Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Belleville Tactical Research Mini-Mil Review
A few months ago while searching for a new pair of boots I came across the Belleville TR Mini-Mil's or Minimalistic Boots. The Mini-Mil's are basically a combat boot that has been engineered to mimic Vibram 5 fingers or other "barefoot" athletic footwear. Most boots are super heavy and hot. I wanted to see how the Mini-Mil's performed in my area (we have extremely hot summers).
If you will notice in the picture above- The Mini-Mil compared to a USMC Issued Belleville boot (both boots are the same size). The USMC Boot looks substantially larger than the Mini-Mil. Mainly due to the lining, padding, and sole in traditional boots. By removing those components this allowed the Mini-Mil to feel as though I was not wearing footwear at all. They also integrated a 5 millimeter "drop" that allows for more of a barefoot or flat footed feel, unlike traditional boots where you have an elevation in the heel of the boot. The drawback to this being a lack of shock absorption in the boot. Making it important to understand that although this is a boot, it still is minimalistic footwear and you should transition into these. Like you would with other minimalistic footwear. The Mini-Mils come with a note explaining the transition period and at what length of time you should wear them while developing your muscles/feet for minimalistic footwear.
I was able to test the Mini-Mil's for a three month period. Using them daily walking around town, running, and wearing them to the field doing survival stuff. They were extremely comfortable to wear and hugged the foot quite well. Mostly due to the light weight and expanded toe box. I'd been using minimalistic footwear for awhile- so it was a rather smooth transition for me. The only problem I encountered within the first few days was a rubbing of the heal cap on my left foot. I had a hot spot for the first few days. Once the boots were broken in I no longer had that problem.
The Mini-Mils are also fitted with Vibram Soles (they are some of the best soles around). Even with a minimalistic sole these boots did not sacrifice durability. These soles are tough and had lots of grip to help with scaling rough terrain or slick surfaces.
I also appreciated the improved boot laces. I don't know how many times I would have boot laces break in the field. The ones included with the Mini-Mil seem to be 550 cord and are much more durable than others I've used.
Overall I'd highly suggest these boots to anyone that has been conditioning themselves to minimalist footwear or even those that are wanting to transition to it. With the 5mm drop this would be a good "middle ground" to get started with. Not only are they comfortable but they look great as well. I received numerous compliments as well as a few friends purchasing them after seeing mine. My experience with Belleville has always been a top notch product. I wouldn't hesitate purchasing this boot or any others produced by them.
These boots come in tan and black. Find more information at: Belleville Boot