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Ariat Catalyst VX Defiant 8-Inch GORE-TEX Hunting Boots – A Detailed Review

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Rating : 8.7/10
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Performance Breakdown

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Bottom Line

Featuring GORE-TEX construction and 400 grams of Thinsulate insulation, the Ariat Catalyst VX Defiant 8-Inch GORE-TEX Hunting Boot is an excellent choice that will keep you comfortable and protected all day long.

Pros

  • Waterproof GORE-TEX construction
  • Insulated
  • Rubber rand for tighter waterproofing seal
  • Continuous odor fighting
  • Four lace hooks on top for additional fit customization

Cons

  • Inflexible sole feels a bit hard
  • A bit heavy
  • Pricey

Material

Waterproof leather

Type of Toe

Soft Toe

Weight

4.38lb / 1.99kg / 70.2oz

Waterproof

Yes

Shaft Size

8 inches

Outsole

Vibram outsole

Boot type

Insulated Hunting Boots

Manufacturer

Ariat

Safety certifications

Yes

Price range

$339.95 to $499.95

Summary

When you’re on the lookout for extremely rugged boots that can easily take on tough outdoor settings, the Ariat Catalyst VX Defiant 8-Inch GORE-TEX Hunting Boot is definitely worth looking into. This boot stands out with its heavy-duty appearance that I expected to withstand the harsh environments that can be encountered while working outdoors, and it did not disappoint. It’s packed with features designed to deliver maximum water protection to ensure complete foot dryness regardless of the wetness of the surrounding area you encounter. The boot is also crafted to maintain comfortable warmth within, which will be a huge advantage when there’s a need to work or stay in areas that tend to turn increasingly cold over the course of a regular workday. This hunting boot has a robust construction that can meet the challenges of the outdoors and can even be considered a great winter work boot.

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The Ariat Catalyst VX Defiant 8-Inch GORE-TEX Hunting Boot is crafted with a waterproof leather upper as well as a GORE-TEX membrane to guarantee nonstop protection against water and other liquids, preventing these substances from entering the boot when you’re working in wet conditions. The boot is built with 400 grams of 3M Thinsulate to maintain long-lasting warmth and comfort amidst cold environments that you may encounter when working outdoors for long periods. The interior is enhanced with a pure silver sock line that delivers permanent odor protection to ensure that your foot will enjoy a fresh feel and smell throughout the busiest of days. The Vibram outsole offers outstanding traction for a grippy feel that can help keep you protected against slipping accidents on wet or slippery surfaces. However, this sole can also feel a bit too rigid because of its heavy-duty sturdiness and cause discomfort, especially when the boot is worn for a long time – but this may be a small price to pay considering the level of traction that the outsole provides. We’ll take a closer look at this boot’s characteristics so we can discover which ones will bring the greatest number of benefits and if there are other attributes that should be noted for improvement.

This hunting boot is packed with impressive features to help you survive your job’s challenges and keep up with your activities in harsh outdoor environments.

Ideal For

  • Extremely cold environments
  • Work settings that need waterproof footwear
  • Those who prefer exceptionally rugged work boots that deliver superior protection

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Performance Analysis

Comfort

The Ariat Catalyst VX Defiant 8-Inch GORE-TEX Hunting Boot has the toughness needed to withstand harsh environments without sacrificing a comfortable experience. The boot last is anatomically contoured to follow the natural shape of the foot to deliver superior comfort for long hours at a time. I appreciated the generous cushioning within the boot that gave the sensation that my foot was surrounded by a comforting cocoon, which made working on some of the most difficult tasks outdoors much easier. The leather collar was deeply cushioned and hugged my calf most comfortably while also providing a more secure fit that enabled me to walk more confidently, without the fear that a slight mistake in my step would result in a painful ankle-twisting incident. The padded tongue prevented debris from entering the boot and worked doubly hard to cover and cushion the top of my foot, allowing me to move naturally without stiffness hindering my movements. This boot is built with 400 grams of Thinsulate insulation that enveloped my foot with a comforting warmth so that working in extremely cold environments didn’t pose problems even when I needed to stay in the challenging setting for extended periods.

I was impressed with the pure silver sock liner that managed to maintain a fresh feeling and smelling environment for my foot, allowing me to quit worrying about smelly feet even when I wore the boot for the entire day.

The PU midsole provided the necessary cushioning and support for my foot to be able to avoid extreme discomfort with the long hours of boot-wearing as it absorbed most of the impact that was the result of my continuous movements for the better part of the day. The TPU heel cradle is designed to hug the heel comfortably and securely to prevent unnecessary movement, increasing foot stability for a safe experience that won’t compromise your overall agility in and out of the work area.

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Weight

This boot has a medium to heavy construction, which wasn’t really surprising considering the thickness of the premium leather upper and the ruggedness of the Vibram outsole. The considerable weight can cause a dragging sensation on the feet that may result in significant discomfort when the boot is worn for a long time, but this weight makes the footwear feel more stable at the same time. This added stability will be an advantage when walking over tricky ground conditions where more lightweight footwear may not be able to help you maintain your confident gait.

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Traction

The Vibram outsole comes with a rugged structure that can easily keep up with the hardships that come with working in harsh outdoor environments. The outsole is created with pronounced lugs that help maintain a stronger grip on the ground, preventing you from easily slipping on treacherous surfaces for increased safety. I was able to walk around confidently while wearing these boots because I felt that the outsole’s strong traction maintained my steady footing even on wet and slippery surfaces. The outsole looks sturdy enough to resist premature damage even when the boots are used in tough settings and for demanding physical activities that may be required.

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Fit and Sizing

This boot is true to size and felt just right when I got my usual size 10, eliminating the need to choose a smaller or larger size just to achieve a comfortable fit. It delivered a locked-in feeling, which enhanced the warmth the insulation offered for considerable comfort I enjoyed even more when working in extremely cold settings. The snug fit didn’t cause discomfort because the interior was generously cushioned, so I didn’t experience painful pinching or chafing even when I walked and moved nonstop for the entire day.

However, this snug fit may not be appreciated by those who prefer a relaxed fit that will allow their toes to shift as needed within the boot.

I liked the 4 lace hooks at the top that made it easier for me to adjust the tightness of the boots to get a customized fit, but these hooks also made putting on and taking off the boots a much longer process compared to wearing boots that only had the usual lace eyelets.

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Waterproofing

This hunting boot is built with components that guarantee maximum waterproofing action. The waterproof leather upper creates a strong barrier against water that you may be exposed to while working in harsh outdoor environments. The GORE-TEX waterproof membrane prevents water and other liquids from penetrating the boot’s interior to ensure that the foot will always be dry and comfortable within even when you need to work in wet conditions for a considerable amount of time. A rubber rand around the boot’s perimeter also helps create a tight seal to keep water from seeping into the boot, so you can rest assured that your foot will be protected against wetness for the entire day.

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Breathability

The GORE-TEX membrane not only keeps water and other liquids from entering the boot but also works double-time to maintain the boot’s breathability. Any excess moisture or heat is dissipated before they can bring a great deal of discomfort by overheating the boot’s interior, so you can be sure that your foot can enjoy a comfortable coolness even when the boot is worn for long hours at a time while doing the most difficult tasks.

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Quality and Durability

The Ariat Catalyst VX Defiant 8-Inch GORE-TEX Hunting Boot is built with the proprietary Cobalt XV technology that delivers outstanding comfort, support, and temperature management for a high-performance boot-wearing experience. The X-Static layer works on managing the temperature within the boot and fights odor to maintain a fresh foot environment for the entire day.

A cushioned pad on the forefoot delivers long-lasting support and protection for the small bones and nerves in this area to prevent pain from setting in no matter how long the boot is worn.

The midsole is designed to cushion and support the foot, working as a shock absorber that fights foot fatigue that may result from continuous boot-wearing while walking nonstop on tricky surfaces. A honeycomb shank offers additional support to maintain your steady footing, especially when walking on uneven ground conditions that you may encounter while working outdoors. The waterproof GORE-TEX membrane stops fluids from entering the boot to guarantee long-lasting foot dryness when working in wet environments. The same waterproof membrane works to dissipate built-up heat and sweat to maintain a comfortably dry interior. The 400 grams of Thinsulate insulation ensures that your foot will be enveloped in a warm embrace to maintain all-day comfort that will prove to be most beneficial when you need to work in harshly cold environments for extended periods. A rubber rand is fitted around the boot’s perimeter, working double-time to keep liquids from seeping into the boot while providing additional strength and protection against abrasions so that the boot’s structural integrity and functionality can be enjoyed for longer. The four lace hooks at the top of the boot aid with easier fit customization but make placement and removal more time-consuming, which may be a disadvantage when you’re in a hurry to prepare for a long day of work. The TPU cradle ensures that the foot will stay in a secure position to prevent unwanted movement that can compromise foot stability and safety. The Vibram outsole delivers excellent traction to maintain your stability when walking on wet and slippery ground conditions, but the heavy-duty structure results in an inflexible feel that may hinder certain movements and compromise a bit of your agility in the process. These boots are suited for demanding jobs even in extremely cold environments and will work remarkably well as your go-to winter work boots.

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Other Versions

The Ariat Catalyst VX Defiant 8-Inch GORE-TEX Hunting Boot is available in the following colors: dark brown, brown, and rugged bark. It comes in a 10-inch version that’s also waterproof and insulated for superior protection in extreme outdoor environments. There’s also the Catalyst VX 8-Inch MetGuard Composite Toe Work Boot that’s waterproof as well and is enhanced with composite toe protection and an external metatarsal guard for increased foot safety in harsh surroundings. Meanwhile, the Ariat Catalyst VX Work Wide Square Composite Toe Work Boot comes with heavy-duty reinforcements all around for outstanding protection against abrasions.

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The Challengers

Ariat Catalyst VX 8-Inch MetGuard Composite Toe Work Boot

The Ariat Catalyst VX 8-Inch MetGuard Composite Toe Work Boot is a superb alternative if your job exposes you to compression and impact dangers around your work area. This boot is created with an external metatarsal guard that creates a protective barrier on the top portion of your foot for increased safety to prevent serious injuries when heavy or blunt objects suddenly fall onto your boot. The Waterproof PRO construction stops water from entering the boot to deliver long-lasting foot dryness that you can rely on when working in wet conditions. A molded toe cap and heel cradle work to keep these areas stabilized against unwanted movement while offering enhanced protection against abrasion to resist premature damage in harsh environments. The boot is fitted with a pure silver sock liner that fights odor-causing bacteria for continuous boot freshness that increases foot comfort for long periods. The rugged Duratread outsole offers strong traction to prevent slipping on tricky surfaces and comes with a 90-degree heel for added stability when walking on uneven ground conditions or while going up and down ladders.

Ariat Catalyst VX Work Wide Square Composite Toe Work Boot

The Ariat Catalyst VX Work Wide Square Composite Toe Work Boot is a remarkable choice if you’re looking for waterproof cowboy boots that can deliver incredible protection against safety hazards. The composite toe caps protect your toes from being crushed when the boot is exposed to impact and compression threats around the work area. The waterproof construction works hard to keep the foot dry and warm when you are working in extremely wet surroundings. The EVA midsole acts as the reliable shock-absorber that bears the brunt of the effects of the repetitive movements of your steps so your foot can be protected from extreme discomfort even with long hours of boot-wearing. The exclusive U-entry system makes foot entry more convenient (since you don’t need to deal with laces all the time) and comfortable, especially for people who have high arches. A protective shin guard as well as reinforcements on the heel and toe areas increase the boot’s strength and durability so it can stand up to heavy use in the harshest conditions. The square toe design enhances comfort as it provides more space for the toes to shift as needed to prevent foot cramps from setting in.

Irish Setter 807 Wingshooter 7-Inch Hunting Boot

The Irish Setter 807 Wingshooter 7-Inch Hunting Boot is suitable for those who want a different boot aesthetic without compromising the most important features. This boot has a moc toe design that makes it suitable for use in and out of the workplace, with a stylishness that can blend in seamlessly with more relaxed outfit choices. The moc toe design also provides more room in the toe box to allow the toes to wiggle as needed to stop the development of foot cramps with long hours of continuous boot use. The waterproof leather upper won’t permit water and other liquids to enter the boot to guarantee all-day dryness and comfort even when you’re working in wet surroundings for extended periods. The EVA midsole delivers all-day support and cushioning underfoot to prevent foot fatigue while maintaining a lightweight structure that doesn’t add a lot to the total boot weight.

Georgia Boot Hammer 8-Inch Steel Toe Work Boot

The Georgia Boot Hammer 8-Inch Steel Toe Work Boot is another handsome boot choice that discreetly delivers maximum protection against safety hazards that you may encounter. It’s equipped with steel toe caps that protect against falling or rolling objects that may cause severe injuries when coming in contact with your foot. An internal metatarsal guard provides extended foot protection to keep the rest of your foot safe from being crushed by impact and compression threats while maintaining a soft texture that won’t interfere with your comfort and overall mobility. The interior is fully lined with a breathable material that wicks away moisture to prevent wetness and overheating from hampering your comfortable boot-wearing experience. The oil- and slip-resistant rubber outsole features aggressive lugs that provide powerful traction to maintain your steadiness while walking on wet or slippery surfaces.

Timberland PRO Hypercharge 8-Inch Composite Toe Work Boot

The Timberland PRO Hypercharge 8-Inch Composite Toe Work Boot is designed to keep you safe in challenging settings without compromising your comfort in the process. The waterproof leather and membrane lock out water and other fluids so they won’t have a chance to seep into the boot’s interior. Composite safety toes guard against impact and compression dangers so severe injuries can be prevented in case the boot is exposed to such threats. The PU footbed is enhanced with anti-fatigue technology to ensure long-lasting comfort even when you wear the boot for long hours of staying on your feet. Antimicrobial treatment within the boot maintains a fresh smelling and feeling environment for superior comfort that will last for the entire day. An exclusive platform works to maintain stability throughout the day to help you move over different terrains with ease. The rubber outsole delivers maximum traction so you can move more confidently without slipping on tricky surfaces and is resistant to heat for up to 572 degrees Fahrenheit.

Conclusion & Verdict

The Ariat Catalyst VX Defiant 8-Inch GORE-TEX Hunting Boot is an excellent choice for working in harsh outdoor conditions. The GORE-TEX technology ensures maximum protection against wetness to keep the foot dry even when you’re working in extremely wet surroundings. The insulation within the boot maintains comfortable warmth that will keep you going in extremely cold settings, while the snug fit adds a cozy feeling that also brings a heightened sense of foot security. These extremely rugged boots come with a steep price tag that’s more than justified considering that it’s packed with components and technologies that work to deliver outstanding comfort, support, and protection that you can rely on even in the toughest environments.

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Luke Davis

Luke is the lead author on WorkWear.org. He has a vast experience in construction engineering and project management in California and Texas, where he had the chance to put to test a wide range of safety boots and PPE. Outside work, Luke is an avid hiker and not surprisingly a DIY fanatic!