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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Rocky AlphaForce boots > Owner Review by Zach Wahrer

Rocky AlphaForce Zipper Boots

By: Zach Wahrer
Owner Review
July 25, 2009

Biographical Information:

Name: Zach Wahrer
Age: 25
Gender: Male
Height: 5' 10” (1.8 m)
Weight: 155 lb (70 kg)

City, State, Country: Dublin, Texas, USA

Backpacking Background:

I have been hiking and camping ever since I was a young child, seriously backpacking for over a year and growing increasingly interested in mountaineering. I also rock climb. Right now I mostly do three day, two night weekend trips with my wife and two dogs for conditioning with a bigger climb thrown in every so often. I generally carry a heavy pack and seek the steepest terrain possible in order to train for trips to big mountains. I have mostly been backpacking in hot weather, but am also seeking some cold weather experience.

Product Information:

Manufacturer: Rocky Brands Inc
Year Purchased: 2007
Manufacturer's Website:
Manufacturer's Listed Weight: Not listed on website
Measured Weight: 3.4 lb (1.5 kg) for the pair
Size tested: 10M
Widths Available: Medium, Wide
Sizes Available: Men's 7-11 including 1/2 sizes, 12-14.
Colors Available: Black
MSRP: $99.99

Side View Of Boots

Product Description:

These Rocky 8" Zipper AlphaForce Boots are marketed as duty boots and are made primarily of black leather, featuring black 1000 denier nylon in the areas not comprised of leather. They are waterproof and have a heavy duty 7” (18 cm) zipper on the inner side of the boot with a double snap flap that prevents the zipper from unzipping while in use. Behind the zipper there is a gusset made of some type of stretchy, waterproof material that keeps water from entering the boot, but allows the inner side of the boot to be expanded for quicker, easier footwear changes. Most of the stitching on the boot is double stitched, with only two exceptions: on the inner edge of flap for the laces (which is just a hem anyway) and the top edge of the zipper gusset (also just a hem).

The boots, per side, feature eight shoe-lace eyes and one riveted “D” at the ankle. Round laces come with the boots. The sole is made of molded EVA with a rubber outsole. It features an aggressive tread pattern that is labeled as “Non Marking”, “Slip Resistant”, and “Oil Resistant”. The “Rocky” logo is placed on the tongue, sole, and heel of the boot. Insoles are made of foam and are 1” (2.5 cm) thick at the heel. Boots are marked “Made in China”.

      Sole          Zipper

Field Information:

I originally bought the Rocky AlphaForce boots to use them for training in preparation to enlisting in the military, hoping to get something close to the boots currently in use by the Army. As such, my initial use was road and trail marching of which I did probably close to 75 miles (121 km) with a 60 lb (27 kg) pack over the span of three months. My longest trip was a 10 mile (16 km) road march (Logan Co., Ohio) with a 30 lb (13.6 kg) pack on hilly terrain in sunny conditions of about 80 degrees F (26 degrees C). I also used the boots in cold conditions for a 6 mile (9.6 km) winter training hike (Old Mans Cave, Ohio) with a 50 lb (22.6 kg) pack over hilly, hard pack trails in temperatures around 30 degrees F (-1 degrees C). Comfort during these uses was excellent, even with the quick marching on hard surfaces (roads, hard pack trails, etc.).

After my plan for joining the Army fell through, I became more interested in backpacking and mountaineering. I continued using these boots for backpacking and general hiking, finding them an excellent choice for both. I use them on every climb we take.

11 miles (17.7 km) on the Lonestar Trail in Sam Houston National Forest, mainly flat, well established trail with temperatures in the 70 degree F (21 degree C) range with some rain and a 51 lb (23 kg) pack.

9 miles (14.5 km) over 3 days in Dinosaur Valley State Park, TX, on rocky, steep trails with temperatures in the 90 degree F (32 degree C) range with a 50 lb (22.7 kg) pack. On this trip we crossed a river a few times and the waterproofing kept the water out all the way up to the 8” (20 cm) mark.

14 miles (22.5 km) over 3 days at Colorado Bend State Park, TX on rocky, steep trails and some off trail hiking through scrub and cactus with temperatures in the 90 degree F (32 degree C) range and a 42 lb (19 kg) pack. Never got stuck by any of the cactus (prickly pear) plus the 8” (20 cm) height came in nice when not on trail in the form of at least some protection from possible snakes and tough plants.

5 miles (8 km) over 2 days at Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge, OK, on steep, rocky trails and also scrambling and bouldering with temperatures in the 90 degree F (32 degree C) range and a 42 lb (19 kg) pack. We climbed Elk Mountain (2270 ft., 692 m) which has approximately 600 ft (183 m) of vertical gain on a mile (1.6 km) long trail. The boots did very well, giving me excellent traction on steep boulders and hills.

I haven't used the boots extensively in snow, but have walked around in a few Ohio winters in them with excellent results. The waterproofing kept my feet dry and the tread pattern on the sole seems to work well. With a good pair of socks they seem to be decently insulated. I wouldn't want to wear them in sub-zero weather, because the times I did wear them in the snow, I was just on the edge of comfort with maximum insulation and the temperatures were just slightly below freezing.

Front       Back


Overall, these have been excellent boots for hiking and climbing, even though I don't think they were designed with that use in mind. They broke in fairly quick, with only minimal blistering (probably more from wearing cotton socks than the boots themselves). They have held up very well over the two years I have owned them and they seem like they will give me many more years of use. They are extremely comfortable on long, rocky hikes and the waterproofing allows me to slog through anything less than 8” (20 cm) deep without worrying I'm gonna get squishy feet. The zipper makes taking them off after a tiring day of hiking a quick and easy affair. The one downfall of this boot is the fact that they don't breathe well. I don't have excessively sweaty feet, but the boots seem to hold in all the moisture. Wool socks seem to help keep the moisture away from my feet a bit better, but it's still not ideal. Other than that (and it's something I can deal with), they are excellent boots for traction, comfort, durability, and style.


Doesn't breathe as much as I would like

Leather seems to scuff easily (probably just natural to leather)

Could be cooler for hot summer hiking, warmer for colder winter hiking


Extremely comfortable


Excellent traction on almost any terrain

Great Price

The boots even work well for light duty bouldering.

On Elk Mountain

Read more reviews of Rocky Shoes and Boots gear
Read more gear reviews by Zach Wahrer

Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Rocky AlphaForce boots > Owner Review by Zach Wahrer

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