Review: The Airseal Para Boots made by Vegetarian Shoes

Product Review by Kirk Brown • August 23, 2015
Vegetarian Shoes Para Boot
Vegetarian Shoes Para Boot

Quality Rating: 10/10

  • CharitableCharitable
  • Sustainable ClothingSustainable Clothing
  • VeganVegan
  • American & UK Made ClothingAmerican & UK Made Clothing

In a Nutshell

These sturdy boots live up to all of the claims made for them.   These are high-quality, long lasting, cruelty-free and surprisingly durable boots. Tested over five years, these ethically made boots by Vegetarian Shoes go above and beyond the burden of proving that ethically made boots can be of the highest quality.  Make a quick visit to their profile if you want to find out more about this charitable company that offers vegan, U.K. made products and environmentally friendly sourced materials.

I’m a fairly active and adventuresome fella and these boots are a terrific staple to daily grinding and many adventures.  The thing about adventures is that they share a common thread with daily living, it’s not all risk and spontaneity, being prepared for many eventualities allows you to be available for more adventures than you might expect.  One way to be prepared for adventure or even the dynamic mundane is with a versatile boot.

5 Claims to Test the Airseal Para Boots

As the ‘flagship boot’ for Vegetarian Shoes the Airseal Para Boot has a lot of claims to live up to.

  • Provides excellent shock absorption
  • Insulated
  • Durable – wears well, ages well
  • Breathable
  • Water resistant

 

If you read this in depth review you can’t even begin to imagine how much time and money I am going to save you.  You could probably learn that doughnut recipe and have a doughnut with the leftover time.   Or at least enjoy a cup of coffee while you read this review.

First I’ll give you a review of the claims made by Vegetarian Shoes and afterward I’ll give you the whole story.  It’s a good story about a boy and a boot.  It’s full of adversity and fire breathing unicorn dragons.

Finding the right boot takes time and moral fortitude.  The claims of boot makers abound and sadly they are often too good to be true.  Fortunately for you I was willing to brave the tenuous waters of these grandiose claims.  Let the testing by fire commence!

Durable –  Long Lasting and Resilient

Vegetarian Shoes Airseal Para Boots are Very Durable
Airseal Para Boots by Vegetarian Shoes are very durable, a solid boot.

The Takeaway:  These boots surpassed my expectations for durability.    They are stitched and welded onto a Goodyear welt, that doesn’t mean much to me but what means a lot to me is that after five years of hard use, the craftsmanship remains reliable.   The steel toe has retained its shape through many a sternly nudged farm implement.   I would highly recommend these well-crafted boots if you are looking for a pair that can endure a variety of harsh climates, a variety of situations where they are used hard and want a long lasting boot.   A+ for durability.

Water Resistant – These Boots Do a Good Job Keeping the Water Out

Airseal Para Boots by Vegetarian Shoes are Water Resistant
Airseal Para Boots by Vegetarian Shoes are a great water resistant boot

The Takeaway:  I hate wet foot.  These boots are very water resistant.   A+ for water resistant.

The terms water resistant and water proof mean very different things when it refers to shoes/boots.  Water proof is for higher exposure to water like shoveling snow, whereas water resistant would be geared more for a wet road.   That being said when I shoveled snow my feet didn’t get wet.

Breathable – These Boots Let Your Feet Breathe

Airseal Para Boots are water proof
The Airseal Para Boot by Vegetarian Shoes lives up to its claim to be breathable

The Takeaway:  I love saunas but I don’t want my boot to be a foot sauna.  These boots are breathable.  I comfortably wore these in hot and humid climates. I wore these boots on the US west coast and in the mid-west (US mid-west) 100+ degree fahrenheit and high humidity summers.   In high action situations in the hot and the humid, these boots were breathable.  A+ for breathable.

Insulated – Cold Weather Boots

vegetarian-shoes-airseal-boots-insulated
Freezing in the morning, shorts in the afternoon.  Airseal Para Boots have the versatility to be right for a dynamic climate

The Takeaway:   I give these boots a B+ grade for insulation because the all season versatility I found with this boot more than makes up for them not being the warmest boots out there.   As much as I hate sauna foot and wet foot, I hate frozen foot.  These boots run a thin line between being too warm or not warm enough.    I suggest a weather appropriate sock for whichever shoe or boot you’ll be using.

Shock Absorption – Use These Boots to do Stuff Like Dig, Climb, Walk and Hike

vegetarian-shoes-airseal-boots-shock-absorption
View from the top of a grain bin. While climbing is off use for these boots, I found them good for digging, walking, hiking and climbing ladders and rocks.

The Takeaway:  I give an A grade for shock absorption.   I used these boots with ease to pound a spade into my large garden, I hiked, climbed, walked, jog and ran with them.    I found these hardy boots to be ideal for heavier use like digging and fine enough for off specialization use like running on occasion and hiking.   They handled well for me on the many 14+hr days I would be on my feet.

The International Hunt for a Great Boot Begins

After five years I still love my Airseal Para Boots by Vegetarian Shoes
Me and my Airseal Para Boots by Vegetarian Shoes enjoying a coffee after five years together

It was around five years ago and I needed a new pair of boots, but not just any boots. I wear through shoes in a very short amount of time, in as little as six months I will demolish a shoe beyond hope for redemption.  Demolish.

Not only is durability an issue but I want a boot that I can replace the sole when the time comes (no need to start all over if the rest of the boot is fine). A good boot is an investment.  I like making good, scratch that, I like making great investments.

Having been the happy owner of boots before I was willing to take my boot ownership to the maximum level, I wanted a lifetime boot.  I had a few hundred dollars put aside to ensure that I got a fantastic boot.

I was new to the search for ethically made clothing when I began my hunt.   Being from the states I started looking for a boot that was made in America.  I was surprised at that point at how hard it was to find a quality boot (much less anything else) made in the U.S.  I spent months traveling my state to different boot stores and searching online.  And then inquiring on the ethics of companies behind the materials, the manufacturers and the employees got me many a bewildered look and the statement, “I don’t know, we just sell boots.”

Well I would like to buy some just boots, that is the very issue.   When a friend suggested I check out Vegetarian Shoes it was time to take my search for a great boot to global proportions.  The first thing I noticed was how large the selection was.  My search was over when I found the Airseal Para Boots.

I had a fair amount of money left over after I made my purchase, which was quite a pleasant surprise.  I followed the sizing directions on their site and didn’t have to send my pair back.

These Boots Were Made for Walking – The Whole True Story of a Boy and His Boot

Airseal Para Boots get the job done
Still standing after five years of the toughest trials. Long live my Airseal Para Boots by Vegetarian Shoes

So here’s the whole story of the life I gave these boots. I offer a consolidated, season by season, snap shot of the punishment these resilient boots endured.  Then I offer a review of these boots in terms of style.

These Boots Were Made for Spring

In the spring it’s just above freezing when I prepped my gardens for planting.   Lace these boots up and get ready to dig into a sprawl of dark thawing dirt.   Aw, gardening, that’s nice.

One garden was around 30ft. X 50ft., and the other was 12ft. X 25ft. and I prepped them with a spade and a garden hoe (both of which I purchased believing to be made in America only to learn the sneaky phrase “assembled in America”). Kick after kick on the steel edge of the spade, my boot drove it into the fertile earth.  I once made the mistake of wearing a lighter shoe and in a day the sole was ruined.  Ruined.

I should mention that the second garden required a fair amount of walking to get to.  It was a fine enough hike through dense but not entirely forbidding brush with a side of sand.

In the spring, when I wasn’t gardening I worked at a restaurant.  I used these boots to wait tables.  I pounded a lot of concrete and a lot of dirt.  With a little bit of clean up I would wear these boots in the garden in the morning and at the restaurant in the evening, or vice versa.

These Boots Were Made for Summer

Airseal Para Boot by Vegetarian Shoes is fit for summer
The Airseal Para Boot by Vegetarian Shoes is a good all season boot.

In the summer the rain had forced the river that was close to my second garden to rise over the trail and path I took to get there.  This meant that when there was work to be done I either had to wade through the river to get there or wait for everything to dry up.

There was too much risk involved in letting everything dry up so I waded the at times waist high river trail to get to the patch of higher land that my second garden was in.  Once I had got out of the river I found it amusing that I would have to take these boots off and empty the water.  Yeah, these boots are so water resistant that they hold water.

Summers in the mid-west United States are stinking hot and stinking humid.  The high humidity where I was is because of the water given off the corn fields (it’s a lot of corn and also a lot of field).  Days can reach far beyond one-hundred degrees fahrenheit and can be complemented with a hell originated humidity that will make you wish for death if you step out of any kind of air conditioning (people do die there from heat every year, and that’s a little less amusing).

I wore these boots while I waited tables in the summer.  Pals of mine and myself would enjoy hiking through the countryside as well.  I loved having these boots to wear while kicking through dense brush, or traipsing a field.

I wore these boots on the West Coast of the United States in the summer. Walked through mountains and along oceans. I never really enjoyed spending much time in any shoe on the sand. While climbing rock ledges and easier mountain paths it was a relief to know I had a  boot I could count on.

These Boots Were Made for Autumn

vegetarian-shoes-airseal-boots-made-for-autumn
I found these to be great all season boots, Autumn was no exception

In the fall it was time to dig the potatoes out of my garden and harvest the rest of my produce.  Once that harvest was done, I was off to my Grandpa’s to work on the farm. I wore these boots in the fields, the tractors, up and down the ladder to the grain bins and around the farm.  I wore these boots while I dug a combine out of a wet field.

It starts to cool off quite rapidly in the mid-west US in the fall.  In a matter of a month you go from wearing shorts to wearing a winter jacket, insulated hat, scarf, heavy gloves and insulated overalls.  And yep, you’ll see ice in the morning and 60 degrees in the afternoon.  So unless you plan on changing shoes throughout the day you need a boot that can handle a dynamic climate and dynamic activity.

These Boots Were Made for Winter

During a mid-west winter it would be nice to stay inside.  Especially on the below zero degree fahrenheit days.  But there’s a stupid driveway to shovel that has an inch of ice underneath a foot of snow with snow drifts three feet high.  Time to lace the boots back up and head out to a climate where your runny nose freezes on your scarf in less than a minute (we time this sort of thing where I’m from, we don’t go in for that hyperbole stuff).

You know what’s nice in weather like this, having a boot that you won’t lose your feet in (people die in this cold of weather as well).  At the restaurant I waited tables in the spring, I shoveled snow and laid salt and waited tables in the winter.

In this region, if you are outside, you are going to walk on ice, and you are going to walk through snow.  That is how it is going to be no matter what you do about it.  What you can do something about is what you put on your feet (besides a weather appropriate sock) and that is to get a sturdy boot like this, one that you can trust in harsh climates and hard use.

These Boots Were Made for Style

Most likely you won’t be grabbing these boots for a venture down the catwalk.   I found these boots to possess a higher versatility than a high fashion boot.  These boots walked me through weddings, formal and informal meetings and occasions.

I was on the management team at the restaurant where I also waited tables and laid salt and shoveled snow.  When they would regularly get caked with clay and mud they required a good brushing and an effective polish which I also got from Vegetarian Shoes to make them presentable.  They clean up well and look sharp (as much as any shoe can look sharp with the few inches that show beneath the pants line).

These Boots Were Made for Me

Airseal Boots by Vegetarian Shoes are the boots for me
Airseal Boots by Vegetarian Shoes are the boots for me

It’s been a number of years for me and it’s time to get new soles on these guys.  One of the things I hate about shoes and boots is those obnoxious shoe strings that break. After five years I still have the original laces.  I expect at least another five great years with these solid boots and probably a lifetime more.  These boots were a great investment for me and I would imagine them to be a terrific investment for you.

As for cushion, I can’t speak much on what it comes with.  I add an in-sole to all of my shoes.  I have become my father as I have gotten older and have reveled in the benefit of ensuring proper arch support with all of my shoes.  I have a particular in-sole I don’t deviate from.

If you read this post you can relax because you don’t need to look for another boot, take the day off, have a coffee or whatever and enjoy all the time and money you saved.  And then there was a fire breathing unicorn dragon.

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