Mini-Mil Minimalist Boots Review
Ok so I'm a little late in doing this, but I was able to give these boots the full field testing. I hope this helps.
Got them here for $120.
[URL="http://www.uspatriottactical.com/belleville-tactical-research-tr101-minimil-ultra-light-desert-tan-boot.html"]Belleville Tactical Research TR101 MiniMil Ultra Light Desert Tan Boot[/URL]
These boots got it, they are built like heavy weight combat boots. Reasonably thick leather, 1000D nylon upper, quality outsole. Seams and stitching appear to be top notch and should not be an issue. Compared to a Nike SFB, they are far and away tougher.
For better or worse these have a heel counter which provides a lot of ankle stability without too much impact on mobility. During the trial we were on some pretty gnarly terrain wearing a lot of weight, no issues with ankle stability or mobility.
They are an ounce or two heavier than the SFB's. So they are extremely light, not quite sure how they did it considering how robust it is.
They are indeed a minimal boot. Ground feel is like a beefier version of Merrell Trail Gloves. In fact that's pretty much the best way to describe the boots. You can feel when you step on a rock, but it's stiff enough not to be painful. The forefoot is nice and wide, with plenty of space for you foot to spread out.
I recommend using your VFF sizing to pick your size, take your VFF size [EUR and +1]. I wear 43 VFF, and 44 Mini-mils. You could get away with ordering the same size if you wear thin socks. Luckily I ordered with a buddy, because we had ordered using our Nike size, and we had to trade boots. There was a correlation to VFF sizing. When in doubt err on the slightly smaller size, they have a very generous forefoot.
I did about a 4 mile trail run with 30 pounds of kit on, up and down a mountain trail (mostly walk/jog going up, hauling balls coming down). Then a few days later took them out to the field which consisted of; off trail movement, nasty terrain, 45 degree inclines and declines, volcanic rock, very slippery mud. Pretty nasty stuff, the boots were constantly soaked caked in mud and dirt.
Belleville states these boots are "Not For Load Bearing Use," however I ran with 30 pounds and was rucking with about 70 pounds on, I had no issues with either my feet or my knees.
Nothing like Trail Gloves
I hate to damp enthusiasm, but I just got a pair of these delivered after seeing them mentioned in the forum earlier.
I have been wearing Merrill Trail Gloves for about a year and a half, and I love them. Reading the heaping praise and the direct comparison to the trail gloves is the reason I ordered them.
[B]these boots are absolutely nothing like Merrill Trail Gloves [/B]
The soles are so hard and solid they are impossible to flex anywhere but the straight crease under the ball of the foot where all shoes and boots flex.
In fact, the only thing "minimalist" about these boots is the lack of heel rise.
I have three pair of traditional combat boots, all broken in, so I'm not coming at this not knowing what to expect.
These boots are different from them only in the patterns on the sole and a more snug fit mid sole.
The box is average.
I'll be returning them as soon as I can- I am glad you like them, but it's plain misleading to imply that they are anything like Merrill Trail Gloves- they are absolutely not.
Best wishes -