Ripple Sole Boots


I really want to like Ripple Sole boots.

Ripple Sole on the right, standard tread on the left. The Ripple Sole boots were clean before wearing them for one day.

Part of the claim of them is that they will put a spring in your step. I dunno about that, but they do seem to reduce fatigue for me.

But. . . and there always is a downside.. . . they accumulate crap in those grooves. In the military, when I wore them, we always got into mud, and my boots would hold what felt like an extra 20 pounds of mud on them. Just walking around one day with them on I find the grooves packed with crud. Now, there is a simple and super effective way to get all that gunk out. Just walk on the carpet in your house. It will all transfer to the carpet.

These soles can give you extra traction, but only in one direction. Not much help when you are walking down hill. I found out yesterday that they provide very little traction on a wet tile floor. I was sliding around like I was on ice skates. Pure luck I didn’t fall.

Compared to standard treads, these can sometimes make significantly more noise.

I was tempted to start this post with “I hate them and you should hate them too.” But I don’t really hate them, I just find that every time I wear a pair the cons out weigh the pros.


  1. Yeah… Ripple soles are a no-go in the winter. Super-popular because they’re softer and springier when new, but disastrous on ice. Friend of mine damn killed himself with those things one winter at Camp Howze–He started sliding about halfway down the hill the place was notorious for, and didn’t stop until he hit bottom about a hundred meters down the hill. They hadn’t sanded the roads, it was three in the morning, and it was literally a solid sheet of ice. I was not a happy camper, because I had to replace him on duty after they took his ass off to the hospital.

    Subsequently, they literally put out a safety-of-use memo restricting those soles to summer-use only.

    I think what made it so bad for him was he didn’t just let the fall happen, but kept trying to outrun/skate with his boots, and built up enough speed to where he couldn’t stop at all.

    So… Yeah. Ripple soles baaaad in winter conditions.

  2. Never used them in winter but found them to be less than ideal for cross-sloping. On flat ground and especially on pavement while surveying they were way more comfortable than regular jungle boots. Sole not as durable though.

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