Belleville Boots

Review of the Belleville 790 Waterproof Flight Boot

INITIAL IMPRESSION & APPEARANCE: This is one impressive, rugged boot right out of the box. Belleville's use of top quality materials and workmanship is very apparent upon a first look. The tan calfskin leather is definitely top notch and the ballistic nylon Cordura areas around the side of the foot are a nice touch. All areas that may be subject to that heavy loads are double stitched for strength. This is one tough looking boot and definitely not a lightweight, tactical style boot by any means. So if you're looking to do some jogging or jumping rope, this probably isn't the boot for you. This boot would definitely be at home on the work site, flight line, dirt-biking or probably almost any extreme sport where you might take a spill.

KEY FEATURES: The Belleville 790 has a Gore-Tex bootie that is stitched into the lining of the boot to include the tongue. Just looking at the Gore-Tex fabric itself, I was surprised how thin and lightweight it is. It adds almost no weight or bulk to the boot. One of the other things I really like about Bellevilles is all of their boots have gusseted tongues to resist sand, dirt, and debris from getting into the boot. Very helpful if you're in a sandstorm in Afghanistan. It has speed lace eyelets which make getting them on and off relatively and easy. Another design feature of that I like is the toe-to-lace design. It really gives you control and adjustability when tightening these boots. There's nothing worse than a pair of boots that are tightened all the way and still too loose on top of your toes and your feet are sliding forward every time you take a step. That's definitely a recipe for some nice blisters. A Vibram Sierra outsole is a great design for dirt and rocky terrain. The large four-sided lugs will provide excellent grip in any direction and their sharp corners will dig into dirt and soft terrain. Good long-lasting Vibram outsole and these boots are resoleable as well.

TRYING THESE ON: Make sure you buy these a half size smaller than your running shoe. Wrong sizing on a boot when you're out for a 10 mile ruck can really ruin your day. So I laced these up and walked around the room and then tightened them up again. Very solid, secure fit. The way the boot upper curves around the ball of your heel really gives it a secure fit. I tried jumping in these. You definitely don't have to worry about inadvertently pulling your foot out of these when you're running or jumping. Ankle support was marginal because of the leather and Cordura upper but ankle movement was excellent in all directions. In the comfort area, the factory insoles are too soft so they provided some shock absorption but not much in the support area. Heel cushioning is about all they provide. If I owned these boots, the first thing I'd do is invest in a pair of quality aftermarket insoles like Superfeet. Other than that, the midsole of the boot was very supportive.

OVERALL: I'm definitely impressed with these boots. They're tough, made of high quality materials, well designed, well manufactured, and made in the USA. Hard to ask for more out of a sub $200 boot. There's a reason Belleville has been making boots for the military for over 100 years. For a cold weather waterproof winter boot, the Belleville 790 is a winner.

- Brian