The very first impression you get when you pick up the HAIX Protector Ultra work boots is how incredibly solid they feel. It is immediately apparent that they are high quality and rugged. After wearing them in all conditions for about a month, I can say they are durable and very sturdy, and would be a high-performance boot for ground workers.
The boot laces high on my lower leg, which provides really good ankle support. Where I found them to be the most beneficial is when walking on uneven surfaces, such as around piles of debris or rubble, and on moss-covered ground – even on snow and ice; they do very well in the snow and ice. I can say that in comparison to the Arbpro boots I generally wear for climbing, the Haix do provide better ankle support. I’m less likely to roll my ankle working in high debris piles.
They’ve got some pretty deep lugs on the Vibram sole, which give you a pretty good bite for grip. Since Vibram is a non-slip sole, I imagine these would work fairly well on slick or oily concrete, if that’s in your flight path.
One design element that shows the quality of these boots is that they don’t have many seams. This is great for preventing seam blowouts, and it improves waterproofing. And the steel toe provides the expected protection we sometimes need in this industry.
Another feature that caught my eye is the rollerball-style lacing eyelets that reduce friction and make lacing quick and easy. This seems like it would reduce the wear on the laces so they might last longer. Additionally, two separate sections for lacing allow you to adjust the upper and lower parts of the boot separately for a custom fit. Loosening the upper section and tightening the lower section will allow more flexibility when you need it and will help you out a bit on uneven terrain.
I am really impressed with the neoprene inner sleeve in the boot that hugs your leg and keeps the woodchips out. It doesn’t make your feet that hot, either; the material lets hot air out through vent holes at the top of the boot and does a great job of keeping your feet cool.
The HAIX Protector Ultra are really great cold-weather boots. They are waterproof and well insulated, so add some decent socks and you’ll be good all winter. With the two lacing zones, you can adjust for thick winter socks or thinner summer socks.
I want to address the cut resistance of the HAIX Protector. There are many internal layers of Kevlar covered with leather that form the boot upper, which give the boots their cut resistance as well as exceptional foot support. I think the idea of cut-resistant boots is great, and these boots really deliver. They are built to European and ISO standards for cut protection, so, in my mind, this is an added layer of safety when bucking a log. But I am well aware that cut-
resistant boots do not make me bulletproof. I will always put correct chain-saw use and positioning first in my chain-saw protocols. The HAIX boots just give me that extra level of protection.
As excellent as these boots are, there are a couple of things I’d like to see improved. I tested these boots by tree climbing on actual tree jobs. One of the biggest downsides as a climber is that they didn’t provide a whole lot of support for my spikes. I thought the heel was a little too shallow to fit the spikes, because the stirrup kept sliding off. Maybe I just didn’t have the spikes adjusted right, but it was frustrating.
Also, I thought the toe box was a little big for standing in smaller branch unions, though that’s not a real deal breaker. And I did have a hard time getting these sturdy boots to break in. In the month that I’ve been wearing them, I haven’t quite gotten them dialed in yet. Hopefully, in time, they’ll get there.
I’ll say it again – these boots are really durable. They are extremely sturdy and extremely well constructed. With that thick Vibram sole, I would expect to get somewhere from 10 to 16 months of hard work out of them in all kinds of weather. For bucking logs on the ground and working around brush piles, they are very well suited for groundwork operations in all temperatures and terrain.
Travis Vickerson, CTSP, QCL, is assistant district manager in the Lebanon, New Hampshire, office of Chippers, Inc., now a Davey Tree Care Company, an accredited, 48-year TCIA member company based in Kent, Ohio.
This review reflects the thoughts and opinions of the reviewer as a user and does not constitute or imply an endorsement of the product referenced, and is not an endorsement of any specific company, product or service. Every entity or individual should review and test all products for applicability, safety and efficacy in their particular operation.