Back in January of 2020, SurvivalBlog’s Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio reviewed the Blackhawk 6-inch Trident Ultralite Boots, and caught my attention. I am wary of buying gear online without physically holding something in my hands and trying it on. But I have used many Blackhawk products over the last 10 years and have been pleased with the price point and quality of their items. I had my boots picked out waiting in my shopping cart on Blackhawk’s website for several months until they went on sale for Father’s day in June of 2020 and I purchased them for right around $100, including shipping. I have now owned the boots for almost a year and I wore them every day to work for the past 12 months, five days a week as well as on evening walks with my family. Unfortunately, I have not been on a cross-country hike in those 12 months but my work environment has supplied a varied testing ground for these boots and I feel I can give a decent review for anyone looking for survival footwear.
I work as a groundskeeper for a large university in the Southwest where the temperature reaches 110 degrees and up in the summer (today we’re expecting 113 degrees). The terrain I walk on campus varies from cement, asphalt, dirt, sand, gravel, decorative river rock and a lot of masonry brick work. I wanted a boot that was lightweight, breathable, and provided aggressive grip on a variety of surfaces. My previous boot was a pair of Redwing Irish Setters Farmington Soft Toe, which had a very slick tread and were dangerous in slippery conditions. A side note on Redwings is sadly half the store’s boots are not made in America anymore and the quality and tolerances show in the cheaper boots made in other countries. The best boots I have ever owned were a pair of Redwing model 899s (made in USA) which were unfortunately discontinued and replaced with some really goofy futuristic designs by Redwing.
Back to the Blackhawk Trident boots, I’ll go over my personal pros and cons I have experienced over the last year. I chose the coyote brown color option and was pleased to see in person that it was a somewhat darker shade of coyote brown and did not scream tactical, a plus for the grey-man philosophy. The six-inch “collar” design makes these boots easy to get on and off and the shorter length does not require a zipper down the side of the boot like other military style boots. The outer design almost looks more like a hiking boot to me instead of a tactical boot, with ample rubberized reinforcements in areas prone to damage. The outer layers of material have taken a good beating over the last year and the only signs of wear are discoloration from the harsh sun and chemicals I work with. Some of the protective rubberized coating on the inner big toe portion of the boots is starting to peel but seems firmly held in place where it meets the other fabrics.
The tongue is made of what I believe is Blackhawk’s antibacterial fabric and is very breathable and somewhat water-resistant at the same time. The shoelace grommets are a mix thick fabric loops and two types of metal grommets. This is commonly a weak point I have encountered with boots but these seem solid. I did have one of the factory-provided laces snap about a month ago which I replaced with a stronger lace.
The sole of the boots provides an aggressive grip on many surfaces and elevations while still being comfortable walking on smooth surfaces. The inner sole/support of the boot is very comfortable right out of the box and provides decent relief for high arches and good cushioning for the heel of the foot. One of the selling points of these boots is how lightweight they are. Personally, I don’t mind wearing a heavy pair of leather boots all day, but the lightweight aspect of the Blackhawk Trident Boot may be desirable for those who might strap a pair of these to a pack as a backup pair. As far as hot or freezing conditions go, I feel that other boots on the market may cover a larger reach of seasons than the Trident boots. Our winters here only get down to low 30 degree temperatures, but without the right socks, these boots were noticeably cold this past winter.
I cannot speak to their protection against heavy rain or snow as we rarely see that weather here, but as a summer boot, they are great. I mentioned Blackhawk’s antibacterial fabric earlier, and as a guy with smelly feet I can say I have noticed these boots don’t stink like others that I have owned.
My first big observed downfall with these boots is a small design flaw in the tongue. Where the tongue meets the body of the boots just underneath the lowest set of lace grommets, there is a small hole on either side that lets sand and other small debris funnel into the shoe on top of the foot, which then finds its way under your foot and finer dust filters into your socks. This can be incredibly irritating and possibly dangerous if enough particles infiltrate your socks and rub the wrong parts of your foot. I’m sure I could sew these small holes shut or apply some glue but it hasn’t become much of an issue for an eight-hour workday. However, on a long hike on loose terrain I think this flaw would become a problem quickly.
My second problem with these boots is something I have experienced with other lightweight boots over the years that I describe as “sole compression”. After a year of use, the absorbency and impact resistance of the heel and arch area has become condensed and not as comfortable for repetitive movement. I believe this happens both from the foam sole material being compressed from long-term use as well as the tread being worn down.
A good pair of leather boots with thick rubber soles can be re-soled for many years of use, but the Blackhawk Trident Boots along with other military-style boots seem to have a shorter life span unless someone knows a way to re-sole these types of boots (I am no expert). Two final notes- these boots are not offered in wide sizes but are still comfortable for people like me with wide feet. Also, they are made in China if that is a deal-breaker for you.
To conclude, I would recommend these boots to anyone looking for a ready-to-go, no nonsense boot that can take a beating. Are they my forever boots? Sadly, no, I am still looking for the perfect boots that will serve me for years to come. Are they a great pair of boots to have a pair or two stored for a rainy day? Definitely, and I hope to purchase another pair if they go on sale this upcoming Father’s Day. Happy Father’s Day and stay safe everyone.