Last spring, Tools asked me to review a pair of boots from Oliver Boots. They are being distributed in the U.S., but are made by an Australian company. Because this is is a totally new manufacturer to me, I asked for a pair to try out over the summer.
This work boot is a hiking-style shoe. While there is a waterproof version, I chose the vented non-waterproof model for the summer. A few years back, I reviewed a boot from Keen (mid top Flint) similar to this style and liked it a lot, though it didn’t last all that long. I like wearing a steel toe now, and that boot had a steel toe and was vented like this boot from Oliver.
This boot from Oliver looks like a bulked up version of a hiking shoe, but it is definitely designed for the jobsite. It features a steel toe that is wide enough in the toe box for my feet. Oliver calls the steel toe “NATRUEform Profile (I am flat-footed and some steel-toed boots I’ve tried on didn’t leave enough room and my toes chafed). The sole of the boot is designed to reduce the flow of electricity, reducing the possibility of electrocution; and the boot is oil resistant and is supposed to last longer when exposed to chemicals.
The foot bed of this shoe is something Oliver calls “Nanolite” and is said to circulate air better (reducing odor) and “massage” the foot while walking, thanks to a slightly raised surface. It also is said to promote greater blood flow to help reduce fatigue. As a general observation, I notice in the summer when it is hot out that my feet are more tired at the end of the day. I think walking on hot subfloor is the cause, but I did notice that my feet were a little less fatigued in these boots than in others I’ve worn. I can still feel a little sore at the end of the day, and it feels good to take my boots off, but I think there is some validity to Oliver’s claim.
This boot has a “midfoot cage” designed to keep the foot in place and not slide around, and I definitely can attest to this. This shoe feels nice and secure but not tight. It is a little taller than most hiking shoes or hiking-style work boots I’ve worn on the jobsite, but not bothersome. It also has a toe bumper that is made of abrasion-resistant rubber.
According to the Fitbit HR I wear at work (and all day now), I averaged 13,000 steps a day in these boots. I did not get any blisters at all or sore spots. They were comfortable right out of the box. I wore them doing foundation work and placing concrete and have gotten concrete all over them and after washing them off, I don’t see any damage. By comparison, I really only got one summer out of the mid-top Keens before they were cracked and worn; these Oliver shoes are holding up very well. I think I can get at least next summer out of them.
I recommend them if you need a shoe for summer that is ventilated, rugged, has a steel toe, but isn’t too heavy. Oliver sells them on their website for $145. It was recommended to me to size up a half size, but the 11 was way too big. I found the 10 ½ size to be true to size.
One last note, Oliver has a 30-day comfort guarantee. I’m quoting directly from the tag that came with these boots: “Try a pair of correctly fitted Oliver Boots for 30 days. If you are not completely satisfied, return them to the specialist dealer you bought them from and they will exchange or refund. (Must provide dated receipt and this guarantee tag).” Hard to say no to that.