Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Palladium boots review

friday forte: a hike and a camera and some boots

I don't often write product reviews. There are very few which fit easily into my depression-laden diatribes about career change as the midlife, stay-at-home, trailing spouse third of an expat family. KLM doesn't wave air tickets in my inbox, I failed to snag a Motorola Xoom tablet to review while travelling last summer, and even Pfizer hasn't called. Offers I do receive are either wildly age-inappropriate (hello diapers!), not something I can endorse or just plain fugly ... until now that is.

Dear readers - I bring you the Palladium boot.

Well, actually I bring you four Palladium boots, more commonly known as two pairs. 

As the mum of a son, there are a few things I miss out on - pink, Barbie, Bieber-fever, and eco-friendly nail polish. There are also some things I'm sad to miss out on, including stepping out in matchy matchy outfits that don't have the word Canucks emblazoned on them. Yes, life is grey when surrounded by testosterone ;) 

friday forte: a hike and a camera and some boots

Last month though, a PR release arrived in my inbox. I clicked and lo! boot mecca. Even more importantly, the boys’ boots were awesome - no strange bug eyes, creepily babyish toothy grins or slippers masquerading as outdoor wear - just plain, honest sturdy boots in which a little dude could hang out with his friends rather than have to wear mirrored aviators and pretend he’d just stepped off the private tour jet.

Within a week of initiating my mum-and-son fashion pitch, a parcel of boots arrived - the new Pampa Hi leather waterproofs in gold, sizes US3 and Eur38. Wee Guy picked the colour, and I went along, although dark or red is my usual preference. Then we embarked on an enthusiastic test drive just as the heavens opened and Vancouver lived up to its wet coast Fall self.

weekend bike ride

I’ll cut to the chase - both pairs passed with flying colours. We wore them hiking, we wore them cycling. Wee Guy has worn them to school Every Single Day, replacing his sneakers as go-to footwear. I’ve worn them with jeans, short skirts, long skirts, socks, leggings and woolly tights, with lots of compliments. We were both extremely comfortable, even wearing for an entire day. And they are most definitely waterproof - Halloween night confirmed that for us.

In summary, they worked well for any style, any occasion, everywhere (and we’ll be testing them in the snow once the mountains open too) and stayed comfortable. Although they haven’t worked their magic on getting me a job interview, and the Wee Guy still has his homework/piano practice to finish, they are great practical and stylish wardrobe additions.

Check out our fashion shoot here and read on below for the details :)

Saturday bike trip

Company History
Palladium started out making tires for the aviation industry before realising they could apply the same canvas-and-rubber technology to making lightweight and durable footwear. Yes, they were the official footwear suppliers to the French Foreign Legion, with the Pampa boot. Now with leather and suede styles too, waterproof models were introduced this Fall.

Ethical Stuff
According to the website, Palladium insist all their supplying factories adhere to a global standard set to ensure worker safety, decent conditions and pay, with a ban on child labour.

The Boots
  • Fit - I asked for a larger size for growth for the Wee Guy and his pair were roomy, but with no chafing. The kids`boots come with zippers either side of the laces so they are easy to put on or take off, and can be made to fit simply by tying the laces a little tighter. I asked for my standard European sizing - they were snug but my wide feet felt comfortable and well supported with room for thicker tights or socks.
  • Style - I liked the gold even though it wasn`t my first choice but the Wee Guy`s. The boots were amazingly lightweight but felt completely sturdy. The ridged soles helped with traction and weren`t too fussy - I only had to pick larger stones out. My style laced up easily and the Wee Guy loved his double zippers.
  • In wear - waterproof 100%. Apart from some dampness around the cuff during the Halloween deluge, our feet stayed dry. Even with a day of wear, the cambrelle linings made sure we didn't get soggy socks.
mum and son boots

The nine-year-old boy wore his with nine-year-old boy stuff - long shorts, full-length cargos, Harry Potter-style school trousers - and they looked awesome. I think he’s turning into a fashionista! I gave mine a full try-out, with skirts, trousers and cycling gear; they passed with flying colours though personally, a darker colour would have been more comfortable with the short skirts and tights combos.
I loved the high tops for ankle warmth, and the non-sweaty lining at the end of the day. They were, as I said earlier, snug but without chafing. The first day I wore them, my heels were recovering from some nasty blisters which were not at all aggravated in the comfy heel cup. The ridged soles don’t trap gravel but do pick up some larger rocks which can be annoying.

The Verdict
= definite keepers (please)

Where to buy
:( no stockists in Vancouver but you can order online, choosing from canvas and leather styles, including the new thermal range for cosy toes and a very tempting sale section. Prices are in US dollars and ship from the US via Fed Ex. Palladium Boots are available in Quebec and Ontario, and worldwide.


Notes: Palladium Boots' PR company sent me details, to which I replied with a pitch for review on the blog. They then sent me the boots - the words and images here are my own. No bribery was used to get the Wee Guy to wear his pair, though he wasn't always cooperative as a photographic model.

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