Friday, June 10, 2011

Gear Pr0n: OTB Odhin Maritime Boots

Let's say you're a Navy SEAL. Your typical mission profile (at least in theory) puts you in or near the water a great portion of your time. You need good tactical boots, but you need them to drain the water quicker, resist absorbing water into the materials, and dry relatively quickly. The old answer was the Vietnam Era Jungle boot. That worked. But all things can be improved by technology (or so the American Way of War tells us). Enter OTB Boots and the Odhin.
"OTB" stands for "over the beach" -- a good description of a SEAL mission if ever there was one. And OTB ( was adopted as the name of the footwear company that designed the Odhin for the SEALs. OTB now belongs to New Balance, but the boots are made here in the good ole USofA. So if you care about such things, they are "Berry Compliant." If you don't care about such things, don't worry about it.
The Odhin was designed specifically for our brave Navy SEAL friends as a new type of maritime assault boot. It uses water-resistant materials, is engineered with water in mind, and is lightweight and breathable.
Here we see the nylon mesh fabric used to make the boot breathable.
This is the insole system. Notice those holes? They allow water to pass right through the sole of the boot. The Jungle Boot had two brass drain holes in the instep. Compare that to these drain holes. The water passes right through.
Don't believe me? The Military Moron ( has a video on his site (just scroll down looking for his Odhin review) showing him placing a garden hose in the boot and the water flowing out about as fast as it gets into the boot.
You can see the holes in the sole in this photo.
Yet the Odhin is still constructed like a solid assault boot, as seen in these two pictures. Note the lacing system which holds the laces nicely against the boot to reduce the opportunity for them to snag on anything.
I dig the sexy green/khaki. Typically I like my assault boots in basic black (and that is available), but I'm seriously considering getting my pair in the sage green to go with my multicam working suit.
I know you're thinking, "But Gil, won't those holes let in debris?" Well, maybe. But first, consider that gravity is working for you. Second, they incorporated a mesh to keep out large grains of sand -- as seen in this picture. Third, while the holes will let in water, and some mud, the boot is designed for environments in which that is inevitable. Those are times when it is more important to get rid of the water. And they helpfully designed the boot to be cleaned easily.
What about traction? I hear you. OTB's answer is razor-thin cuts in the lugs of the sole to help shed water, sort of like the way your radial tires shed water. You can see the cuts when the sole is flexed. The user reviews I've read haven't indicated any problem with traction and have been very impressed with the amount of grip the sole gives even when wet.
I'm going to shout out to Gear Geek's ( for the photos. I don't have a pair of these boots yet, so I don't have pictures. But I'm already excited by what I read. I do have a pair of OTB's Thor boots on order. they should arrive next week. The Thor boots are low profile assault boots, so I intend to use them for everyday wear.

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