UA Speed Freek 7 Tactical Boots – detailed review
The Speed Freek is among Under Armour’s top rated boots. It also holds the No. 3 position in our all-time best Under Armour tactical boots guide. It’s right there behind Valsetz and Valsetz RTS.
UA made some pretty popular running/training shoes and later transferred the same technology into tactical and duty boots. That’s the special zing behind their “heavy-duty” line; a running shoe disguised as a combat boot.
Putting it simply, they were envisioned as something between the mobility of a hiking boot, ruggedness of a hunting model and the support/protection of a combat boot.
So, let’s see how it holds up under severe scrutiny from both our featured testers and customers who bought it on Amazon.
It’s two months since our last update, and we’re all anxious to see the changes in its Overall Ratings.
What we’ll go through in this review
Let’s set up the stage properly for dissecting this pair of tactical/hunting boots. We’ll see a quick rundown of everything we’ll throw at them before we can say they’ve truly “earned their Armour”.
Let me walk you through this tactical boots review:
- We’ll open it up with everything Under Armour had to say about these boots
- Everything they’ve said will be filtered through good and unpleasant user experiences
- I’ll add a little something not found in the previous update (it’s an in-depth surprise)
- We’ll chew it up into a short conclusion, in the end, to see if they’re worth our time and money
- The overall grade is a result of this review tempered by the impressions of our featured testers, filtered through the knowledge and experience of our team. That’s because SoleLabz reviews always take one step beyond (at least)
Speed Freek DNA (Borrowing Under Armour’s terminology)
Here’s what “The Freek” has for us:
- GTX lining is completely waterproof but allows perspiration to escape
- Overlaid with waterproof and lightweight pigskin leather for added durability and protection
- Outsoles with push-through protection keep your feet safe from rough terrain hazards without losing flexibility
- Toe caps are made of TPU and highly abrasion resistant. They give extra protection and durability to the front part of the boot
- Midsole material is EVA, which provides shock absorption and lightweight cushioning
- Molded Ortholite sockliner features a memory foam top and foam bottom with high-rebound for comfort and customized fit
- ETC Anti-Friction Lining nullifies rubbing on your feet while simultaneously wicking moisture
- The upper features speed lacing shanks for easier on/off. Black color option meets requirements for tactical/police boots and doesn’t have lacing shanks
- 20 oz of weight
Now, that’s a mouthful of info to chew and make sense off of. Nothing we wouldn’t expect from Under Armour, though. But the real scrutiny starts when that sole hits the mud in every-day situations.
Positive experiences users shared in their review of the UA Speed Freek
- These are the best lightweight tactical boots I’ve ever had! It’s like wearing two cushions on my feet
- I’ve put around 200 miles behind me wearing these, and they’re by far the most versatile boots among the ones I’ve tried. They handle every I hiked over perfectly
- A great pair of duty boots! I’m a police officer, and I needed something rugged and supportive but comfortable and flexible. These hit right on the money in all those aspects, and I highly recommend them
- They’re completely waterproof! As long as you don’t let the water get in from the top, you’re good and protected
- I like the leather they’re made of. It polishes super easy and keeps the shine for a long time
- My previous pair of these UA tactical boots lasted around two years of extreme heavy-duty use. One of the few best pairs of police tactical boots out there, I can vouch for that…
- Police tested and approved (the better part of my unit were the “testers”, btw)
- They’re pretty well ventilated considering they’re 100% waterproof. I’ve been wearing them throughout summer months without any problems with sweat or blisters. Just don’t get them too sun-beaten, though
- These make for a good pair of construction boots. I walk over irregular surfaces like gravel all day long, and they really hold they own. I’m thinking about ordering another pair
- Plenty of room in the toe box, great support for my ankles and arches, plus they look really cool
- They’re really comfortable and keep my feet dry even after the river crossings
- I’m a passionate hunter, and I use the Speed Freek ever since I got the first pair (currently on my third). The soles grip the ground like there’s no tomorrow, excellent for going over mossy creeks and wet logs
- I was in the military for 25 years. I wore combat boots every single day, and these are the most comfortable I’ve tried
- I’m a CPD dog handler, and I needed a pair of combat boots that’ll perform well on rainy and snowy days in Chicago. Under Armour Speed Freek boots are a true revelation! The traction is great on wet asphalt, snow or mud. Highly recommend these
CONs as the users shared them in their reviews of the UA Speed Freek:
- They’re a good pair of tactical boots, but they’re definitely not cheap for my budget
- I ordered half a size larger, and it was spot on. They go half a size larger
- They’re not made for sharp rocks and other off-trail staples
- I wish they made a version with the zipper like they did with Under Armour Valsetz
- They’re waterproof, sure, but I don’t feel like they’re made for harsh winter weather. My feet tend to get pretty cold in them
- They were stiff at the start, but I broke them in pretty quickly
In-depth “SoleLabz treatment” of these Under Armour boots
As a special addition, we’ll separate and discuss the more relevant points stated in the UA product specification. This is why we’re called SoleLabz; because we’ll review these boots on atomic level.
Waterproof tactical boots
The main thing separating Speed Freek from Valsetz and similar Under Armour tactical boots is GoreTex. This means that this is a full-blooded waterproof tactical boot instead of many similar models that merely feature a water-resistant mesh.
So, what is GoreTex?
It’s a waterproof membrane with around 9 billion microscopic pores per square inch. The secret lies in those pores. They’re larger than a molecule of water vapor approx. 700 times, so perspiration will slide right through. That explains the breathability. However, they’re 20k times smaller than an average water droplet, meaning mo water can penetrate it.
The known fact is that wet fabrics rob our bodies of warmth since they conduct heat three times faster than dry ones. That’s why having a GoreTex lining on your tactical boots is a veeery good idea.
Pigskin leather as the material of choice for combat boots
The Wolverine Worldwide Company calls it a “Warrior Leather”. You might be familiar with the said footwear manufacturer through some of their subsidiaries like Merrell or Bates tactical footwear.
There are several advantages to pigskin leather over cattle hide:
- It’s lighter
- Dries faster
- Absorbs less liquid
- More resistant to stains
- Better retains flexibility
Granted, it’s thinner than cowhide, but there have been no indications of a lessened durability for that reason. I’ll just mention that marine combat boots are made of pigskin for the better part.
TPU toe caps
Thermoplastic Polyurethane is a thermoplastic elastomer with a variety of properties and applications.
It falls in the “composite toe caps” end of the spectrum, alongside Kevlar, fiberglass, carbon fiber… The other side features steel toe caps. They all have their pros and cons, but we’re here to talk about TPU.
Here are some of its benefits:
- Very abrasion resistant
- High strength
- Low-temperature performance
- Grease and oil resistance
- High elasticity
So, even if it doesn’t sound cool as having “Kevlar coated combat boots”, your toes will be well-protected every step of the way.
Speed Freek is sporting an EVA midsole
Ethylene-vinyl acetate is a rubber-like elastomeric polymer known for its flexibility and softness. It’s a cross-linked polymer, meaning it’ll be more difficult to recycle than TPU.
These are the advantages of EVA:
- Low price
- Toughness at low temperatures
- Crack-stress resistance
- Waterproof propertie
- Resistance to ultraviolet radiation
- Shock absorption
It’s also known as “foam rubber” or “expanded rubber”, so if you see those terms somewhere, you’ll know it’s EVA.
The only disadvantage is that it’ll compress over time as the air trapped inside goes out. This means the flexibility will start fading over time since EVA doesn’t just bounce back. Chances of this happening during the lifetime of an average tactical boot are quite low, however.
Memory foam footbed
Memory foam is nothing more than Polyurethane featuring additional chemicals for increased density and viscosity. You can see it under names “viscoelastic polyurethane foam” or even “low-resilience polyurethane foam”.
Advantages of memory foam insoles are:
- Superior cushion and comfort
- Quickly reacts to body heat and molds to the shape of your feet
- Alleviates joint pain and helps with swollen feet and bunions
- Helps with all foot conditions that require added support and comfort
- Relieves pressure points, especially from the balls of your feet
Final thoughts on Under Armour Speed Freek boots
We’re talking about the older brother of Under Armour Valsetz here.
Our in-house team, featured testers and customers online agree these are a true revelation coming from UA assembly line. They have their limitations, of course, but as long as you take their purpose and design into account you’ll be sitting (or walking) pretty.
Lastly, these boots are primarily made for hunting, but people use them for all sorts of activities; hiking, trekking, backpacking, police work, construction…one of the most versatile tactical boot out there. Again, Overall Rating of 9 / 10 says a lot.
To summarize, let us take a look at the rating of the Speed Freek in individual categories and the Overall Rating: