Disclaimer: The team at Huckberry sent me these boots to review; however, all opinions are my own.
Using unique materials and innovative design, Naglev managed to make a boot that’s not only made for extreme adventure, but also comfortable enough to keep you fresh.
|Almost no break-in time||Hard to get your foot into|
|Waterproof||Heavy compared to some lightweight options nowadays.|
|Stylish…? Depends on who you ask|
|Rugged, not afraid these things would let me down|
|Good grip on the sole|
- WEIGHT: 420 gr ( ½ pair size 42)
- UPPER: Kevlar® fabric
- PROTECTION RAND: Tpu
- LINING: Wool
- LINING: Wool
- FOOTBED: Tanned leather and Coconut fibers
- MIDSOLE: Dual density EVA
- OUTSOLE: Natural Rubber
- SIZES: MS 40-47 (including ½ sizes)
It’s worth spending a few minutes talking about the company before we get into the boots themselves. Founded by Achille Morlin and his daughter, Elettra Morlin, Naglev is a small company. We’re talking really small, based in northern Italy.
It’s clear that the company takes pride in crafting the best products with as much emphasis on sustainability as possible. They’re even a little philosophical about it:
“We believe that nature is the setting where humans can experience the authentic well-being. This is why, with our products, we want to re-create a natural environment around your feet to grant you the highest comfort.”
I hadn’t heard of Naglev until I started their shoes on the Huckberry website. Naglev’s first two shoes were the Combat WP and the Unico Hiker, with similar design features and aesthetics. Finally, after eyeing them for quite some time, I finally got my hands on the Naglev Combat WP.
Now on to the shoes.
The Naglev Combat WP
At first glance, these boots are striking..maybe even a little intimidating? Like many products on Huckberry, they toe the line of “serious adventurer” or “aspirational weekend warrior.” So naturally, I start to question if I’m actually cool enough to pull them off. Do I even need a pair of boots this intense? When’s the last time I conquered a mountain? What am I doing with my life?
Existential crisis aside, you can tell within the first few seconds that these boots are well made.
This is where it gets even more interesting. Naglev puts materials at the forefront of their design. In the Combat WP alone, Naglev uses an array of materials:
The outer shell is made out of a single piece of Kevlar. I know what you’re thinking, “isn’t Kevlar that stuff used in bulletproof vests?” Yes, yes it is. And since Kevlar is nearly indestructible, it also makes for good protection and support on the Combat WP.
Additionally, the one-piece upper is virtually seamless, eliminating weak spots and areas on hiking shoes (and shoes in general) that are prone to breaking.
The sock-like lining is made from wool to enhance moisture-wicking, breathability, and odor. The footbed is made from coconut fibers, which is pretty unique.
Since they’re based in Italy, Naglev sizes its shoes in European sizes:
They are a bit snug, so I would even go a half size up to make sure you have enough room for some burly hiking socks if need be.
On another note, I’ve been wearing some barefoot-style shoes lately. These have pretty wide toe boxes to give your dogs some room to breathe. Though the Naglev shoes aren’t particularly narrow, they definitely aren’t as wide as some boots nowadays. So if you have wider feet or enjoy a wider toe box, it’s worth noting.
Do hiking boots ever look good? Other than the ones made by Danner, hiking shoes/boots always tend to look like, well, hiking boots.
I suppose a lot of this is subjective. Personally, I really like the aesthetic of the Naglev Combat WP – they look intense but in a different way than most other hiking boots. They fit somewhere between “I’m a Navy Seal” and “I really fuck with Aprés Ski,” – so your mileage may vary.
You’ll notice that these Naglev boots are a pain in the ass to get on, and they’re arguably more work than the actual hike you’re going on.
The sock-like design means you more or less “slip” these things on and then lace them up. In reality, you have to shove your foot in there with a good amount of force. But once your feet are in, the Naglev Combat WP are actually really comfortable, thanks to the coconut fiber footbed.
This also meant that they were tough to get off of my feet as well. I had to sit down like an old man to get these damn things off. So, as hiking shoes, they are fantastic, but not so much as camp shoes.
Thankfully the break-in time for these Naglev boots is next to zero. I wore them straight out of the box and had no blisters, irritation, or cranky feet after a couple hours of hiking. You know that painful spot on the back of the heel that always gets super irritated with new shoes? Not with these.
The waterproofness definitely held up, I tricked through a few small streams and a bunch of mud, and they handled it like a champion. The grip was also impressive; I never felt slippage, even in the damp, mossy woods of the Olympic National Park in the Pacific Northwest.
For the ultralight backpackers/hikers, these might be a bit too intense for you. At ~840 grams (1.85 lbs), these are probably 0.5 lbs too heavy to contend with serious ultralight gear. So if you count grams in your hiking kit, make sure you evaluate the weight of the Naglev Combat WP. Interestingly enough, the smaller UNICO Hiker weighs in at 420 grams, though I bet their website is wrong.
One interesting note is that I felt very tall in these. And by that, I mean the soles are pretty elevated off the ground. This is neither a bad nor good thing, but for those who have dabbled in the barefoot shoe world, this will be a pretty significant departure.
And since I am a minimalist traveler, I always look at gear through the lens of travel. Could I bring these on a trip as my sole pair of boots? Do these make it into my ultralight packing list?
The answer is yes…and no. If you’re primarily going on a hiking/outdoor-oriented trip, I would have no problems taking the Naglev, and I think they would hold up quite well. But if I’m doing anything other than that, they start to break down a little.
They are pretty big and heavy, and I’m not sure I’d want to spend all day traveling through the city or generally in transit with these things. That’s not to say they aren’t comfortable, but they can feel too intense for leisurewear.
And they probably wouldn’t hold up well when going out to eat or just walking around generally. The Naglev boots have a specific “look” that might make you feel a little out of place. This isn’t bad for a focused hiking trip, but these wouldn’t make suitable all-around utilitarian footwear. This isn’t a knock on Naglev or the Combat WP since they weren’t made for one-bag travel freaks like me.
The Naglev Combat WP are some seriously badass hiking boots. These boots will carry you through the most daring adventures and look pretty damn good doing it.
Typically the word “indestructible” doesn’t often pair with “comfortable.” Still, somehow, Naglev manages to pull it off with the Combat WP.
The one-piece construction provides fantastic durability and waterproofing. The innovative materials like coconut fiber, merino wool, and kevlar show incredible craftsmanship and attention to detail you don’t find in many other brands.
All of this is from a small company based in Northern Italy. I’m not sure how much your kids or grandkids are looking to inherit smelly old boots, but the Naglev Combat WP would surely fit the bill if they did.