These hiking-style boots look just the job and have a high specification (EN ISO 20345 S3). I love the one-piece, oiled, full-grain leather uppers with waterproof, breathable Hydro Guard lining. They are finished to a high standard and secured tightly to a triple-density Aquaflex Phylon/rubber sole.
The sole has anti-static properties, is heat resistant to approximately 300 degsC and resistant to weak concentrations of acid, alkali and oil.
Protection is provided by the 200J steel toecap and a pierce-resistant steel midsole. Comfort is afforded by the shock-absorbing heel and full-length, replaceable, energy-return footbed with rebound foam and antibacterial properties. The boots, which weigh 799g, come with a free bottle opener and an extra pair of laces.
Built like a walking boot with full bellows tongue, these boots promise much in the wet and they don't disappoint. In fact, the wetter the better. Initially very stiff, they took a long time to break in, but it was worth the wait.
They give excellent traction on sticky clay soils. Breathability is remarkable - even after lots of intensive activity they smelt more of leather than sweaty feet. Comfort scores highly and the midsole ladder grip is a brilliant feature, as is the speed lacing.
But I do not like driving in them. They are chunky and it is difficult to feel the accelerator - I'm sure petrol consumption was up as a result.
V Tech Thunder Waterproof Safety Boot V1215, offered in sizes 3 to 13, is available from Sorbus International (01373 475540), priced £46.20 + P&P.
Tested this issue
Makita Sprint Trainer
Makita Super Safety Hiker Boot
V Tech Thunder Waterproof Safety Boot V1215
Dr Martens Izzy St Boot
Dr Martens Rosa St Rigger Boot
JCB Fast Track Safety Boot
Dickies Fury Super Safety Hiker Boot
Steitz Secura Vario
Sally Drury, technical editor, Horticulture Week
Safety footwear is a must for outdoor work. Just think of the mess your toes could be in without the protection of a steel toecap, or of the pain a nail would have caused had it not been for a steel midsole.
By their nature, safety boots and shoes are strong and can be stiff and restrictive. They can also be heavy, leading to fatigue. Difficult to walk in, some can make driving almost impossible. Ill-fitting safety boots and shoes can be unforgiving. Yet I wear my safety boots to shows and exhibitions.
I can spend all day on my feet, jogging between press meetings and outlying exhibits. Once asked how I manage to stand all day, I replied that it is down to my "perfect" boots. I have worn them for 15 years. Well, not the same pair, obviously. But each time I needed new boots I replaced them like for like - and there is the dilemma.
As an advocate of trying new machinery, I am always preaching that it is good to explore the latest developments rather than just sticking with the same model or brand year after year. So here is the challenge: can I find another pair of safety boots or shoes to match my preferred footwear?
This trial has been conducted over 18 months, with each pair of boots and shoes being subjected to a variety of tasks from walking and driving to digging and general outdoor duties. Each item has been worn in both wet and dry conditions, on grass and concrete as well as sandy and clay soils.