Special thanks to CR at Massif for digging this up and sending it to me. At the time Massif was branching out into the commerical market and had a partnership with myself, they eventually decided to focus solely on government sales and we parted ways. They’re a great company with incredible people, and I continue to make kick ass materials and clothing.
Asolo makes a great boot, and Glen’s testimony to their durability and performance is hard to beat. Reading Glen’s old “Pro form” from Massif brought a smile to my face, I could hear Glen’s voice all through the read.
I hope you enjoy this special review as much as I did.
Photo: Glen with friends and I fishing in Cabo on the “Reel Axe”
Massif Pro Form/Asolo Hiking Boot Review
Job Title: Security Specialist
Job Duties: Global personal and installation security
End Date of Current Deployment: UNK
Height: 5 9
Please describe your job, including what your duties demand on a daily basis and/or when you’re wearing flame-resistant gear. Be specific and include details such as physical activity, time spent at rest, terrain, weather conditions, and gear you typically carry with you such as backpacks or body armor:
I spend 6-8 months a year overseas working in different countries providing personal security, establishing installation security, and acting as a liaison with the local populus to establish relations.
While field-testing gear, how frequently will you have access to email? How easily can you send and receive shipments:
Constant access to email. Rarely will more than a few days pass without. I can receive mail easily, although its not always easy when deployed to send mail back to the States. I am not deployed all year however.
If your job is seasonal or dependent upon military, wildland fire, or other timelines, give us a rundown here so we can match you up with appropriate gear at the right time of year:
I usually work two months on two months off on a relatively regular rotation, with training thrown in between deployements.
Are you required to wear specific uniform items for your job? If so, please list some of the standard items you wear on a routine basis:
Standard items are holsters and mag holders, cover shirts, good footwear, body armor and associated plate hanger profiles as per mission. Sometimes overt, often covert.
Some of the items we send to field testers may be development prototypes and will not necessarily be identical to issued uniform items. Do you have the ability to wear garments that are similar to, but different from, issued garments? What about garments that are not similar to issued uniform items:
Yes, of course. I can wear what I want so long as its appropriate.
Please describe any regulations or restrictions that might limit your ability to field test:
Please tell us about any outdoor experience outside of your current position that would inform your ability to analyze our gear – such as hunting, climbing, backpacking, etc:
I was a professional river guide for 4 years, primarily in Cataract Canyon on the Colorado river. I was a semi-professional skier for 6 years based out of Snowbird Utah. I run a medical clinic for two weeks every year on Tavarua Island (destination surf resort) off the coast of Fiji. I have white water kayaked all over the West, spent months climbing at places like Smith Rock Oregon, City of Rocks Idaho, and all over Utah. I was in the USN SEAL teams from 1996-2005, and still scuba dive and skydive regularly. I completed Ironman Canada in 2004 under 12 hours, and still road and mountain bike extensively. I have backpacked and camped all over the West, including over a month straight in Montana, and recently a week of backcountry skiing in the Wallawa Range. I was Brandon Webbs shooting partner at SEAL Sniper School.
Pick your favorite piece of outdoor clothing that you’ve owned and used long enough to comment on its durability and performance. Write a brief review for us. Be as specific as possible and include a list of pros and cons, including any suggestions you may have for improving the product. You may also consider comparing it to a similar item you’ve used, telling us a story about its performance, or including location/terrain/weather conditions:
My favorite piece of outdoor clothing is a pair of Asolo leather hiking boots that I bought while I was in the SEAL teams in 1997. With some basic math we know that these boots are now 15 years old, and still going strong while working through their third Vibram resole.
The SEAL teams went through a period where they stopped issuing standard boots to operators, and just gave them $$ to purchase any boots they wanted. I hit up the local REI, and after trying on several pairs, this solid boot just fit my foot right, and I loved the simple aesthetic, bomber rivet hook lace system and rugged Vibram sole. I used these boots through training, hiked in them humping over 150 pounds on my person, ran in them, slept in them, threw myself on the ground and picked myself up in them again and again.
When we left Kuwait in 2003 to go into Iraq during the Second Gulf War, I was wearing these boots, and when we took Saddam’s palace complex in Tikrit to officially end combat operations these boots walked across his marble floors.
You will never want for a more rugged boot that can be resoled again and again. It is comfortable for long periods, and as waterproof. The only downsides to this boot are that it isn’t a great boot once temperatures top 100 degrees F. Its not unbearable, but if you are prone to tinea pedis then a more breathable boot might be better for you. Also, there are no drain holes, so if you know that you will be in and out of the water there are better choices. Additionally, like any leather product, if you want to get the most life out of the item there is some annual required maintenance: saddle soap and mink oil go a long way, and really bring the leather back to ‘like new’ condition.
I still wear these boots often–hiking, riding motorcycles, chopping wood….they just work, and seem to be more than ready to go another 15 years.
Main image: Courtesy of Asolo