My Life Long Struggle To Find A Good Pair Of Wellies
It’s not until you’ve used a range of wellington boots over a number years that you begin to appreciate “good quality” – I myself have fallen for marketing hype and gimmicks, I have bought cheap and have been quickly disappointed, and I’ve often been let down by more expensive brand wellies too. So onward and upwards, I keep on looking, with a keener eye each time for the things that really matter
1. good quality materials
2. functional, tried and tested design
3. hard wearing and comfortable
Yeah, so that’s the basis of any brands USP’s, so actually its a continuous process of me buying and trying until I get the winning formula… until now that is.
Viking Force 2 Boots
I am really happy to have been given a pair of the Force 2 Neoprene Lined Wellington Boots made by Viking Footwear that I have been using hard over the last few weeks. Viking are a Norwegian manufacturer and have been developing and making industrial quality boots for the likes of farmers, fishermen, and hunters since the 1920’s.
On paper the Force 2 boots certainly look like they are more than sufficient for the types of environment where I would be using them – and I had particular interest in Vikings own UGC (Ultimate Grip Concept) sole design which features on Viking’s range of hiking boots and rough terrain footwear.
Click on images to ENLARGE ….
The Force 2 boots are “field boots” hand made by Viking Footwear from natural rubber. Viking has created a unique rubber blend to decrease the boots weight up to 30%. Natural rubber is combined with a less dens material and is processed in the same manner as standard rubber with all of the beneficial properties being kept. The rubber is very durable and flexible, perfect for building hard wearing wellington boots.
The thickness of the rubber varies throughout the boot with triple layers being used to reinforce around the foot and shin areas, this makes for a very durable boot and offers stability and protection to my feet.
The boots have a full neoprene lining (approx 2-3mm) which provides extra support, comfort, and warmth to the welly. Neoprene is an excellent lining in the event that you accidentally fill your boot with water, which happens to me now and again when I am beach fishing and misjudge waves in the dark when casting. The Neoprene, being the same material as a wet-suit will warm your feet even when wet.
The Force 2 wellington boots have a rubber waterproof gusset with an adjustable strap to adjust the width of the wellies to the size of your calves. The ends of the strap are fixed (I am assuming they are glued) under rubber patches to the side of the gusset. I have pulled and tugged on these and they are really well fixed – on other brand boots I have caught and broken these very easily which is quite frustrating but the Viking boots appear to be very solid.
With the welly on, I can easily cinch down the top of the boot to my calf and fix in place with the locking buckle. The folded rubber gusset folds down against my outer leg really comfortably and doesn’t protrude or rub when I am walking – Viking have clearly paid close attention to the design here (where I know from experience that other manufacturers haven’t).
The boots have some trim along the top edge so the edges don’t dig into your leg – these small touches make all the difference when you’ve been wearing them for several hours.
UGC – Ultimate Grip Concept
I mentioned earlier, one of the main things that caught my eye about the Force 2 boots was the outer sole and the grips that Viking had included. In my opinion, having a good grip is just as important as being waterproof in a wellington boot – whats the point in being just waterproof if I’ve slipped and fallen on the wet ground anyway right?
UGC® is Viking’s unique sole technology. It is designed and developed to give perfect grip in rough terrain and on wet and slippery surfaces. Originally developed for hunting and mountain boots in Norway, they have clearly implemented some time into R&D and tested these well (in some harsh Norwegian environments).
- Viking’s rubber mixture with a softness of 60 Shore for maximum grip and durability.
- Asymmetrical lug pattern that also provides good drainage.
- Lugs placed in different directions provide grip, traction and braking power at all conceivable angles and in all types of terrain.
- A recessed torsion bar for extra grip when this part of the sole impacts against rocks, roots and slippery surfaces
The sole looks pretty gnarly and I was looking forward to putting this to the test on a variety of different terrains (mud, wet grass, weed covered rocks, shingle etc), all tricky ones that quite often unravel a lot of tested footwear. – I was pretty confident in the Vikings though I must say….
Out In The Field
I have tested the Viking Force 2 boots over various difficult and often unpredictable terrains with great results. Trips out walking and fishing around the coast have thrown me into mud, sand, water, wet leaves, rocks etc and the Force 2 boots just eats it all up. Scrambling over beach boulders (something I wouldn’t dare wear wellies for usually) was completely fine, the grips bit into the weed nicely. I still found myself unnecessarily waving my arms back and forth like an elephant on ice skates in the beginning, but with no slips and no problems, my original confidence in the traction of the UGC grips was confirmed.
I have worn these boots for some recent beach fishing trips too, for several hours stood (often in cold water) watching my rods, plus a nice hike there and back with my gear too. The boots proved to be REALLY comfortable and warm, and I definitely appreciated the Neoprene lining which gave superb insulation to my feet when I was in the surf casting out.
TIP: when I have been wading in salt water, I always wash down rubber boots with freshwater afterwards, this prevents any degradation caused by the salt water and keeps them in good condition longer.
The Force 2 boots are really comfortable when standing on my feet all day, and for walking distances while hunting or fishing. These boots feel like walking on a pillow (thanks to the cushioned insole) compared to my other wellington boots. I never regarded wellies as choice footwear for walking longer distances, but my mind has been changed by the Viking Force 2 boots.
The Viking Force 2 boots are an exceptional pair of wellington boots. They are very well made and the materials come together to form strong and durable, yet extremely comfortable waterproof footwear. I can happily wear these boots all day long, and walk for miles without discomfort. If you’ve been on the painful journey (like me) of numerous badly made welly fails, I recommend just skipping straight to the Viking Force 2 boots and save yourself some anguish – 10/10 Brilliant!
The Viking Force 2 boots retail at £129.00 GBP which in my opinion is a fair price to pay for the quality and will outlast and out-perform any bots I have tried so far in my life. Also available without Neoprene lining (called “Trophy”)
- Thick neoprene lining, particularly suitable for the winter
- Ultralight natural rubber
- UGC® rubber outsole with trekking profile
- Lateral calf width adjustment
- Footbed like trekking shoes
- Excellent fit for long walks
- Colour: olive
- RRP: £129.00
A Big Thanks to:
A big thanks to the guys at Koolbox.co.uk for the opportunity to try out the Viking Force 2 Boots