Published on October 25th, 2011 | by Greg0
Boot Up With Wolverine: Serious Footwear, Part Two
When we were last slipping our toes into a good pair of boots, they offered Gore-Tex and a nice mid-cut style that balanced weight with comfort and stability. Another key feature was the Vibram outsole, which helps with gripping terrain of all kinds, especially when wet. And finally, we were big fans of the special insert, which might normally be overlooked but felt solid and nicely cushioned. Today’s pair matches those same features, and made for a hard-to-choose battle. Even the price tags are similar!
Today’s rugged men’s footwear choice are the Wolverine Fulcrum ICS GTX Mid-Cut Off-Road Hiker boots. The full-grain leather upper was supple, and we liked the small number of seams. Sizing seemed accurate- we tried a 9.5 and it felt true to size, if a bit wider than some we’ve seen. Wolverine’s sizing is a bit more restrictive in some ways but less in others; they only offer up to a size 14, but they do have both normal and extra-wide versions.
Unlike in part one of this duo, the Wolverine Fulcrum’s only come in brown or black and while we would’ve potentially liked more options, they probably were best served with this color pair. A quick poll of staff revealed that most preferred the other pair in terms of style, as they have a bit more personality to them. But everyone thought the Wolverine Fulcrum’s looked “manly”, perfect for use where they belong- as a lumberjack, perhaps, or just hiking some serious trails. As before, these aren’t work boots- no steel toes- but held up well to some abuse in puddles, gravel, and pavement alike. The lack of texture on the outside meant that scratches and scuffs appeared pretty quickly; we’d recommend occasional polishing and conditioning for the leather.
The coolest part of these shoes is a bit gimmicky- but most of us here are suckers for even random technology. The Individual Comfort System, the ICS part of the name, is Wolverine’s attempt to make an adjustable insole for your heel. By rotating a little gel disc, you can choose a cushion level, or keep your heel plate firm- and also choose from Outward or Inward compensation for high or low arches. Honestly, we were a bit skeptical at first- you have to remove the shoe and do a bit of work to change it, but once set you probably won’t need to modify the setting that often and it does only take a few seconds. You could feel the difference, and in the end we were pretty impressed. No break-in time was necessary; we put them on and got active. Ankle support was excellent; they seemed a extremely firm around the toebed, which was helpful.
At $200, these are a great pair of boots. Superior water protection, and a nifty built-in gadget that actually helps with both comfort and stability. Overall, we found this pair slightly less comfortable for day-to-day use, but actually the better choice when we were anticipating the more serious conditions (they seemed warmer and more durable). For those particularly fashion-conscious, the Wolverine Fulcrum might not catch your eye, but gadget lovers will appreciate the interesting adjustable cushioning system.