Three years ago when Original
Footwear Company started out, they tried to build a "better
boot." Better meant, more comfortable than any other; and
it also meant the highest level of performance under
They did their homework. They
used their lengthy experience; tested and perfected; and did
everything they knew to build a better boot. But, until they had
tens of thousands of satisfied wearers, the jury was out.
The verdict is in:
is a BETTER BOOT!
And 50,000 wearers have voted
with their feet.
"A better boot will only be
the best boot for a limited time, but it will always be a
"better boot." Terry Mackness, President.
The Cornerstones of Comfort
In creating the Original SWAT® brand, comfort and performance
were the twin objectives. To squeeze as much out of each area
without compromise is the boot maker's art.
"Achieving a balance of the
key characteristics without compromise is what has to be
done." Kevin Cole, Vice President of Product Sourcing.
Here's the key elements of comfort:
- The Last
- The Materials
- Shock Absorption Capacity
- Outsole Design &
- Closure Systems
Simply, the last determines the shape of the boot and
therefore the fit. Each manufacturer has their own last, the
older the Company the more traditional (ex. Military) the last
is likely to be. We developed our own last using a C.A.D. system
that has an athletic heritage, combined with some "Euro
comforte" features. There is a slight curve - familiar to
runners and a roomy toe box to give the toes wiggle and
expansion room and to promote air circulation.
The quality of materials and components makes a difference in
performance & durability. High performance linings are
important as they have to wick significant amounts of moisture
(approx. 1 pint every 3 hrs) away from the foot. The appropriate
use of 1000 nylon and breathable full grain leather facilitate
this process. The heat formed heel counter is the most important
component, ensuring the stability of the foot, and preventing
slippage laterally and length wise. Lack of stability is the
major cause of fatigue and injury.
Shock Absorption Capacity:
In a standing position, 50% of our weight is on the heel, this
is increased by a factor of 3 or 4 when walking or running is
undertaken. Shock absorbing materials can therefore play a big
part in preventing fatigue and injury. We believe that almost an
inch of closed cell foam-injected under pressure - is the most
effective and durable material (referred to as injection molded
The use of air chambers is
popular now that NIKE's patent has expired. However, there are a
number of drawbacks: matching pressures left and right is
impossible to control, extreme temperatures will affect and
change the air pressure as will altitude. Lastly, the lack of
any inherent pressure under impact causes a bounce like
instability. Air is at best a gimmick.
Support comes from a riveted sandwich lasting board that
contains a steel shank, providing both torsion and arch support
which are important where foot strike angles are uneven and
extra weight is being carried. A removable contour molded
innersole complete the support process, ensuring that the
smaller muscles of the foot do no have to work excessively under
extreme performance conditions.
The Key Elements of Performance:
- Outsole Design &
- Closure Systems
- Overall Strength
Being obsessive about weight will generally lead to a reduction
in durability. The art is to maximize strength to a point that
it adds no extra weight. Simultaneously to create a balance
between all components that will enable them to wear at
approximately the same rate as excessive durability will cause
an increase in weight.
"To improve performance in
the athletic sphere, footwear needs to be as light as possible,
without sacrificing its functional integrity." Sebatian
Coe, Olympic Gold Medalist
Outsole Design &
There are two (2) basic outsole designs in use at Original SWAT
®. They are not mutually exclusive, but they are primarily
either indoor or outdoor.
- The outdoor pattern is
non-loading, being designed to shed debris, stones and mud,
and has multi-directional lug patterns to provide lateral
and longitudinal grip.
- The indoor pattern is designed
to increase grip on water slick surfaces, by maximizing the
- Both outsoles are made with
fairly similar rubber compounds that balance performance and
The main characteristics that can
be achieved by adjusting the compounds are increased slip
resistance and resistance to petro chemical substances.
- Laces, metal hardware and
- Functionally, the lacing system
provides the last step in ensuring the foot is correctly
seated and stable.
- Flat laces are not quite as
convenient as round, but are far superior in regard to
performance - particularly slippage.
- "Speed lace" metal
hardware is most useful in the top 4 or 5 eyelets, after the
bottom eyelets have been cinched in place using a
- 5mm (tooth size) zippers from
YKK more than meet the burst strength requirement, and have
good flexibility. The 10mm tooth is less flexible and prone to
snapping under pressure.
A LAST WORD ON STRENGTH AND
"A boot is essentially the
some total of the quality of the components used, good quality
components will produce a strong boot." Richard Vandernoot,