Jalas Fantom Drylock
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Shoe brush, dual action
A two-sided shoe brush - the smaller brush is for applying shoe polish, the larger one for polishing.
HAIX shoe care for Gore-Tex, 75 ml, black
Using regular shoe polish on Gore-Tex footwear might be a bad idea - some of the brands out there might block the membrane. Here's a safe bet, and made by HAIX, too.
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Finnish boot socks, olive green
Thick Finnish boot socks. Tough, durable and damn comfortable.
Mil-Tec elastic trouser blousers, two pairs
Elastic trouser blousers, "twists". Blousing means tying your pant ends above your boots. With this pair it's easy and comfortable. Tucking your pants into your boots won't last long.
Tuisku original anti-slip pads
Rubber thingies with metal studs which you pull over boots to increase traction on slippery ground. Available in different sizes.
Särmä viscose boxers, black
Proper good boxer shorts for an affordable price - these are more like the Common Man version of the Merino wool model we also sell. Being made of viscose, these have sort of poor man's versions of many of the good characteristics of wool. Hey, still beats cotton!
In Finland the comic character "The Phantom" (you know, the butch guy who runs around the Bengal jungle in purple tights) is immensely popular. In fact he's so famous that Jalas actually went and named a boot after him. And a top quality boot it is too! We are especially thrilled, as these fit our wide, hairy Finnish hobbit feet well.
When The Phantom leaves the Nuuksio jungle and goes to downtown Espoo, we're quite sure he wears these, as it's always pretty sloshy and cold there. Like the Finnish army M05 boots, these are full leather, but here's the catch; these have a waterproof membrane. If you're not a Finn, you probably pass this by with a shrug, but we're pretty excited - in a country that lags behind everyone else about 10-20 years, that's something! It's almost like, you know, introducing electricity to Zimbabwe (again).
Now, as us Finns do know something about winter, these have some pretty good qualities for cold weather footwear (along with the membrane): a rubber sole with good traction, strong construction and a proper full leather tongue. Last but not least, these are sized pretty generously to accommodate thick (double) socks inside. Oh, and the insole is super, one of the best we have ever seen.
- Full leather construction. Means you can actually polish the leather to keep it in good shape. We recommend using special membrane-compatible polish, regular ones might block the membrane.
- Shock absorbption in the sole and superior traction - these are meant for Finnish weather conditions. The rubber doesn't get stiff easily and can take heat up to 300 degrees celsius.
- Reinforced nose. Please note that this is not a safety toe. It's the same kind found on most standard military footwear.
- Speed lacing. Now, Jalas made a nifty little thing to make this better: they put small ball bearings inside the tunnel loops. Think about it, which causes more wear to the laces, a metal corner or a round bearing? This also makes the pull easier.
- Fits better around the shaft than the standard M05 boot, thanks to the thicker tongue and light padding inside.
The membrane isn't Gore-Tex. Instead, it's something the boot manufacturer, Jalas, calls "Drylock". The manufacturer of the membrane fabric itself is Porelle. If you're confused, no worries - the membrane works just as it should: keeps water out and lets sweat fumes out. Porelle promises some pretty awesome specs for their membrane.
The sizing system is very Finnish - the sizes run big. As this boot is designed for Finnish feet, the last is very wide. It probably would be wise to take one size smaller than usual. Of course, this is very individual and should be used only as a guideline.
Some people want to know the insole lengths of each size, so here you go. Measured by placing a tape on the insole and measuring the longest distance from the heel to the toe.
|Shoe size||Insole length|
Factory new, made in Finland by Urho Viljamaa OY.
What we have here is an exceptionally comfortable boot. Call me old fashioned, but initially I was somewhat doubtful of the whole concept of a leather boot with a waterproof membrane, reasoning that since a membrane boot tends to be somewhat stuffy, as does your average leather boot, then a membraned leather boot ought to be like wearing wellies.
I was however proven wrong when, after a brisk 40 km march in pouring rain, my merino wool socks were no sweatier than they'd be after a light city walk in low shoes. In addition to this my feet weren't chilled by the near-freezing water we repeatedly had to wade through, something that is often the case with membraned boots that have a non-waterproof outer material, such as cordura or nylon.
I usually dismiss all kinds of "guaranteed to keep you dry and warm" sales pitches automatically, experience having shown that being outdoors just doesn't work that way, but this product came eerily close to doing what it said on the tin. Hats off to the designers, well done! With time I've also come to realize the value of the leather upper + membrane lining -combo; both mitigate the other's weaknesses. Whereas even a well cared for pair of leather boots will start letting water in after some 60+ km without greasing, the membrane will stay waterproof until it's worn through. On the other hand, should the membrane be broken, you can always polish up the leather and have the boots be almost as good as new that way.
Last, but by no means least, I want to say a word or two about the FX2 insoles that come with these. They are a marvel and no mistake! They have the usual plethora of features most high-end insoles have these days, but what really sets these babies apart is their double shock absorbtion. Instead of just having a bit of rubber under the heel, which is the usual solution, these have two patches of shock absorbing foam, making walking a whole new experience in comfort. These insoles are to a long distance walker what anabolic steroids are to a weightlifter.
(For steep terrain I use a heavier boot with stiffer soles though.)
Mukavat JALASsa siihen saakka, kun ne ovat kuivat.
Tosin mulla 42 jalka, otin 42 kokoiset ja hyvin menee merinosukka+villasukka sisälle, josta tykkään enemmän.
So I investigated military boots for different countries in the arctic. Canada, Sweden, Finland, Russia. The Finns had the best boots by my estimation, so I bought these.
The fit is very different from US boots in my opinion; these boots are more 'foot shaped' than my old boots, meaning they conform to the foot closer. Mine are a little snug on me, I think if I were going to buy again I'd get a bigger size. I rounded down when converting my US shoe-size to EU, I should have rounded up I think :) So far it hasn't been uncomfortable and I suspect they will loosen up a little after I've worn them awhile.
They are kind of magical in the snow. My old boots would sink right to the bottom when I take a step, these float on top and almost don't even leave a footprint. The treads are not very deep, but are 'complex' ... I think this helps in the snow, as opposed to my old boot that had deep treads with a fairly standard pattern. I look forward to trying them out in new / deep snow, but so far its been great.
As for the insoles, they are comfortable for military boots. :) If you're used to civilian shoes, you will probably still find them uncomfortable, but I've worn nothing but boots for years and so these are way better than your average military boots.
I very much like that the lace 'hardware' doesn't have sharp edges. I think my laces will last longer this way. Time will tell!
Overall, very happy, and looking forward to taking these boots on a good adventure to see how they hold up. After a string of very inferior US boot purchases, I'm hoping the Finns can show us how its done :)