POLICE Magazine

AUG 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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14 P O L I C E AU G U S T 2 019 W hile many pieces of duty gear are department-issued and cannot be replaced with another product from a different manufacturer, police officers are given a certain amount of latitude in selecting some of the items they use every day. One of those items is footwear. Some officers still prefer traditional low-cut shoes. But increasingly, offi- cers are favoring over-the-ankle patrol boots—typically about seven or eight inches in height. Some go with all-leather models while others—particular- ly those working in warmer conditions—go with the so-called desert boot, typically constructed from suede and a breath- able material. Of course, motor officers choose much taller boots that go up to just beneath the knee, pro- viding needed protection from flying road de- bris, as well as extra warmth and waterproof- ing for cold and wet riding conditions. When it comes to brands and types of boots, the available options are nearly limitless, making the decision-making process a potentially difficult one. But there are some tips that can make it easier. Here are some things to keep in mind when buying patrol boots. FIT AND COMFORT If your feet are not happy, then after a while, the rest of the body may not be very happy either, so fit and comfort are vitally important. Officers carry a lot of weight, so comfort is vital. You want the right balance between rigidity and flexibility in the sole and side panels. No two pairs of feet are alike, so an officer may have to try on a number of different manufacturers to find the patrol boot that's right for them. is is where the expert assistance of someone really well versed in selling foot- wear can make a world of difference. Certain trusted retailers have years of experience and decades of institutional knowledge on finding the right fit for individuals. QUALITY Don't skimp on boots. Working footwear is definitely an area where you get what you pay for. Cheap boots can cause serious health issues, including blisters, bunions, calluses, corns, hammertoes, heel spurs, ingrown toenails, mallet toes, and worse. e foot and ankle contain 26 bones; 33 joints; and more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Bad boots can cause damage to any one of the above. If you try to save money on boots, you may end up eventually spending that money at the doctor's office and the pharmacy. Furthermore, cheap boots tend to fall apart rather quickly, forcing an offi- cer to spend more money in the long run than if they'd gone for the pricier but better option. Spending real money up front on boots that are constructed out of the highest quality materials is an investment well worth it. Finally, high-quality boots can be maintained for many years, with good bee's wax for the leather and replace- ment soles expertly installed by a pro- fessional cobbler every few years. REPUTATION is is somewhat related to the quality issue discussed above. ere are some boot models—even from top-tier man- ufacturers—that may have looked good on paper, but aren't up to the task on the street. ey end up being "tacti-cool" wastes of money. Ask around among your colleagues about their own experience with vari- ous manufacturers. Ask the retailer as well. WEATHER CONDITIONS Do you go with waterproof—generally speaking, boots with all-leather con- struction—or not? Are you going to be wearing these in rainy conditions or con- ducting suspect searches in wetlands? Gore-Tex lining will keep your feet dry. HOW TO BUY PATROL BOOTS CHOOSE FOOTWEAR THAT FITS YOUR FEET AND YOUR MISSION. H DOUG WYLLIE HOW TO... PHOTO: REEBOK

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