Anyone heard of YDS boots before ? Of course you have, MrBane wrote a review of their ‘Eagle’ boot back in Sep of last year, and overall he was impressed with them. The Thor model is of a more conventional style than the Eagle in that it lacks the fabric panels in the uppers, but it is still a modern solution to an ancient problem, how should troops be shod ?
Before we kick this off, some data for the rivet counters out there: Sizes available: 5–15 Mens & 3–9 Ladies (UK sizes). The upper is made of 2.2 – 2.4mm – Black S3 waterproof breathable upper leather, the “soling technology” as it calls itself is a lightweight, energy absorbing dual density PU / Rubber soling system with high abrasion and slip resistant outsole.
The entire boot is tested to the following standard: ENISO 20347:2004 (+A1:2007) O2 HRO WR FO
That translates as:
I may not be the ideal test subject when it comes to boots, it’s been decades since I suffered any blisters from footwear regardless of the boot I stuff my plates in, so much so that I tend to use junglies without socks in Sennybridge, but let’s see how these fared.
- ENISO 20347:2004 (+A1:2007) = Occupational footwear.
- O2 = Footwear made from leather and other materials excluding all-rubber or all-polymeric footwear. With closed seat (I have no idea,) and electrical resistance between foot and ground of between one hundred Ohms and one hundred Mega-ohms. Energy absorption of the seat (heel of midsole ?) region tested at twenty Joules. Water resistant upper leather.
- HRO = Heat resistant outsole to 300 degrees Celcius
- WR = Water resistant
- FO = Oil resistant outsole
When offered different types of boot to trial, my first request was for a wide fitting as I have feet like a bush munt, (which is hardly surprising,) they’d give Donald Duck a run for his money. Unfortunately the YDS Thor is not made in half sizes – or at least none were available at the time. Anyway I took the next size up to ensure a good width fitting & we were away – nearly.
I also needed a more traditional model of boot, ie. one without some high-tech proofing layer which ensures moisture stays on one side – for a period. My problem with most modern boots is that everyone and his dog thinks that they have to construct them using GoreTex or equivalent, and it gets right up my trumpet. As most of you know micropore systems work two ways – if intact they’ll prevent ingress of water but equally will stop the egress once it has entered the boot.
So you’ll get wet feet if the layer is damaged or if the manzi level reaches higher than the boot collar. Also if you move through vegetation wet enough to soak your strides it’ll start running down your legs and soak your socks.
Further to this, I find these ‘breathable’ layers are highly insulative, particularly if combined with any other type of liner, even “Coolmax” and/or “Cambrelle” which are supposed to wick away moisture, so my feet end up sweating like Michael Jackson in Mothercare & I might as well have waded through a river.
YDS call this type “Black Leather High Liability Combat Boots,” a label that had me puzzled as to why anyone would want anything ‘high liability’ on their feet, but as far as I can ascertain it is either kak translation from the original Turkish or Newspeak, whichever it is it means the opposite, ie reliability. Shit, it may just be another teenage buzzword so can be ignored anyway.
The sole can resist 300°C so would normally be fine for stamping out your oppo’s wee campfire but more than a few secs of exposure to burning Hexy is likely to modify the tread a bit. YDS also claim the sole is “lightweight, energy absorbing dual density PU / Rubber” but atan average weight (the left was 862g and the right 902g) of 882g each they’re not particularly lighter than others I own, indeed heavier than some, and just like MrBane in his review of the leather/polt mesh YDS Eagle, I found four-fifths of fokoll in the way of cushioning or shock absorption. No amount of pressure on the midsole revealed the slightest give and while I don’t often have problems with new boots I was getting misgivings.
Like most modern designs they lace up with cleats as opposed to eyelets, and these too have jamcleats on the ankle so different lace tensioning over the foot and lower leg can be maintained. The tongue is sewn in to just below the top lace cleat and has a decent amount of bellows to ensure donning & doffing is quick and comfortable. The boots have a ‘water resistant leather upper’ but as mentioned, no micropore proofing liner. There is however a 3D mesh liner covering interior of the boot with the exception of the heel cup which is lined with a synthetic similar to a smoother version of Nubuk. The 3D mesh was excellent at keeping my feet cool throughout the summer, though unsurprisingly it too held water after crossing watercourses. I could find no high points or stitching overruns within the boots and the outers were similarly unblemished.
On the outside at the rear of the shaft by the collar there’s a small upward facing lip, the purpose of which I’ve yet to discover. (See image)
I began by using the boots round camp for a couple of days and found no pressure points or stiffness anywhere in them. Third day in I wore them for a tab and while expecting problems from the lack of cushioning was very pleasantly surprised, I was luckier than MrBane & experienced no discomfort at all. Hot spots were only conspicious by their absence and neither soreness nor blisters occurred, these Thors were damn close to being broken in straight out of the box. (Only bettered by my Pro Boots which were like whorehouse slippers from day one.)
Shortly after I was away on a couple of courses, and despite much of the time in the field and some FISH & CHIPS, the upper leather shows very little damage.
My only gripes, and this is if I’m being really picky, is they’re not as lightweight as YDS claim and that the 3D mesh held water, but neither would put me off buying a pair because the ruggedness of the upper and support in the ankle far outweigh them.
The cushioning was weird, it felt unyielding to finger pressure yet presented no problems in use. I’ll be interested to see if the midsole in later versions of these or other YDS boots will be softer to the touch, but to be honest I lean toward the “If it’s not fcuked, don’t fix it” side.
In short, if you’re unhappy with all of the boots currently on issue & are looking for something in the ton-ten to ton-twenty mark, you won’t be disappointed by the YDS Thor.