty standard thing to have on a normal boot is normally forgotten on these type of boots. It is good for one reason ladder climbing. Without an instep climbing up the small caving type ladders turns into a bit of an epic and could lead to a major drama if you slip off it.
In conclusion these boots seem well made, are loaded down with good features and the anti-static protection appears to be unique to them. Unfortunately at £134.99 they are more expensive than the competition which, combined with the problems I have had breaking them in, means they're not something I can recommend.