This past summer we had our own USMC Veteran and current wildland firefighter Travis Pike perform an extensive testing cycle on the Propper International Series 100 boots. So when Propper International reached out and asked if I wanted to test out their 300 Series boots I knew that I was going to be testing a quality product and quickly agreed to the offer.
Living here in the wilds of Alaska a boot without much insulation is useless for a large amount of the year, but we get 80*F temperatures in the summer and these boots arrived just in time for me to start clearing property and preparing for the annual bird migrations so I knew I would get plenty of time with them on my feet. I also knew that they would take some abuse as well as go from marshlands to mountains to thick woods all in the same week. A real workout for any boot or piece of gear. Let’s take a look at the boot from a numbers point of view.
- Manufacturer: Propper International
- Country of Manufacture: United States of America
- Model: Series 300
- Colors Available: Tan Only
- Price: $179.99 MSRP
- Waterproof: No
- Made in USA
- Vibram Sole
- Army Regulation 670-1 Compliant
- Non Safety Toe
- Speed Lacing
- Serrated Heel and Tow for Better Grip While Climbing
- Drainage Vents on Side
How Do They Measure Up?
That is the question that everyone wants to know, How do these boots fit, how do they hold up and how do they make your feet feel? Many of us spend hours a day punishing our feet at work or at play and we all know a bad pair of boots makes a long day even longer. The Propper International 300 Series boots have been a pleasant surprise the last 2 1/2 months that I have been testing them and that made me a happy camper.
I will say that the boots didn’t fit quite like the other boots I own, they have their own twist to them and once I got used to them I was good to go. The 300 Series boots feature a tongue that is stitched in almost all the way to the top which I show in the above image and description in the video. What this does is allow the boot to really suck your foot in deeply to the boot and lock your foot tightly in. This is a nice feature because these boots happen to offer little ankle support. That’s not a knock on the boot at all, it’s just something that is a fact with soft-sided boots.
The soft toe on the boot is becoming standard on many boots and since these are designed to be compliant with Army dress regulations it makes sense they are made the way they are. The one drawback on a soft toe like what is featured on the Series 300 boots is that is offers little protection from crushing or cuts from equipment or axes.
The Vibram soles that come on these boots offered good support in the terrains that I have run them across with minimal slippage even in rocks and sharp fresh cut alder stumps. They also performed well across mud, slime, and grass clippings when I wore them using an 18 HP brush hog mower clearing some of my property and woods. I really didn’t know what to expect when I transitioned from terrain to terrain but they performed flawlessly all things considering.
The pattern that Propper selected features an angled chevron pattern at the toe and heel, this is to provide for better grip on angles while hiking. I noticed that these spots filled up with soft material faster but that it also cleared out quickly. The mid arch section once packed with softer material did the same thing. Overall the pattern is easy to load with material but also easy to clear. This hasn’t been the case with other boots with Vibram soles I’ve owned like the Danner Ft Lewis pattern boots. It’s nice to see sole patterns evolve.
I will say that these boots ran a little more narrow than I expected and fit very tightly. In hindsight, I should have ordered a wide model of boot because in some brands a wide fits my foot better than a standard width boot. This is entirely my fault and not the fault of the manufacturer in any way, but I would be remiss as an evaluator to mention this fact even if it’s a minor detail about the boot. We want to make sure that people who need a wide boot are sure to order the proper width boot the first time.
The Propper International Series 300 boots are well built and will fit the needs of the individual soldier, contractor or regular citizen if you know what conditions they are built for and adjust accordingly. These boots are Army Regulation 670-1 compliant and should perform well under most field conditions for our soldiers. That said they do have a soft upper and don’t offer excellent ankle support. They also will be nearly useless in winter conditions if you see snow and wet conditions due to their lack of waterproofing. These are negative traits by any means, you just have to treat your boots like a tool. The right tool for the right weather conditions and you will be perfectly fine.
The speed laces where nice and something I forgot military boots generally has, especially since I’ve been out of military service for more than a decade. The laces on these boots are ridiculously long though so prepare for some trimming and burning the ends if you decide to pick up a pair. Other items on these boots I would like to note is that the toes showed a considerable amount of wear and tear in a fairly short amount of fieldwork. I will admit I”m not sure if this is standard on the new generation of soft-toed footwear or something unique to these boots.
At the end of the day, I have to ask myself if I would buy these boots with my own money and use them as they were designed. The answer to that is a resounding YES. If you want or need a tan boot that is not waterproof for your job or lifestyle and live in a warmer climate than the Propper International Series 300 boots will be the perfect fit for you. I, however, live in a climate that is generally colder and wetter than most of our readers so these won’t work for me 12 months of the year.
However, they will work perfectly in the summer and on ATV trails and in the woods. I can’t wait till next summer when I can really see what these will do. I will try to write a follow-up article next summer with a longer evaluation period after they have suffered through an Alaskan summer of ATV rides, logging, camping and fishing and see my opinion has changed at all. Check back in the Summer of 2019 and see how the Series 300 boots hold up in the long run.