Magnum Elite Force 8.0 WPI Tested

Review by Scott Cochran

In a lifestyle where many buy footwear depending on how they  look rather than  how they function, having the opportunity to test a pair of boots that meet military specs was a welcome change.
Right out of the box I was impressed by how sturdy, but relatively lightweight these boots are.  Brownie points to Magnum for pre-lacing the boots as I quickly slipped off my tennis shoes and tried on the boots while sitting at my desk.  As for the laces, Magnum uses full eyelets, not cleats so  unlacing and relacing the boots completely  might be a problem if that’s how you slip on and slip off you boots.  For me, I just loosen the first 4 or 5 eyelets and make enough room to slip my foot out and back in.  While the boots provide plenty of support, they’re not so stiff  that they need to be unlaced to slip them on.  In fact, for the next 5 hours, I wore these boots around the office and I was impressed by their comfort and fit.

Since most of us don’t buy boots to surf the internet, I was looking forward to spending a few days on the motorcycle in Panama City Beach during the Thunder Beach Rally.  This would be a test as temperatures were forecast to be in the low 80’s and there was a good chance for rain.
These Elite Force 8.0 WPI are made with Vibram Soles. (the best hiking / walking  tread pattern non slip soles in the world)  I own a pair of Vibram 5 finger shoes that I use to run in and for kayak trips and I’m hooked on their comfort.   After all day in this model from Magnum, I can vouch for their comfort as well.
The literature touts the boots are made with ION Mask Technology.  Ion-Mask is an invisible coating that is chemically bonded to a device using a plasma (an electrically charged gas). The coating has chemical properties that allow it to repel water, oil, toxic vapors and liquids. Instead of seeping through the cracks, water simply beads off the surface of the device.  This sounded great and in Panama City Beach I had the opportunity to test it as the area was hit with an old fashioned frog strangler (that’s thunderstorm for you non-southerners.)

As I hung around under a big tent waiting out the deluge, I noticed the tent was sitting in a depression that soon filled up with 3-4 inches of rainwater.  For the first 15 or 20 minutes I was feeling pretty smug as everyone else was bailing out of their waterlogged shoes, opting to stand in bare feet.   Then, I realized my right boot was leaking.  Was it both or just one?   5 more minutes passed, and left foot dry, right foot wet.  Crud!  I was so disappointed!  What initially looked to be a 5 star rating turned into a 3.5.  Since one boot worked great, and one leaked, I’m assuming it was a problem during the manufacturing process and Magnum customer service replaced the boots but we didn’t have time to run another test before deadline.    The boots did dry out completely overnight, which is a plus as anyone who has spent a day on the road in wet boots can appreciate. (added June 10, 2010- I received a replacement pair and had the opportunity to try them out in Helen Georgia during the 10th annual Reunion Run, where it rained every day!  Both boots remained 100% dry and I even stood in the river for 10 minutes with water flowing over the boots with no leakage.  Great for hiking where you might have to walk through shallow streams.  Just make sure your laces are tight!)

Owners can contact Magnum USA customer service directly at 800-521-1698 if any problems occur within the first 60 days of purchase Magnum will correct the problem and/or replace the pair.  For more info, visit www.magnumboots.com