The British Army Karrimor Special Forces Cold Weather combat boots are outstanding. Tested in typical UK winter conditions, and continuously for a period of ten days and nights on snow, these boots kept this writer, photographer, and outdoors enthusiast warm in temperatures ranging from +3C to -1C during the day, and -1C to -10C at night. Whatever your profession, these boots are highly recommended for cold weather work especially when there's snow on the ground.
On arrival in the UK in January 2021 I wore the Karrimor SF combat boots during ten days quarantine camping outside during a snap of snow and cold weather. After a lifetime wearing boots from British Army issue in the 1980's through numerous Timberlands to generic textile hiking boots to a range of motorcycle racing and touring boots, the Karrimor Special Forces Cold Weather Combat boots impressed me.
The boots were Grade A army surplus purchased from armysales.co.uk in Yorkshire (no longer stocked but still available through army surplus vendors nationwide) and shipped to my address in North England in twenty-four hours. On arrival the boots showed very little sign of wear.
Comfort: 10/10. Relative to civilian Timberland boots and Daytona motorcycle touring boots, the Karrimor SF combat boots rate as the most comfortable boots this tester has ever worn. They are heavy but they are made for heavy use in cold and wet conditions. While fit is an individual requirement, if they do fit your foot shape they will provide excellent levels of performance.
Running approximately one mile every day to maintain fitness, and used for fartlek training, the boots were unusually comfortable. Their shock protection was excellent. They protected my ageing knees very effectively during a regular five foot wall jump and the daily runs.
Sizing: Purchased in size 10M. Normal foot size UK 9.5 or Euro 43. The size 10 felt like a good fit for a UK9.5 foot.
Insulation from Cold: 10/10 within the range tested. Tested on snow for a period of ten days, the boots provided a high level of insulation and comfort. At no time did this wearer's feet feel cold. Thereafter, despite working in an unheated building with a cold concrete floor from January to April, the Karrimor SF combat boots kept this user's feet warm and dry throughout.
Grip: The level of grip is as expected for a Vibram sole. They performed well in dry and wet snow, and they did not hold inordinate amounts of mud in wet conditions. They do not provide enhanced levels of grip for walking on ice. Crampons or spikes would be required.
Waterproofness: 10/10. No water penetrated the boots despite immersion in ankle high water in a local river. The liners dried out every evening inside my tent.
Durability: Worn for 3 1/2 months the Karrimor SF boots showed slight signs of use. The Karrimor SF combat boots appear to be very well made and promise a significant lifespan. They can be resoled when required.
A note to first time users, keep the boots clean and well maintained and they will reward you with extended lifespan. I used my own beeswax preparation and Hide Food to maintain the leather.
In comparison to the British Army AKU Pilgrim GTX hot weather boots, the Karrimor SF's are heavier and feel substantially more protective and durable. They cushion one's lower joints when running better than the lighter Pilgrim's. They are supplied with good laces and the lacing system is reliable.
Overall, an excellent boot and highly recommended. These boots offer excellent comfort, insulation, waterproofing, and they can be resoled. The best general purpose cold weather boots this reviewer has worn.
- Full grain MOD brown leather upper
- Male and female styles for optimum fit and performance
- Gore-Tex waterproof membrane keeps your feet dry in extreme conditions
- 3M Thinsulate lining provides warmth while assisting breathability and comfort
- Quality Defender outsole for grip and shock absorption
- Internal shank provides stiffness and support on rough uneven ground
- Innovative fast-lace system with lace lock and strong metal non-reflective fittings
- Gaiter compatible with protective rubber rand
- Supplied with spare laces and additional cold weather insoles
- Sizing: UK 6 to 13 (no half sizes)
- Width fitting options M (medium) or W (wide)
- Weight: around 1200g per pair (unconfirmed)
- Colour: MOD Brown
- NATO Stock Number: 8430-99-617-4398