I'm notoriously hard on boots, I'll admit it. The usual life cycle from brand new in the box to completey trashed and begging for a shallow burial is less than a year. Therefore when the time to buy new boots came I thought I'd give a new brand a try. I happened upon these boots from Bates and was impressed by other comments and the fact that they met my needs. You see, I was looking for something that was stable and comfortable for when I worked in the field (I'm a paramedic), could shine up and look good for when I work in the Comm Center, and had a grippy sole for when I ride my motorcycle. Of all the boots I looked at these were the only that fit the bill.
The leather is stiff and took a couple days of break in but it feels substantial and sturdy around my ankles providing the support I wanted. The semi-gloss exterior takes a shine well and looks appropriate for an EMS dispatch area, and the toe is stiff enough to easily shift the motorcycle yet not so stiff that I can't feel the controls. Moreover the sole is grippy enough that when I plant my feet at a stop I feel confident that I'm not going to slip and dump my bike.
Time will tell how they hold up but so far I'm very impressed. My feet come in and out of the boot very easily, easier than any zip side I've had in the past. My only concern is the zipper. The teeth are small, somewhat like you'd find on a pair of pants. In the past every pair of boots has had thick, substantial looking zippers and I've never had a problem with a blow-out. Hopefully this wont be a problem with this pair. In spite of that, however, I'd recommend these boots to others without hesitation