Lalo tactical is a hot new tactical footwear company out of California that is currently surrounded by a lot of hype, and for good reason. Their shoes and boots are creative, extremely expensive, aesthetically pleasing, and very well marketed. Their marketing department has tied themselves to U.S. Special Operations Forces, and CrossFit athletes with a vigor. Their skilled marketing team has managed to drum up some major attention for their brand which is backed by the sleek aesthetics of their design. The Shadow Intruder boots are relatively well made with durable materials and marked with catchy SOF inspired slogans such as: “the only easy day was yesterday” on the tongue, and “stealth approach technology” on the heel. However, this is where the creative genius of this company seems to falter. These boots simply do not perform as they were intended to. On top of that they are extremely expensive, $300 for this pair of Shadow Intruders. Finally, it seems that these boots are not even made in America… It pains me to think that a company that ties itself so strongly to our military would send its profits to boost a foreign nation’s economy. But, as always, here at Bone Tactical… We choose what is right over what is popular… And our gear reviews will always be the 100% unbiased report of experts in the field.
As a former competitive athlete of nearly a decade, avid hiker, climber, certified diver, and Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach (NSCA) that works with elite athletes literally on a daily basis I can honestly say that Lalo tactical missed the performance mark with these boots. As soon as I put the boots on my feet I noticed they were hard and uncomfortable with little to no cushion and not designed to fit the contours of the human foot. A step backward in tactical footwear in my opinion. My experience as an athlete and strength coach has led me to believe that footwear should be designed with at least some arch contour either in the insole or in the shoe itself simply because that's the shape of the human foot. A shoe with a built in low arch or some arch support in the insole helps prevent eversion of the ankle and the knees going valgus, especially in plyometrics, running, jumping, and landing. The ankle is going to follow the path of least resistance, the knees will follow. With a flat shoe, when an athlete lands for instance, it's only natural for the foot to flatten, and as eversion occurs the next step in that movement pattern is valgus knees. Not what you want when landing! These boots are marketed for jumping out of planes yet are terrible for human landing mechanics and very hard on knee and ankle joints. As far as climbing goes I traversed a boulder field, and a high elevation scramble for about a mile. It was absolutely miserable due to lack of shock absorption in these boots and I almost completely wore through the supposedly titanium spikes in the “climbing arch”. Lalo set the standards very high for themselves by marketing these boots for our Great Nations elite fighting forces, and seem to have fallen short according to my evaluation.
I set out to test these boots in as close to how they were designed to be used as possible. I worked out in the boots for several weeks to get the initial break-in out of the way. I contacted a friend who’s a great mountain athlete and we planned a trip to summit the highest peak in the state of Utah. Our ruck and scramble to the summit of King’s peak was spread out over two days. The first day we didn’t start till dawn so we quickly hiked in about 7 miles, restocked water supplies, made a hasty dinner, and set up camp near Dollar Lake. Within the first mile I felt blisters starting to form, and stopped to administer mole skin, blister pads, and tape to the sensitive areas. That night I had already developed some nasty blisters on my heels despite the blister pads as well as abnormal joint pain. The blisters were from the boots being too rigid to flex with the foot during natural human movement patterns, and from lack of cushion inside the boot allowing my foot to slip around. I can speculate that the reason the outsole is so rigid is because they are supposed to contain a puncture-proof material. Comfort and durability are always a trade-off in apparel. Perhaps for a SWAT officer who may not put a lot of miles in on his feet during work but needs to be wary of nails and spikes that could penetrate a boot, these would be perfect. If you’d rather have a boot that’s puncture resistant over a boot that’s comfortable for traveling long distances in then these may be a good choice for you. For me, I want a boot I can comfortably operate in, and this is not them. We have not yet tested the puncture resistance capability of these boots but I will update this article when we do. The joint pain was also from lack of cushion as well as lack of shock absorption capability in the insole and outsole. I knew the next day would bring a lot of pain but I always complete what I start. We arose with the sun, made some coffee and prepared more mountain house meals with our jetboil camp stove. We then packed up camp, and completed the final 7 mile hike and scramble to the summit. We ate a quick lunch and then hiked the final 17 miles out to our car. By the time we got to our car my feet were absolutely destroyed. It took me three weeks before I could walk normally and I’m still dealing with tendon and ligament pain at the time of writing this article. These boots are among the worst hiking boots I’ve ever worn, a striking contrast to their cool and futuristic looks. The durability of these boots is good, the materials are high quality, they are relatively light weight, and the ergonomics are terrible at best. The toe cap started to separate from the boot, and as I mentioned before the metal climbing studs wore out quickly. I would recommend these boots to anyone who just wants a cool looking pair of tactical boots to wear to the bar or shooting range, and has money to burn. I’m sure I’ll see several pairs this year at the SHOT show that look like they’ve never been in the dirt. In my opinion these boots are light use only.
Tacticool, aestetically pleasing, durable materials.
Poor design from a functional, athletic, and physiological perspective.
5 out of 10 bones