Introduced in 2022, the Range Trainer Waterproof boot by Viktos is an advancement on the previous Johnny Combat design and balances breathability with a rugged design to sustain the end-user with a tactical mindset at work, in the field, or on range.
The chassis of the Range Trainer Waterproof (RTW) boot is made from a ripstop nylon stitched together using double-line nylon thread.
The hardware on the RTW includes unique nylon eyelets with rubberized edges that are anchored into the chassis using double line bartack stitching. The laces are Dupont nylon with plastic tips.
Sidewalls on the RTW are also made using panels of nylon and ripstop nylon to give the greatest degree of flexibility in the material and foot during dynamic movement. The upper panels on the 6” throat includes micro-venting to assist in heat dissipation and preventing penetration by debris or dust. The heightened throat also provides the ideal height to support the ankle in light/moderate environments.
The interior lining includes a breathable/waterproof membrane to help ensure the end-user’s feet remain dry but breathe adequately. Meanwhile a hi-rebound foam on the interior’s midsole provide added comfort. When measured from heel-to-toe, there is a slight 11mm drop to lessen the fatigue in the foot as well as aid in natural walking mechanics.
The RTW draws on and improves the outsole design to the Johnny Combat series footwear by having a full combat-focused rubber outsole with an over-molded synthetic heel for added protection. The lug design gives the sole a self-cleaning flex that helps ensure debris or rocks do not remain lodged.
The reinforced toe box is made from TPU (a type of thermoplastic with the same performance characteristics as steel toe inserts but lighters and non-conductive) and tapered to accommodate for a variety of environmental situations or conditions that the footwear may encounter.
The Viktos Range Trainer Waterproof boot comes in Coyote (featured) or Nightfall and available in sizes 6 through 15.
Product Evaluation Scores:
- Cost – Average (3/5): With its list price of $130, the Range Trainer Waterproof boot was made with a blend of materials and design that allows the end-user to perform in any urban or moderate field environment. There is an equal blend of ripstop nylon and synthetic materials throughout the chassis that will ensure the product’s longevity despite hard use. In contrast, market alternatives to this type of range boot would be the XA Forces (Mid) boots ($169.95) by Salomon, the Moab 2 boot ($139.99) by Merrill, or the Raide 2 (Mid) boots ($109.95) by Bates. As such, the RTW boot is at an appropriate (or average) price range amid the market for similar boots as well as for the materials and design utilized.
- Comfort – Good (4/5): Sizing for the RTW ran true-to-fit (meaning a size 11 will fit as a US-sized 11 shoe – not based on the actual physical length of the user’s foot). It took about a week for the nylon chassis and foam inserts to break in; but when it did, the RTW was very comfortable. The heel was also very well supported and protected, and the boot held its strength from the heel, up the Achilles line, and across to the laces. Thus, it was apparent the boot was designed to give support when and where needed. The sole’s exterior held a shock-resistant steyr foam lining on the outer edging that helped support and pad the foot bed, while preventing rolling of the ankle. The RTW was most comfortable over the course of a 30-day evaluation cycle during sprints and over loose, level surfaces while still supporting the foot and joints. Lastly, the tongue of the RTW was just as thickly padded as the rest of the interior, giving it ample padding against tightened laces and preventing unnecessary pinching.
- Durability – Good (4/5): From a durability aspect, the RTW held a good level of durability while worn as an EDC and range boot given its tested environment (which included pavement, grass, loose rock, water and mud). By its design, the intent for the RTW was to serve as an urban EDC or moderate flat range boot, and as such the materials excelled in those settings. The rip-stop nylon exterior took a good amount of rough edges, abrasion, and flex with only light/moderate marring to the material—none of which cracked or penetrated the inner layers of the shoe. The padding and interior lining aided in breathability and flexibility to maneuver various terrain. The double line stitching and very thick bartack at key stress points provided a good level of durability to prevent any separation of the materials. The TPU toe cap and heel took the brunt of abrasion but performed very well for a range environment in protecting the toe while giving the boot structure.
- Functionality – Good (4/5): Functionally, the RTW provided a good level of use for flat range movement, with a moderately loose surface (i.e. dirt and lose rock). The boot’s 6” throat and micro-venting helped to provide support to the ankle, while allowed for breathability to alleviate any sweating. The tread was similar to other trainer-style footwear by Viktos and other companies; with a flat “slick” sole, and a light tread design that offered a light self-cleaning lug design that kept moisture, small rocks, and debris from building up. It was noted however, that while mud did spread away from the toe and trusstic portion of the sole, it did fill the lug design (likely because of the flatter overall design and less aggressive tread as compared to those found on the Johnny Combat Ops). At no point did moisture penetrate the interior in light/moderate rain.
- Weight – Average (3/5): Each individual boot weighed in at 1.06 pounds (or 2.12 pounds for the size 11 pair) which is reasonable considering the volume of overall nylon material, TPU toe cap, and light lug design. In comparison to the market alternatives noted above; the XA Forces (Mid) boots (1.02 pounds per boot) by Salomon, the Moab 2 boot (1.15 pounds per boot) by Merrill, or the Raide 2 (Mid) boots (1.2 pounds per boot) by Bates show the diversity in weight for similar footwear. However, in the market of alternatives each has differing lug design and underlying materials (nylon, leather, composite, etc.), so that would explain the variance in weight. As a whole, the features and materials of the Range Trainer Waterproof boot by Viktos helped ensure it remained an appropriate (or average) weight amid the overall market for the consumer.
Overall Rating – Above Average (18/25)
Product Link: https://www.viktos.com/collections/boots/products/range-trainer-wp-boot
I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via High Ground Media, LLC, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.
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