The Meindl Airstream is a sporty looking chainsaw boot that can be comfortably worn all day
The tongue is a cushioned 3D mesh and highly reticulated perforated sponge material that ensures 33% more breathability than a standard Gore-Tex boot.
Certification CE EN ISO 20345:2004 SB WRU Class 1 (20m/s)
‘A REVOLUTION IN COMFORTABLE FITTING CHAINSAW BOOTS’.
Additional press information maintains that the Airstream is ‘a stand-out-from-the-crowd, modern-looking work boot with many innovative built-in features’.
This Class-1 chainsaw boot has a Gore-Tex waterproof and breathable lining, with a cushioned 3D mesh tongue, which, says the manufacturer, make this boot 33% more breathable than a standard boot. Added comfort and fit comes with the built-in memory foam to the heel area, which provides an individual custom fit to the wearer. Meindl DiGAfix lacing makes for a secure foot hold inside the boot. Protection comes with the high rubber rand around these boots, frontal Kevlar protection, steel toe cap and the famous Meindl multigrip double-density sole unit made by Vibram.
That’s a lot of bold claims to make, so essentialARB was asked to put the boots to the test. David Oliver (of Tales from the Trees fame) has had the boots for three months or so. This is what he had to say…
This has to be one of the most difficult reviews I have written – not because I have anything critical to say or the struggle that being objective over a fault brings, but because of the opposite.
Firstly, and most importantly, the boots come in my size – 9.5 UK (or 44 EU). This matters because having to wear either a size 9 or 10 boot that doesn’t quite fit is extremely annoying. The sizes available range from 6 to 12.
The next thing is that the boots are easy to pull on. After 25 years and the almost inevitable back issues combined with missing finger parts, this is a key feature – particularly first thing in the morning. The laces undo to a point where the boots can be slipped on and off without having to bend down to pull them and adjust the tongue.
As an aside, and it seems irrelevant, the laces are good quality too – not really a deal breaker, but I have worn boots that make me wonder whether
the manufacturers realise what tree surgeons do all day! Boots need to be tied securely.
The tongue is soft and comfy, the boots do indeed mould to your feet, exactly like they say they do – something called Meindl Memory Foam System
The boots claim to have 33% more breathability. I’ve been wearing mine for around 6 weeks through May, June and July, and although my feet have been hot, they aren’t too bad – certainly better than any others I’ve worn.
The Gore-Tex makes them completely waterproof and I know this because my feet were dry in wet long grass and in the river. In fact, because you can tie
them tightly and with ease at the ankle you can prevent some water ingress even if you go too deep.
The features include the standard steel toe cap, good quality soles and grip and a high rubber seal between the sole and the top of the boot – over an inch.
After a month there was no sign of wear and it seems to me that this higher rubber seal could help the longevity of the boot insomuch as there is less opportunity for the boots to ‘separate’ where the sole meets the leather/suede. Whether or not this proves true remains to be seen, but one of my men, who has had the same boots for 6 months, reports no signs of wear.
There is Class 1 20m/second chainsaw protection. I haven’t tested this – it would be a shame as I don’t want to damage the comfiest boots I’ve ever worn. And that’s the point. It’s easy to read the leaflet and copy out a few of the selling features, but I was given these boots to test, which is what really matters, how they feel. On this alone they are faultless.
From day one I forgot that I was conducting a test, because I forgot I was wearing them. I’ve worn them for hiking, tree surgery, farming and even to
the Arb Show and I can’t think of a single criticism. At the end of the day I wear them to do the office work because there’s no particular rush to take them
off, unlike some boots, which I can’t bear to be in any longer than I have to.
I also fell out of a tree in them, not because they didn’t grip, but because I failed to put my rope around anything whilst abseiling down a larch I was felling. I’m certain that I fell 25ft (though my men reckon it was only 15), and I landed on my feet. This really was the ultimate test because where I hurt my knees, back and (oddly) my elbow, my ankles were totally supported and undamaged.
Although it makes me look like a covert Meindl employee, I’m not going to find fault with the boots.
I’m sure there are plenty of other good boots out there. Whether or not they are as good, and at the same price (£179 RRP), I don’t know, but I don’t
really need to know – these will do me.
(EssentialARB Summer 2014)
Sizes: 37 - 51 (EU sizing)
Take a closer look at the Airstream
Competition winners Will Clarke and Anna recently received their Meindl Vitalis Mid boots from the staff at The Great Outdoors in DublinRead in full