For more than 125 years, Wolverine has been designing boots for the workplace. In fact, when I think of the company, thats what immediately comes to mind – sturdy, rugged, shoes that are popular on logging and construction sites, and a variety of other places. With that legacy in mind, I was surprised when I first saw their new Pulsar hiking boots, which are due out later this spring. Better yet, I was even more pleasantly surprised when I put them on for the first time.
The first thing that will strike you when you lay your eyes on the Pulsar is how different looking they are from any other boot from Wolverine. While many of their work boots share a more staid, locked down design, the Pulsar comes in several different colors and look a bit like a mash-up between a hiking shoe and a sneaker. The shoe incorporates a waterproof, yet highly breathable, Gore-Tex liner, and features an integrated Ortholite footpad. It also uses Wolverine’s patented Individual Comfort System (ICS), which I’ll talk a bit more about shortly.
After I finished admiring the Pulsar’s interesting and refreshing design, I immediately laced them up and slipped them on. Turns out they don’t just look good, they feel great too. I was immediately impressed with how well these boots cradle your feet, particularly along the arches. I also noticed that the footpads molded nicely itself to my feet, which made the shoes even more comfortable after I wore them a time or two. The thick, rugged Vibram soles also go a long way to protecting the bottom of your feet, even while trekking over rocky terrain.
But Wolverine went a step further in ensuring that these will be one of the most comfortable pair of boots you’ve worn by developing their Individual Comfort System. The ICS uses a specially designed gel disc, which sits under the liner in the heel of the shoe. That disc can be rotated to adjust the feel of the boots from a firmer setting, which helps stave off fatigue on longer hikes, to a more cushioned feel, which is designed to maximize the shock absorption. The disc can also be set to compensate between a low or high arched foot as well. The design is actually ingenious and this isn’t simply a marketing ploy on the part o Wolverine. Adjusting the ICS disc did have a noticeable impact on how the shoes felts felt, and the entire system works extremely well.
In case you couldn’t tell, I’m highly impressed with the Pulsar boots. Over the past few weeks, I’ve worst them in all kinds of weather and on all kinds of surfaces, and I’ve found them to be as much fun to wear around town as they are on the trail. A few months back I managed to sprain both ankles, and while they are mostly better now, there are days when they still bother me. But these boots are quite possibly the most comfortable shoe I’ve had on my feet since the injury. After wearing these boots for hours on end, my feet don’t feel nearly as fatigued or tired as some of the other footwear I own, and I can’t think of a better endorsement for these shoes at the moment. I’ve come to enjoy the Pulsar’s so much in fact, that they I’ve worn them more than any other shoe since they arrived at my door.
The Pulsar hiking boots will be available later this spring and while the price hasn’t been finalized yet, they are expected to retail for about $165. I think you’ll find that they are an excellent now option for hiking shoes, and I can’t wait to see what else Wolverine has in store for us.
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