TR Mini-Mil Transition Boot (TR115) Update w/Comparison to Mini-Mil Boot (TR103)

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    • #90176
      Joe (G.W.N.S.)
      Moderator

        Tactical Research is a brand within the Belleville Boot Company.

        They market a variety of modern Boots.

        Tactical Research’s Mini-Mil Series Background

        The popularity of the “barefoot” running movement continues to rapidly expand as athletes from all sports begin to shed their traditional training shoes for footwear that closely mimics the barefoot running experience. Minimalist footwear is designed to allow the foot maximum freedom of movement and articulation while providing a degree of protection for the underfoot. Being both flexible and low to the ground, they provide a more natural gait of movement and the sensation that one is actually barefoot. The thought process behind minimalist footwear is to reduce initial joint impact by creating a shoe that allows for a more natural foot motion – ultimately increasing running performance and decreasing the risk of injury.

        If you are wearing the MINI-MiL® for the first time or have not previously trained in minimalist footwear, we encourage a very gradual transition as you will be using new muscles in the feet and lower legs.

        Even if you’re a veteran runner who is used to running in lightweight shoes, you should take caution when transitioning to a more minimalist type of shoe or boot. You’re bound to engage muscles in your feet, lower legs and core differently than you’re used to, partially because you’ll be landing less on your heel with a braking angle and more near your midfoot with a more level landing. That will require a period of adjustment, especially if you haven’t been doing general strength or dynamic strength exercises.

        Don’t expect to put on the MINI-MiL® and run a long distance right away. You need to slowly build up your mileage with this boot. We recommend wearing the MINI-MiL® for 1 – 2 hour intervals the first few weeks. Gradually increase usage as your body strengthens and adapts.

        What is “drop”?

        “Drop” is referred to as the height differential between heel and mid-sole of a shoe. For years, traditional training shoes have been built with a 12-15mm heel-toe differential. The moderate minimalist shoes typically have a 4-10mm heel-toe drop and zero-drop shoes are generally those that fall in the 0-4mm range.

        What is the “drop” on the MINI-MiL® boots?

        The MINI-MiL®has a drop of 2mm. The MINI-MiL® Transition has a 6mm drop.

        The minimalist footwear idea has many believers and critics, I personally could care less about that discussion. For those that are into knowing more of this theory a search of “minimalist footwear” or “barefoot running” will provide hours of reading.

        Footwear is a very personal choice and the various physiological differences make any attempt at shoe horning (pun intended) people into one option that applies to all is completely absurd.

        I have been searching for a appropriate Boot for my AO here in Florida for just over three years. This Thread Boots in the Southeast? represents this search.

        I have tried a variety of boots during that time, I have not done a review on these test Boots. None of these boots had quality issues, but for various reasons they just didn’t meet the requirements I truly wanted. I would have reported any defective products, but they were all quality products that held up well within their design.

        In regards to footwear what works for me, may not work for you, and vice versa!

        A quick comment on sizing, I base my choice not on the last shoe I owned, but on what a “Men’s Brannock Device” reads my foot to be. Yes there are variations by manufacture, but IMHO the best place to start is using Brannock baseline. I have had no mistakes, particularly when buying over the web utilizing this method.


        Men’s Brannock Device

        What is my number one priority?

        How fast they dry, yes in my AO I will be getting wet repeatedly so I need a fast drying boot to keep my feet healthy.

        What about comfort?

        Comfort is a relative thing; individual perception, many desire all that padded protection, spongy almost “posterpedic” feeling, and who wouldn’t?

        The problem is all of that padding absorbs and holds water close to your feet resulting in your skin absorbing that water. End result is your feet deteriorate leading to one of the immersion foot syndromes.

        Remember I am not talking about a bad day or weekend hunt, but living in this environment and possibly on the run with little opportunity and time to care for your feet.

        Mini-Mil Transition Coyote Boot (TR115)

        First impression was the box was empty, these are very light boots. Once on and standing initially they almost feel like your standing on a upward slope since the drop is so little compared to traditional boots, this soon fades. They feel somewhere between a jungle boot and a hunting moccasin.

        Men’s Hot Weather Coyote Minimalist Transition Boot

        8” (Standard Military Height)

        Flesh-side out cattlehide leather & 1000 denier Cordura® nylon

        Highly cushioned, shock absorbent midsole

        100% rubber EXCLUSIVE VIBRAM® “TALUS” is oil & slip resistant

        Single density molded removable insert

        Highly breathable upper

        6 millimeter heel to toe “drop”

        Aero-Spacer breathable, hydrophilic mesh lining

        Double & triple stitched seams for enhanced durability

        Padded Achilles support

        Convenient pull-on loop

        Let’s discuss how the above features work for me.

        The 8″ height provides some ankle support, ankle abrasion/impact protection, and is sufficient for blousing trousers when needed for protection from various swamp life.

        Leather and cordura are staples for heavy duty footwear. Flesh-side out? Some worry about water absorption, it really isn’t a issue, you can treat it with a variety of products if it bothers you. More important is to monitor the condition of the leather and treat as necessary to prevent it from drying out and getting brittle leading to cracking.

        Highly breathable upper and Aero-Spacer breathable, hydrophilic mesh lining?

        These aren’t lined in the traditional sense. The interior has a mesh water absorbing netting that has some cushion to the touch, but it’s purpose is to draw moisture away from foot into this surrounding air channel where it has a chance to evaporate and pump out of vents by billowing effect that is created by walking.

        Single density molded removable insert is perhaps 1/8″ to 3/16″ thick, it provides some additional cushioning, but it’s primary purpose is to channel water out to the side mesh with the grooves in underside of insert.

        These are the fastest drying boots I have ever experienced.

        Quality of construction is excellent, stitching is uniform, no excess glue is evident.

        I’ve been wearing these for a couple of months, despite reviews listing heel blisters until broke in as a problem I have not experienced this. Though I wear a thick merino wool socks with a thin x-static sock liner which has proven to be effective in preventing blisters for me.

        The 100% rubber VIBRAM® “TALUS” sole has proven effective for traction and provides the tactile feedback I prefer when stalking to assist in remaining quiet. I haven’t experienced any noises regardless of surface type when walking.

        They are without a doubt the lightest boots I have ever owned.

        Depending on the results of longterm wear and tear over the next 6 months, I will purchase several more pairs to put aside.

        Anyone considering such a boot must be mindful of the possible transition if you normally wear a boot with more support such as the typical military mountain boot.

        I have been wearing a lightweight Palladium Chukka Boot (think heavy duty converse sneaker with lugged sole) so my transition to this so-called minimalist boot has been both seemless and painless.

        Will update in six months if no problems arise.

      • #90177
        SeanT
        Keymaster

          Great news Joe
          I am in the market for something like this. I have been wearing vibram 5 finger trek ascents pretty much every day for about 18 months. I even wore them at a couple days at MVT during class with no real issues. The minimalist approach worked for me. The additional physical protection will be nice to have and I am sure they are warmer.

        • #90178
          Joe (G.W.N.S.)
          Moderator

            I have been wearing vibram 5 finger trek ascents pretty much every day for about 18 months.

            You may even be interested in the MINI-MiL Series vice the transition.

            A true minimalist boot featuring a 2mm “drop” between the heel & forefoot, the MINI-MiL is designed specifically for the conditioned warrior athlete currently training in minimalist athletic footwear. This quick-drying unlined boot is not only highly breathable, but lightweight too – weighing less than 16 ounces per half pair.

          • #90179
            Keeper
            Participant

              Got a pair I pick at Camp Blanding here in Fl.
              good boots, very light

            • #90180
              SeanT
              Keymaster

                Yes Joe, thanks. I would go for the 2mm drop.
                A pair is on my list now for sure.

              • #90181
                Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                Moderator

                  I would go for the 2mm drop.

                  I may give them a try myself depending how the Transition’s go longterm.

                  …at Camp Blanding…

                  How good a selection of products do they have?

                • #90182
                  wheelsee
                  Participant

                    Is there a concern for penetration protection?? In south TX, cactus spines were imbedded in my Merrell’s toe box. I didn’t have any penetration through the sole, but Moab’s have a nylon shank.

                    Any difference in size needed for wearing thicker wool socks??

                  • #90183
                    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                    Moderator

                      Is there a concern for penetration protection?

                      If penetration of sole was a concern there are many aftermaket insoles from synthetic to thin steel. Upper I wouldn’t think is any better or worse than any other boot.

                      Synthetic or steel toe work boots maybe a better option for such an environment.

                      Any difference in size needed for wearing thicker wool socks?

                      They are sized for a wider toe box to allow feet to spread out and wiggle toes, this is much like the original “Jungle Boots” that were slightly bigger for foot swelling in a hot jungle environment.

                      I wear a heavy wool sock with x-staatic liner daily in them.

                    • #90184
                      Keeper
                      Participant

                        not big but good about three large shelves of boots

                      • #90185
                        dave37
                        Participant

                          Is there a concern for penetration protection?? In south TX, cactus spines were imbedded in my Merrell’s toe box. I didn’t have any penetration through the sole, but Moab’s have a nylon shank.

                          Any difference in size needed for wearing thicker wool socks??

                          I wore a worn out pair of these boots to the Texas class this year and didn’t have any penetration issues despite running around in plenty of cactus.

                          Another big thumbs up for the Minimil from me. I’ve been wearing them 40 hours a week for four years now, and I love them. They are very light and comfortable, and I can run faster than with a standard boot. They are also very quiet if you are walking through brush. Durable, too; I generally get 1.5-2 years out of a pair. The black ones take a high polish if that is a job requirement too.

                          HEAT 1 2017
                          Intro to CQB 2017
                          Texas HEAT 2 2018
                          Operation TeaSinker 2019
                          Combat Leader Course 2019
                          Team Coyote
                          Team Rekkr
                          Team Cowbell

                        • #90186
                          Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                          Moderator

                            A quick update on these Mini-Mil Transition’s.

                            The temperatures here in Florida have really picked up since I got these boots. Many boots in this hot humid environment hold quite a bit of moisture to your feet just from sweating. I normally wear a heavy wool sock with x-staatic liner with any boot. These have proven to breath well and dry out so quick that I tried wearing some cotton blend crew socks with them (something I would never do for real use) these are probably the worse choice for use with boots. Even with these socks and sweating here in Florida I had absolutely no problems and at the end of the day at worst socks were slightly damp. While this is not something I will do regularly it does demonstrate breathability.

                            Comfort wise these are still like wearing sneakers vice boots.

                            For my AO these are the best boots I have ever had.

                            Despite me being very hard on my footwear there is no signs of wear.

                            I will be purchasing several more pairs to keep on hand.

                            The only caution I recommend is taking time to adjust to these minimalist style boots as they are a different on your feet as noted by manufacturer.

                            I do plan a trying a pair of the Mini-Mil’s for comparison. Will report results when that happens.

                          • #90187
                            SeanT
                            Keymaster

                              I am having a tough time getting the right fit. Some reviews said they run a little small so I went for an 11.5 R, too short. My ‘measured’ foot is US-11 EU-44. the 12-2E was too wide in the heel. Looking for a 12R is my next try. I like the boots though.These are not the transitions, but 2mm version.

                            • #90188
                              Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                              Moderator

                                I am having a tough time getting the right fit.

                                I hope you sort it out, it’s not always easy particularly via web purchases.

                                I am going to try a pair of Mini-Mil’s (2mm drop) also. I am thinking they will be similar to the Hunting Moccasins I have used in the past for stalking.

                                Another update is there is a new Transition TR511 boot. I waiting on a answer for my email to Belleville, but it appears to be just a cosmetic change as the new TR511’s are AR 670-1 COMPLIANT.

                                Though this may be a windfall for me as the TR115’s go on clearance. AR 670-1 COMPLIANT is no longer a factor for me. ;-)

                              • #90189
                                Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                Moderator

                                  From Belleville: The new Transition TR511 boot is the replacement for the TR115 due to the wrong coyote color for military. This is why the TR511 is AR 670-1 Compliant.

                                  The TR115’s are down to as low as $75 a pair, an excellent deal for those that AR 670-1 doesn’t apply. :good:

                                • #90190
                                  Andrew
                                  Participant

                                    You are tempting me, but payday ain’t until tomorrow.

                                  • #90191
                                    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                    Moderator

                                      You are tempting me, but payday ain’t until tomorrow.

                                      I have really become a fan, but they aren’t for everyone. Takes time for feet to acclimate if your used to heavier padded soles.

                                      I was happy to find a pair around $95, ordered another pair at $76, and will keep an eye them to go lower. I found that when I find something works right for me that is a consumable like boots it’s good to stock up. :-) :good:

                                      Really got spoiled being issued quality boots, since retiring the sticker shock really kicked my rear end.

                                      The price may even drop more! ;-)

                                    • #90192
                                      Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                      Moderator

                                        I am extremely happy with these boots for my needs and environment.

                                        So what about wear and tear?

                                        The pair I wear most days from working outdoors to just knocking around have done well. I had to replace laces, just used some quality 550 cord at around the sixth month. No frayed or damaged stitching or separation in the sole to leather connection. The soles even with having a very soft grippy feel have held up well despite daily walks on a paved walkway with dogs and training on same walkway. One area on each boots inner ball of foot has shown increased wear while rest of sole looks relatively new when compared to hardly used pair. When new ones come in I’ll compare to actual unused pair.

                                        Looking forward to seeing how they perform in Florida Winters.

                                        I was happy to find a pair around $95, ordered another pair at $76, and will keep an eye them to go lower. I found that when I find something works right for me that is a consumable like boots it’s good to stock up.

                                        Ordered two more pairs on clearance for $49.99 with free shipping.

                                      • #90193
                                        zeerf
                                        Participant

                                          Ordered two more pairs on clearance for $49.99 with free shipping.

                                          Awesome deal it sounds like you got! :yahoo:

                                        • #90194
                                          Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                          Moderator

                                            Just over a year update.

                                            I truly love these boots and are perfect for my Florida use and as stated these dry out amazingly fast.

                                            In Florida winter weather, I spent a day out in heavy rain with temperature just above freezing. Truly miserable weather. With an X-static sock liner and thick merino wool socks feet were fine with periodic movement, when sitting for extended periods was slightly uncomfortable. If course so was the rest of me in those conditions.

                                            Even with boots completely waterlogged all day, I just removed insole at night and boots were completely dry next morning!

                                            I have four pairs, two still in box, my original which I wear more days than not, and another pair I’ve managed to keep clean enough to wear occasionally when I want to look nicer and can get away without real dress shoes. ;-)

                                            I haven’t purchased a pair of the MINI-MiL Series with 2mm drop yet, but after a year in the transitions I am seriously thinking about it.

                                          • #90195
                                            Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                            Moderator

                                              I haven’t purchased a pair of the MINI-MiL Series with 2mm drop yet, but after a year in the transitions I am seriously thinking about it.

                                              Well I finally picked up a pair of the Mini-Mil’s.

                                              Obviously I am happy with the Mini-Mil Transitions since I have four pairs! ;-)

                                              After proving this boot, then finding some excellent bargains the averaged price of transitions was $67.75 each. This combined with the fact that boots are a consumable item, I just couldn’t pass them up!

                                              Having become a fan of this type of minimalist boot I figured getting a pair of the even lower drop of 2 mm vice the Transitions 6 mmm drop worth a look.

                                              I found a pair of Tactical Research Belleville (TR103) Mini-Mil Boots in Sage for $86.60.

                                              Typically these are around $130 a pair, it was this price, not the color that sold me on choosing now. This Sage is AFI 36-2903 compliant for the USAF.

                                              So not my first choice in color, but hard use will turn them into my AO’s color soon enough.

                                              For example:

                                              New Mini-Mil Transition


                                              Mini-Mil Transition after a 18 months of hard use.


                                              Mini-Mil in Sage

                                              Description:

                                              A true minimalist boot featuring a 2mm “drop” between the heel and forefoot, the Mini-Mil is designed specifically for the conditioned warrior athlete currently training in minimalistic athletic footwear. This quick-drying unlined boot is not only highly breathable, but lightweight too weighing less than 2lbs per pair.

                                              The upper is made out of grain-out leather and 1000 denier Cordura nylon. The Mini-Mil features a compression molded EVA midsole and a single density molded EVA insole. The rugged, long-wearing outsole is made of VIBRAM “Tarsus” oil and slip resistant rubber.

                                              Belleville has been making combat boots for Uncle Sam since World War I and is currently the largest boot supplier to the Department of Defense, but when they set out to design a new line of tactical combat boots (dubbed Tactical Research), they did not let tradition hold them back. They pioneered a novel approach that provides everything you need – reliability, stability, and traction – in a lightweight, comfortable boot that provides sure footing and an improved feel for the ground.

                                              Why clunk around with an inch or two of rubber stuck to the bottom of your feet when you can glide through your area of operations?

                                              Sizing:

                                              Due to the wider shape of the toe box, we have found that the MINI-MiL tends to run on the small/short side. For this reason, we recommend customers order a half size up from your normal shoe size. For instance, if you wear a size 10, then we would recommend you order a 10.5 in the MINI-MiL.

                                              My Mini-Mil Transition are a size 13R and they don’t run half sizes after 12 in this product, so I went with a 14R. I am satisfied with the fit.

                                              Just like the TR115, these TR103’s are extremely light weight.

                                              I’ll spend a couple of days just normal walking about, then go over the differences in detail, before putting them to harder use.

                                            • #90196
                                              Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                              Moderator

                                                Differences…

                                                Mini-Mil Transition uses Aero-Spacer breathable, hydrophilic mesh lining and a removable channeled insole.

                                                Mini-Mil has no lining and non-removable insole.

                                                Mini-Mil Transition has the VIBRAM® “TALUS” outsole. This is softer, more flexible, and provides a better tactile feel of what you are walking on, but will wear faster.

                                                Mini-Mil has the VIBRAM “Tarsus” outsole that wears better (reported, will decide after long term use), it is less flexible, has less tactile feedback, and it feels harder.

                                                …has less tactile feedback…

                                                I decided I should clarify this, while the “Mini-Mil” has less feedback compared to the “Transition,” it is still dramatically better than traditional boots.

                                                The ability to move quietly in the field or when stalking will be dramatically better with either of these choices.

                                                Mini-Mil Transition uses 57 .076 inch diameter vents using the mesh lining as the screen. This creates a billowing as you step for increased mechanical ventilation.

                                                Mini-Mil use two .228 inch traditional screened vents.

                                                Mini-Mil Transition:

                                                First impression was the box was empty, these are very light boots. Once on and standing initially they almost feel like your standing on a upward slope since the drop is so little compared to traditional boots, this soon fades. They feel somewhere between a jungle boot and a hunting moccasin.

                                                Mini-Mil:
                                                The same empty box feeling, these are also light boots. I was somewhat surprised at them feeling like your standing on a upward slope since the drop is so little compared to even the transitions, in minutes it fades. They feel like a lightweight minimalist jungle boot.

                                              • #90197
                                                Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                                Moderator

                                                  Well it’s interesting how just a 4 mm lower drop effects you. After two days of wear I can feel my Achilles tendons. Not painful, but obviously stretched. I have one mild hot spot over my lateral malleolus (outside ankle potrusion).

                                                  With this in mind, I think I will go to wearing them every other day until they are broken in and I adjust.

                                                  With the exception of the mild hot spot they are comfortable and my feet have stayed very dry.

                                                  I can definitely see their point about wearing them only a few hours a day if new to minimalist footwear.

                                                • #90198
                                                  Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                                  Moderator

                                                    A brief update.

                                                    The Mini-Mil Transition are very quick drying by design and materials.

                                                    Mini-Mil has almost nothing to absorb water, so by design they are slightly drier than the Mini-Mil Transition. Giving the use of only two vented openings they breath amazingly well.

                                                    The Mini-Mil Transition required almost no break in for me, the Mini-Mil took significantly longer to break in, however I was not in a rush so wearing only 3-4 times a week added to this.

                                                    I highly recommend both of these boots to those that require their features.

                                                    I would not go to the Mini-Mil unless you are used to minimalist footwear.

                                                    This brings us to the whole minimalist footwear concept, while I have not gotten into much detail on this it has worked out very well for me.

                                                    I had experienced frequent foot pain and related issues that I attributed to wear and tear over my life.

                                                    This has completely vanished and feet feel much stronger.

                                                    This is of course anecdotal and I will not be promoting any “fad” theories.

                                                    Yes it has worked extremely well for me, but one size fits all solutions are a fools errand IMHO!

                                                    If you are looking for a Jungle or hot weather boot these are excellent options.

                                                    Have long term foot issues, research the minimalist footwear concept as it maybe as helpful to you as it has been for me. Though as stated it was a side benefit in my search for the correct boots for me in my AO.

                                                  • #90199
                                                    Max
                                                    Keymaster

                                                      @Joe (G.W.N.S) – I wanted to ask how the mini-mil transition are designed primarily inside in the heel cup area? I ask because I have long suffered heel blisters from the classic jungle boot to the same designed US Army issue boot in suede. So much so I would buy my own jungle boots.

                                                    • #90200
                                                      Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                                      Moderator

                                                        The mini-mil transition I have had no problems in the heel cup area, though there were some early reports of this. There have been some subtle changes to construction that may have addressed this prior to me discovering them.

                                                        The entire inside has as stated below.

                                                        These aren’t lined in the traditional sense. The interior has a mesh water absorbing netting that has some cushion to the touch, but it’s purpose is to draw moisture away from foot into this surrounding air channel where it has a chance to evaporate and pump out of vents by billowing effect that is created by walking.

                                                        The heel cup is made of smooth thin leather on inside stitched to lining mesh. There is a stiffener cup between this and outside of heel.

                                                        These have been the best boots for my use that I have ever had, enough so that when I found good deals I purchased extras. I currently have eight pairs of the Mini-Mil Transition Boots. Five have never been worn.

                                                        I have one pair Mini-Mil Boots.

                                                        I will try to get some pictures when I get home, both new and used pairs.

                                                      • #90201
                                                        Max
                                                        Keymaster

                                                          I’m interested. I believe on the suede jungle-type (desert) boots it was the internal stitching at the top of the heel cup that caused me the problem. Never went away with wear and I always wore other boots.

                                                          I also heard reports in the US Mil of guys forced to wear the ‘issue’ boots on SFAS had a method of cutting out the heel cup.

                                                        • #90202
                                                          Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                                          Moderator

                                                            Here is a picture of my oldest well worn pair.

                                                            Here is my current go to pair.

                                                            Here is a brand new pair.

                                                          • #90203
                                                            Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                                            Moderator

                                                              The inside heel cup is a soft thin suede vice smooth I just reported, it feels smooth after much use.

                                                              I know of people that removed cups on issue boots, on the original OD upper jungle boots the heel cup would fall out on its own much of the time with hard wet jungle use in Central America.

                                                            • #90204
                                                              Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                                              Moderator

                                                                What size do you wear?

                                                              • #90205
                                                                Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                                                Moderator

                                                                  With the transitions from day one it was more like wearing sneakers than boots.

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