Haix is already a big dog in Europe, but is just now getting around to trying to get more into the North American market. As a part of that I got the chance to check out their Mission boots in Desert Tan, the main series in their military line. The pricepoint likely has been one thing to slow the penetration to us cheapos here in the US, but Haix is a great example of no compromises and getting what you pay for.
As a bonus, one of the distribution centers just happens to be in my hometown in KY so over the holidays I got to check out the warehouse and see company videos to see just how much work and quality control goes into all their production. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYwALgutzPA Needless to say they are VERY serious about making some boss footwear for all kinds of hard use customers.
Back to the Mission boots I personally got to beat up on, out of the box they come fairly stiff and the company self declares there will be a breaking in period. Despite being a smidge rigid, they are still comfortable and usable. My main benchmark is can I put them on and go rucking without having my feet torn up after, and these boots have always passed that. I've been a bit slow this review so have actually been using them a good 6 months. Even so you can tell on the pics, they are not phased at all with just a little bit of dirt being noticeable. At this point they still feel like heavy duty boots, but have certainly more broken in flex now compared to right out of the box. I find this a fair trade for a boot that is going to last a really long time.
I haven't had a chance to try these in super hot weather, but the GORETEX inner liner has been nice for varied environment usage so far. The circulation feels solid and nice to not worry about wet feet when dealing with mere wet ground or even generally getting rained on. The sole and tread are fairly chunky with the intent on doing well on rocky terrain, yet I still get good non slip characteristics out of them on wet flat surfaces. For comfort and further adjustment options the supplied inserts are both substantial and removable.
With the solid foundation there, the Mission boot still has further nice details. All the lacing hardware is non-snag and has a 2 zone setup to allow separate tension of the foot and upper leg zones. It took me a bit to notice, but the hardware where the foot zone ends is designed to auto lock down clamping on the cord keeping tension of that zone as desired while then able to set leg zone separately. The first leg zone hardware is also offset to help with circulation on the natural bend zone of the foot. The cordlock system is pretty slick for a quick way to "tie" the laces, but did take me a while on figuring out how best to tuck away the slack. There is a nice elastic pocket for the slack, but I had so much leftover that it would eventually come out during a ruck. To combat this I eventually came up with some different ways to wrap the slack using the backstrap and general tension to help the issue a lot. Alternatively one can just cut the string as desired so the boot can still be adjusted, but no so much slack is needed. I also had some concern the elastic is likely the only weak point of the boots where it will wear out eventually. There are no issues yet, but plans if that day comes is to just tuck in slack into the tongue area classic style or create a new elastic point with shock cord between hardware and heel pull.
Other interesting features not seen much on other footwear would be the velcro on the tongue and heel pull style. The tongue velcro left me curious at first, however certainly does help keep consistent tongue placement through putting the boots on and off. The heel pull is simple webbing, but done in a fairly low snag shape and can always be cut off for those worried about them for their job. I personally appreciate heel pulls for helping put any boots on. For a small nag I wish the brightest colors were the same color as the leather or toe of the Desert boot, but no deal breaker. On that note, sexy Sage and Black colors of the Mission Boot are also available.
In the end, these Mission Boots are a great example of high quality and high durability boots. It makes them a little on the heavier side in a time where a lot of folks are making lightweight, but you get superior durability and protection. A big feature is that even though they are super rugged, you still get your comfort as opposed to wearing some iron boots that last forever, but you hate to wear them. Be sure and browse around their other boot models, Haix specializes designs made for various public services and high adventure folks. I certainly look forward to checking out other Haix designs and what they come up with in the future.