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Team FIN Test: Rossi boots

Rossi boots, from a company in Australia, are rugged and durable while still being incredibly lightweight.

What makes the Rossi boot so comfortable is an air-cushioned sole made of rubber and polyurethane. Small air chambers within the sole of the boot allow the sole to change shape and cushion the foot from the impact of rough terrain or sudden shock. The small chambers run perpendicular to the foot and allow a great deal of flexibility across the length of the boot’s sole as you walk across gravel, hop down from a tractor’s steps, or spend your day standing on concrete.

In addition to a more comfortable feel, the air-cushioned sole also reduces the total weight of the boot. It is like wearing a pair of tennis shoes instead of heavy work boots. I first thought that a boot that felt that lightweight certainly wouldn’t be durable. After a year of wearing the boots nearly every day, my theory has been proven wrong. Despite wearing the boots in dust, mud, rain, snow, cattle yards, hog lots and grain bins, the leather has held up extremely well, the seams show no signs of wear, the tread has maintained its integrity and the boots look almost as good as the day I took them out of the box. When you combine all of that with an extremely lightweight, comfortable feel, it makes for a great package.

The Endura 303 also has an elastic side panel that acts to keep the boot snug to your ankles. With an overall boot height just above the ankle, the Endura 303 may not be as tall as some work boots farmers typically wear, but it still provides a great deal of durability and protection compared to a typical tennis shoe. Boots are available with a regular or a steel safety toe.

I did find a couple of downsides to the boots. Because of the particular tread pattern on the bottom of the soles, the boots tend to pick up a lot of gravel. All that gravel then works its way loose as I spend time inside a tractor cab throughout the day.

Small loops are attached to the front and back of the boots at the very top near the leg. They take a little getting used to at first, because they can catch pant legs sometimes, but they do make it much easier to get the boots on quickly and easily.

After spending some time working cattle one day, I took a garden hose to my Rossi boots to clean them up. Not only did they clean up easily and completely, but the leather was still comfortable to wear. I didn’t need to let them air dry overnight like I normally do with other leather work boots. The elastic side panels aren’t quite as water-resistant as the rest of the leather portion of the boot, though. That was something I discovered as I made my way across a favorite trout stream in search of a better fishing hole and suddenly felt the insides of my ankles getting wet.

As snugly as the elastic makes the boots fit around the ankle, it still doesn’t make an airtight seal. Walking around in a grain bin quickly showed that kernels of corn will migrate into the boots via the elastic side panels. That may have more to do with the overall height of the boots than the strength of the elastic side panels. Either way, it’s a problem I don't have with my 12-inch-high boots.

The suggested retail price for a pair of Endura 303 boots is between $130 and $135. Several different retail outlets are available across the United States. For more information, visit Rossi Boots USA or call 1866 446 1066. Boots come in half sizes for all sizes except 14, 15, and 16.

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