Sidewinder HPi boots from Magnum Boots are a special operations/tactical boot designed specifically for mountainous terrain. The Sidewinder HPi, like all Magnum boots, was tested and by special forces operators around the world, so when I was looking for a pair of rugged, hard use boots, I felt pretty confident that the Sidewinder HPi would work for me.
Features and Technology
The Sidewinder HPi boots have many great features, several of which are detailed below. For a full listing, be sure to check out Magnum’s website.
The Sidewinder HPi is currently available in eitherÂ Desert TanÂ orÂ MultiCam, mine being the MultiCam version.Â TheÂ MultiCam patternÂ is extremely popular, and Magnum’s implementation is just plain awesome.
Every inch of the boot, from the outsole molding to the lace eyelets to the Magnum logo, is MultiCam. To my knowledge, there aren’t many boot manufacturers even attempting a full MultiCam boot, and of the ones that are, none come anywhere close to Magnum’s quality.
The upper is the outer part of the boot that covers the top of your foot. The upper on the Sidewinder HPi is made with 2.2mm of suede with a 1200 denier nylon panel for breathability. The lace eyelets, in addition to being MultiCam, will not shine or glint if they are scratched, which is a nice touch. I also really appreciate the locking cleat, which allows you get a good ankle fit.
The outsole is the rubberÂ part of the bottom of the boot that grips the ground, also called the sole. The outsole on the Sidewinder HPi is the very excellent Vibram outsole, and is the hardestÂ durometer Vibram offers.
I’ve had boots with Vibram outsoles over the years and have always been happy with their performance and durability. And again, the Sidewinder HPi outsole is molded in MultiCam and it looks great.
The midsole is theÂ part of a boot that rests on top of the outsole and is connected to the upper, and is a critical part of any boot, especially hard use boots. In my experience, for hard use boots you want a stiff midsole, and the Sidewinder HPi delivers. The Sidewinder HPi midsole is made from dual-density polyurethane that prevents the midsole from squishing in heat, and provides excellent strength and support.
The insole, also called the footbed, isÂ the foam or rubber piece that sits on top of the midsole and touches the bottom of the foot. The insole is often removable, as it is one of the most important things that will drive comfort. The Sidewinder HPi features an OrthoLite insole that is surprisingly comfortable. Typically I replace the insole of my boots, but that is not needed with the Sidewinder HPi.
Tongue and Tongue Gusset
The tongue is of course theÂ flap of fabric and foam padding that covers the top of the boot. The tongue gusset is theÂ layer of fabric connecting the sides of the tongue to the upper. The tongue on the Sidewinder HPi is thick, very comfortable and reasonably breathable. The Sidewinder HPi tongue gusset goes up fairly high, which is important as this is where the waterproof level will stop.
The ion-mark technology in the Sidewinder HPi boots is pretty cool stuff. Essentially, the ion-mask is a protective surface enhancement that provides a waterproof, chemical and pathogen resistant barrier at the molecular level, while still remaining breathable.
One of my requirements in a hard use boot is that they be waterproof. I’ve had good luck with GORE-TEX over the years (which is a membrane), so I was curious to test out the ion-mask technology in the Sidewinder HPi boots. According to Magnum, the Sidewinder is not a completely waterproof boot, rather it is a water resistant boot.
To test just how waterproof the boots are, I walked in water on the edge of a large pond for about 20 minutes. I know, my test protocol isn’t exactly real world, but it works! My Sidewinder HPi boots worked great, and my feet remained dry. Had the water been deep enough to come over the upper of the boot, or had it been prolonged like in snow, my feet would have definitely gotten wet.
The other benefit of the ion-mask is that it makes the boots easier to clean. I must confess that normally I don’t care if my boots get a little dirty, as I think mud stains add a little character. But caking mud all over the boots and covering the MultiCam finish sort of defeats the purpose of getting MultiCam boots in the first place, so I’ve changed my dirty ways. Cleaning is easy, simply spray them off with a hose. I haven’t had to do anything else to them, and honestly they still look brand new.
Fit and Comfort
I typically wear a 12 medium in boots, and the Sidewinder HPi fit was spot on for me. I had no problems with blisters, and the break in period was very short.
As I’ve already hinted, these boots are ridiculously comfortable, especially considering that they are hard use boots. I expected them to be much stiffer than they are, and honestly they are comfortable enough to just wear everyday. The boots weigh in atÂ 28.8oz.
- Men’s Medium (D): 7-12, 13, 14, 15
- Men’s Wide (EEE): 8-12, 13, 14, 15
Quality and Value
The quality level of the Sidewinder HPi boots is outstanding. Looking inside and out of the boot, the materials, stitching and seams are all top quality. To my knowledge, they are the best, and maybe only, true MultiCam boot on the market today. The durability so far has been outstanding, they still look brand new. Given these factors and the features already discussed, the Sidewinder HPi is a great value.
One thing you may not know is that you pay a premium for an authentic Crye Precision MultiCam patterned product. So if you want the Sidewinder HPi quality at a lower price, and you can live without MultiCam, consider the Desert Tan option.
Whichever color you choose, you can either buy direct from Magnum Boots or go through one of their dealers like Botach Tactical, who, at the time of writing, was selling the Desert Tan option for under $100. That’s amazing value.
I couldn’t be happier with my Sidewinder HPi boots. I love them so much, I’m considering getting another pair in Desert Tan, or checking out another model like the Spider 8.1 or Spider 5.1. This was my first experience with the Magnum brand, and needless to say it was very positive and won’t be my last. I’m looking forward to testing more Magnum products in the future.
Do you have Magnum boots or apparel? Let me know your thoughts below!