I write about military gear quite often, so I tend to receive emails from strangers asking my opinion on many issues. I recently received an email from Dan, a 19-year-old Army Private. He had a question about boots.
Here is a list of Garmont T8 Boots
“A lot of people I know really like Garmonts, but I’m just not sure. They’re made in Italy, and normally I like to buy American products. But I don’t want to miss out on a great boot. What do you think?”
First, thank you for the question. Your email actually touches on two topics I frequently hear: Garmont boots, and the availability of American-made products.
Does it Matter Where Your Boots are Made?
Dan is partially correct about Garmonts. They are an Italian company, although the boots are actually made in Vietnam. Is this an issue? Well, it depends.
For me, I don’t really mind. While I prefer to buy American gear, it’s not like I’m, say, supporting terrorism when I buy a product from Italy. Plus, the boots really are very high quality. I’m a firm believer that the American solider deserves the absolute best. So, for me personally, the quality of the boot is more important than its country of origin (within reason, obviously).
What Makes Garmonts so Special?
Garmont was originally established in 1867. Today, they sell a wide variety of footwear in over 46 countries. They make climbing shoes, running shoes, tactical boots and more.
Garmont takes footwear very seriously, crafting their boots to very exact specifications. Garmont boots are AR 670-1 Compliant. Of course, you should always check with your Unit Commander before purchasing any boots you plan to use while on duty. Generally, however, Garmont boots will be acceptable.
Garmont Product Line
There are four main types of Garmont T8 for sale.
1. The Garmont T8 Bifida
This is the signature boot for the company, designed for basically all conditions and weather situations. The boot is also known as the T8 BIFIDA, after the Vibram cushioning. The boot is made from 1.6mm suede, 250g nylon mesh, and polyester webbing. The heel is thick and tall, which provides a lot of support for heavy loads.
Read our review of the Garmont T8 Bifida here
2. The Garmont T8 NFS
NFS stands for “Need for Speed.” This boot is similar to the T8 only optimized for speed. The outsole lugs are basically cleats, and the boot is very lightweight. There is still plenty of protection, however. These boots are for situations where mobility is the biggest concern.
Read our review of the Garmont T8 NFS here
3. The Garmont T8 LE
This variation of the T8 is customized for law enforcement agents, emergency responders, and other urban professions. The boots are strong, yet light-weight. The cushioning is created for anyone who has to be on their feet for long periods of time, both walking and standing.
4. The Garmont T8 Extreme
While all T8’s can withstand harsh conditions, the T8 Extreme is custom-made for the coldest of cold. This boot will keep your feet warm and dry, even during long periods of standing in snowy, freezing conditions. The boot also provides support for heavy loads.
How do the Boots Fit?
The laces and tongue are connected, so the shoe fits quite securely when laced properly (meaning the tongue is flat). Despite the snug fit, I still had plenty of room to move my toes. Also, the boot is breathable, even in hot weather.
What You Should Know
Expect to pay about $150 to $175. These boots will last at least a year under the heaviest conditions, and even longer with less harsh use. I purchased the Garmont T8 directly from the manufacturer, and the sizing was true to my normal shoe size.
Are These Italian-Made Boots for You?
There is no one correct answer to whether or not foreign-made gear is for you. However, to answer Dan’s question directly, I will say that the quality of the Garmont T8 is very high. A good argument can be made that the quality of the gear is more important than the country of origin.
Personally, I used the Garmont T8 during my years of service. I’ve also had a pair of the T8 NFS boots which I’ve used for hiking, and I’ve enjoyed those boots very much. These boots are definitely worth your consideration.