Scree Collar: The padded, upper rim of the shaft. If you’ve endured a hard boot collar that cut into your leg, you’ll appreciate a padded scree collar. The name suggests this seals the boot against your leg to prevent gravel (scree) from falling inside, but in practice the collar mainly cushions the leg against the stiff edge of the shaft.
Linings: Boot interiors used to be lined with soft leather, which shrank and cracked. Cambrelle, a synthetic fabric, is the most common liner today. It helps move moisture away from your foot/sock and protects anything layered beneath such as foam padding, insulations or Gore-Tex.
Gore-Tex Bootie: Gore-Tex is not a fabric but a film or membrane that looks much like a milky white plastic garbage bag. The difference is this film of plastic has tiny pores large enough for water vapor to pass through, but not liquid water. It is shaped like a bootie, its seams sealed with Gore-Tex tape, and it is either laminated to a fabric (like the liner) or suspended in the boot between protective inner layers to prevent abrasion. So as not to puncture this lining, the booties are sewn in only along the upper rim of the boot. They add about $20 to $30 to the cost of boots.
Achilles’ Hinge: Also called a flex-notch. A wedge of thin, flexible leather inset at the back of the boot where the Achilles tendon flexes. Designed to minimize binding.
Lace-to-Toe Construction: Lacing that extends well below the instep nearly to the toes. This form of lacing permits the boot to be spread open widely for getting feet in and out, then custom tightened low around the foot to accommodate thicker or thinner socks and to secure the foot against slipping forward while going steeply downhill.
Lacing System: Eyelets are holes through which laces run, usually lined with metal rings. Hooks are just that, metal hooks set where eyelets would naturally be. D-rings are loops of hard wire that pivot freely on hinges. Locking hooks are narrow enough in the center to partially grip laces, keeping them tight while you finish tying. They are usually set back at the instep, which provides additional ankle support. Some boots now use fabric lacing loops sewn into panels within the uppers. These do not cut into laces the way some metal eyelets can and are quite light.
The advantage to D-rings is speed. Laces slip through with minimal friction so you can tighten them through several D-rings simultaneously. Hooks lace up fairly quickly. You don’t have to poke lace ends through each one as with eyelets. But hooks can snag forest debris, pant cuffs and lacing loops. This can lead to a painful face-plant. Eyelets are simple and effective, but are slow to lace. Many boots combine eyelets or fabric loops low over the vamp, where laces are rarely loosened, with D-rings or hooks up the shaft where laces are regularly loosened.
Welt: A type of connection between the upper and sole. In a Goodyear Welt a ribbon of leather (welt) is stitched to the bottom edge of the upper. The outer edge of welt is then stitched to the sole. This means soles can easily be replaced. A cheaper way to attach is to flare the bottom edge of the upper and stitch it directly to the sole. The problem with stitching upper to sole is that the stitching breaks. Welts can be glued or cemented to the soles.
Rand: A band of hard rubber extending from the outsole up over the toe and/or sides of the boot. This is the best thing to happen to boots since leather. A rand protects the most vulnerable parts of the boot from abrasion. A high rand combined with a thick sole can provide 2 inches of waterproof height while leaving more than enough leather exposed for foot perspiration to escape.
Exoskeleton or Frame: PU extensions of the outsole or midsole that wrap up the sides of boots to provide additional lateral support. Often tie into the lacing system.
Now that we know the parts of a boot and how they contribute to performance and comfort, we should investigate the materials that make or break them. That comes next in Part 3 of this report.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3