**WET BOOT REVIEW**
Last weekend I went out with over 20 paddlers and tested out the 5mm Gul Viper split toe boot and the Gul CZ Winward 5mm boot (Windward review coming tomorrow) and below is what I thought of both boots.
We will start with the Viper! Straight out of the box these books just screamed premium, the seams, material, and overall feel of these boots were just impressive.
Immediately noticeable was the heal support and protection around the sides of the boot, the panels maintained the structure of the boot but still flexible still looked like it would offer a good level of support. The main body of the boot was a neoprene socket section with rubber support panels strategically placed around the ankle and around the foot. The next section to notice was the split toe, although the boot is a toe divider the boot from the out side was rounded with the divider actually built inside the boot. to the rear of the heal was a loop to assist pulling the boots over the heal which was strong enough for me to comfortably secure to boot on my foot.
Now the boots were on I noticed how well they hugged around my foot, the toe divider was lined so there was no hard plastic jammed between my toe. As I am not a fan of flip flops and generally wear sliders this was a welcomed feature, my concern about the split toe was short lived which how comfortable the boot actually was. With sizing I am normally a size 8 in most footwear so opted to try the size 8 boot naturally, I had previously owned the power boot and was comfortable in a size 8 so this seemed like a natural choice. In all honesty its my advice with the viper to actually choose a size larger than what you actually are, my toes were close to the end of the boot and although not uncomfortable in hindsight a size 9 would have been the better choice.
Although the darkest and coldest depths of the Winter season are not upon us even in my old boots I could definitely feel the water temperature taking a turn to the cold side. With these boots I was straight in to the water and to my surprise no water leakage and were really warm. As I walked down into the slippery boat launch I found a great deal of grip from the sole which at first impressions do not seem to over much of a tread pattern. All this and I still maintained a great deal of feeling through the sole especially as I stood on my paddle board and started to change my footing as I moved round the board and completed several pivot turns. The group I was with were paddling for around 4 hours and at no time did my feet feel cold, wet or uncomfortable.
I would not fault these boots in any way the feel of the boot with the warm lining throughout the inside of the boot kept the boot nice and toasty. The Neo sock section was comfortable and not overly tight around my lower calf but snug enough not to allow any water into the boot. Looking forward to take these Vipers on another outing in to colder waters as after the first test they have given me a massive amount of confidence.
4.5 out of 5