• Leon Pantenburg | Survival Common Sense


Who needs tactical footwear? We review LALO’s Nine-inch Rapid Assault Black Ops boots

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Hot weather boots are really different from hiking or cold weather boots. Here is why these rapid assault boots may be a solid choice for your desert or hot weather hiking.

by Leon Pantenburg

LALO supplied the product for this review. I was not paid to write it and at the time of publication, there was no advertising relationship between Survival Common Sense and LALO. All we ever promise is a fair and impartial field testing.

I sincerely hope that the chances of me being in a life-or-death combat situation are non-existent. I’m retired. My neighbors in Brandon, Mississippi, are wonderful, down-to-earth folks, and our neighborhood has quiet, shade-tree lined streets. Everybody waves when they drive by, and the neighborhood kids play baseball in the vacant lot near the water tower.  Everybody picks up any trash that appears. My lifestyle apparently doesn’t call for boots designed for Special Forces operations.

But that’s what the Rapid Assault 9′ Black ops boots are, and I’m liking them a lot. I don’t need any more boots (or knives, guns, water filters, camping equipment etc.) and reviews are time-consuming and sometimes there is little Return On (Time) Investment. I researched these LALOs before agreeing to do a review. Why?

Well, my wife and I frequently hike in the southwest in the summers, and we’re headed west in June. The heat can be intense in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. As a part-time guide on the lower Mississippi River for Big River Wild Adventures and Quapaw Canoe Company, I am in and out of large cargo canoes a lot. All the guides regularly get wet feet. These extremes are why LALO Tactical designed the Rapid Assaults.

Top: LALO Tactical boots have 1000D Cordura nylon uppers. Left: Quick response toes Middle: The LALOs have a special ventilation and drainage system. Right: The soles have slip-resistant LALO Off-Road Traction Pods.

LALO is an acronym for “Light Assault Lo-Vis Operator.” The company was founded to serve the needs of Special Operations Forces and NSW Operators, according to the LALO website, and has been creating innovative footwear for some of the world’s most popular brands for over 30 years.

The Rapid Assaults are a quick-drying, well-ventilated boot with an excellent drainage system that can handle heat, the company claims, along with regularly getting dunked in water.  All of the shoes in the BUD/s athletic line were designed as the result of detailed testing and feedback from Special Forces Operators, according to the company website, incorporating characteristics needed in a lightweight, multi-purpose shoe.


Color: Black, Multicam®, Coyote
Weight: 1lb 3oz (based on a men’s size 10)
Heel to Toe Drop: 5 mm active drop – (About the width of a pencil top eraser.)


  • Hidden Lace Pocket
  • Sleek eyelet loops
  • Cordura 1000D Nylon Upper
  • Articulating heel and outsole shape for assisting in noise reduction
  • Trek Dry™ moisture-wicking, hydrophobic, antimicrobial lining utilizing carbonized bamboo
  • Carbonized rubber toe cap for durability and protection
  • Drainage ports for a two-way passive drainage system
  • EVA heel counter for maximum stability and a secure fit
  • Multi-density EVA construction designed to cushion at foot-strike and propel during toe-off
  • Signature slip-resistant LALO Off-Road Traction Pods
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Drainable

Here is how the boots have worked out so far:

Uppers: I googled Cordura and got this: “CORDURA® sets the standard for fabric durability, known for its unmatched resilience against abrasions, tears, and scuffs. This robust woven fabric is made of nylon material and is favored for high-stakes applications from military gear to adventure equipment. It’s the Hercules of fabrics.”

I wore the LALOs during the spring squirrel and turkey season in Mississippi. I usually tuck my pant legs into my high top boots to discourage ticks and chiggers and poison ivy. The state’s heat and humidity are legendary, and you will sweat. The LALOs were remarkably cool and comfortable.

The coyote brown LALO Rapid Assault boots are cool choices (pun intended) for hot weather hiking.

Color: I got the coyote color. A hot weather boot should be light-colored. A black or dark boot will absorb heat and be much hotter than a light-colored version of the same boot. In desert environments, sand-colored gear is the best choice for camouflage. The light-hued coyotes are cool, and they will blend in well with the Southwest sand. In the fall in the Southeast, when the deciduous leaves blanket the forest floor, this color will be very inconspicuous.

Drainable: This is another really nice feature. The vents allow water and air to get pushed out when you walk, and they create a pumping action to bring in air. This causes rapid drying and increases cool air flow to the interior. The quicker your boots dry out, the less chance there is of developing soft, wrinkled, soggy feet, which lead to blisters.

The vent system allows for air flow to help the feet dry quicker.

Sole: The Off-Road Traction Pods on the soles are quiet and work well on hard surfaces. I’ve been walking on hot concrete and asphalt a lot, and the soles insulate well against the hot surfaces. In deep mud, though, the treads might gum  up and be hard to clean. I’ll check this out further as the occasion calls for it.

The Off-Road Traction Pods offer solid, reliable traction.

Rubber toe cap: These are the first boots I’ve had with this style of  toe cap. I can appreciate that a Special Forces person might need that sort toe for quick push-offs. Personally, the only push-off and sprint I might do is from the garage to the street when I forget to put the trash out.

The toe improves quick push-offs in tactical situations.

Do you need a pair of LALOs?

It depends. For most of us, the LALOs are overkill for casual, everyday footwear. You don’t need tactical boots of this quality for running around town doing arrands.

But if you are a desert hiker, and walk on hot sand and rocks, these are the boots for you. If you do a lot hunting, fishing and rambling in hot, humid climates, you will appreciate the LALOs. If you don’t have a pair of hot weather hiking boots, the LALOs may be what you’ve been looking for.

I’m not done yet. These boots will be headed west with me in June, and the plan is to hike another Utah slot canyon where wading in water is a definite possibility. We’re also planning some hikes in Monument Valley and in other desert spots. In those cases, these LALOs may prove to be the perfect footwear. I’ll let you know how they work out!

There are a lot of factors that determine how comfortable your hiking footwear will be.  Consider these things when you are shopping:

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                                               Thanks for sharing!



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