Viktos Boots: Viktos Johnny Combat

VIKTOS Johnny Combat Waterproof Boot sole.
August 15, 2021  
Categories: Assorted Ramblings

I wanted my first review to be positive, especially about items from a company supporting the same American ideals as mine. So, when I saw negative reviews about these boots, I got nervous—because VIKTOS boots are made in China. Chinese-made products have a reputation for being subpar. Coming from a brand that markets being a US veteran-ran company, it seems wrong to manufacture the shoe in China. Right?

VIKTOS Johnny Combat Waterproof Boot label, red arrow pointing at "Made in China" on the label.

Viktos, Unconquered

Don’t get me wrong. I think VIKTOS designs a lot of high-quality and affordable products. I also know from experience that they have the utmost integrity and a fantastic customer service team. Even the company’s name, “VIKTØS,” is derived from ‘invictus’, which means unconquered in Latin. But how can an American company make money producing affordable, high-quality footwear and maintain impeccable customer service? The answer: China. It’s not pretty, but it’s an obvious and easy decision for a business trying to survive. If they employed all the CHAZ protesters in Portland to make them in the US, the military boots would probably be worse, cost thousands, and VIKTOS would cease to exist. Plenty of companies are revolutionizing the reputation of Chinese-made items and establishing a high-quality control level before they get to the end user.

VIKTOS Johnny Combat Waterproof Boot Grey

So, are VIKTOS boots good? Let me start by saying that I have yet to become a gear guy so far in my illustrious quarter-century of life. I don’t care much about having top-of-the-line boots, and I will likely take the first recommendation from a knowledgeable friend. Having said that, understand my review of these VIKTOS boots won’t be in comparison to a competitor. Instead, it will be subject to my very standard and minimalist checklist I expect from anything I want to own—does it fit, does it function, and is there peace of mind?

How do the Johnny Combat Waterproof Boots Fit?

If you’re considering purchasing this boot, you will likely find reviews from verified purchasers. You can’t always tell from a quick comment who is clinically insane, but some of the one-star reviews are obvious. Most of the rational negative reviews come from the fit of the boot. Some say it runs too small, while others say it is larger than their standard size. I wear a size 10, and my Greyman color Johnny Combat boots are a 10.5 and a perfect fit. The VIKTOS website recommends ordering a half size up for the Waterproof Johnny Combat boot, and I would absolutely agree.

Protective Footwear

I didn’t put these tactical boots through an extreme beating but gave them at least 8 miles of off-road terrain. I had no complaints of blistering or any stabbing discomfort. The toe box had plenty of room for foot splay comfort, and the liner was surprisingly breathable for being waterproof. VIKTOS uses a foam material called D30 that acts as a shock absorber on the outside of the ankle. You can’t see it since it’s built into the shoe, but you can definitely feel it. That extra protection isn’t for ankle support but rather to protect your ankle from impact.

VIKTOS Johnny Combat Waterproof Boot sole

The sole was comfortable but nothing to write home about. Luckily, the sole is removable, so you can swap to whatever custom sole you prefer. If you’re a full kit kind of guy, VIKTOS even makes accessories such as their over-form-fitting replacement sole and Johnny Combat socks. Unless you buy custom insoles, you’re not likely to need them. These boots are comfortable, lightweight, and fit snugly in all the right places.

But do the VIKTOS Johnny combat boots fit me? Not fit physically, do they fit my needs? Not unless I’m going to combat sometime soon. It is no surprise that these boots weren’t made for me. They work for me, but I cannot test their combat readiness, which is their stated purpose. These were designed with veterans in mind, and my hikes and backyard work won’t require nearly as much durability as they offer. If anything, the Johnny Combat boots over-deliver on my needs. I might have the same success with a cheap pair of waterproof hiking boots from any discount store, but I certainly wouldn’t look as cool.

How do the Johnny Combat Waterproof Boots Function?


There isn’t much information about the Strife warfighter bottom unit other than that it was developed in compliance with the military’s AR670 standard requirements. It uses the D30 material mentioned earlier to prevent impacts from damaging the ankle and is much more than just the sole. The VIKTOS Johnny Combat boot has a “self-cleaning” tread at the front of the shoe, with the tip of the cleat being smaller than the base, which helps get mud and muck off the tread easier. The center tread grips well on ladders and is raised slightly to help lock your foot in place.

Close up of VIKTOS Boots soles.


The major problem was water, unfortunately. A few drops of water on tile or asphalt will have you questioning your balance very quickly. It seems like a waterproof boot, whose purpose would be worn in and around water, would have some traction in the water. Apparently not. Rubber and water typically don’t generally stick well, but the materials used for the sole are excellent for thick mud and uneven surfaces, but not wet rocky surfaces.

I was very disappointed that the Johnny Combat Waterproof boots do not come with Kevlar laces and metal aglets. They come standard with the non-waterproof Johnny combat boots, which allow you to run through thick brush and come out with laces that aren’t frayed and damaged. I considered buying new laces for most of my regular-use boots simply because I knew they would be the first part to wear out. In this situation, I’ll likely need to do the same because it will begin to fail after a few temperature and humidity changes.

The lamination could be more impressive. Many of the little details here may just be nitpicking, but I didn’t put these VIKTOS Johnny Combat boots through a lot, and I can already see wear that shouldn’t be there. Glue that shouldn’t be seen. Stitching that isn’t straight. Maybe I’m too picky. The boots work well for now. How long will it take for the sole to delaminate in one small area and compromise the integrity of the waterproof boot? From looking at it, my hopes aren’t high.

VIKTOS Boots glue visible on the edge of the sole.

Is there Peace of Mind with VIKTOS?

Ultimately, the only thing that can make me feel better about buying products manufactured in China is a solid US-based customer service team. Every time I’ve interacted with the VIKTOS returns and customer service team, I’ve had nothing but positive experiences. They are a four-year-old company, for crying out loud, and already established a stellar reputation. Is there a chance you can buy something from VIKTOS with a subpar lamination job or poor stitching? Yes. Is there a better chance you can send those products back to VIKTOS and get them replaced? Also, yes. That is enough for me to believe in them as a company, and that’s why I don’t really care if the boots were made in China.

Jeremy Stone

Breach-Bang-Clear Staff

Breach-Bang-Clear Staff

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