The Wolverine I-90 EPX CarbonMax Boot won the 2018 Pro Tool Innovation Award for Best Boot so there must be something special about it. I laced up a pair to find out exactly what Wolverine did so well.

For any tradesman that wants a lightweight, comfortable, and durable safety boot that also protects feet from the elements and slippery conditions, these Wolverines fit the bill.

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I don’t think there’s a work boot worth its salt that doesn’t require at least a little break-in period. Fortunately, the break-in for the Wolverine I-90 EPX CarbonMax Boot was pretty short for me. It was really more of a newness factor than an uncomfortable one. Besides, I was gladly swapping my non-waterproof, regular boots for the waterproofing and safety of the Wolverines.

My only real (small) concern at first was convenience: I usually wear boots with a metal zipper and the I-90s have laces. I know, big deal, right? I’m happy to find that the Wolverines go on and come off without a problem.

Every jobsite has a hundred things that are potentially hazardous to your feet. In the masonry world, there’s heavy block, brick, stone, rebar, power cutters, and more. Speaking of power cutters, the water connection creates an absolute mess and it’s one of the reasons I decided to switch to a waterproof boot.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the waterproof Wolverine’s when I assisted on that review. The same water that cools the blade and arrests silica dust also soaks your shoes. Then the jobsite becomes muddy and slippery. Since I’ve performed the same tasks with the I-90s, my feet have stayed dryer and my footing more secure with the outsoles’ slip resistance.

At the end of the day, my feet still feel just fine thanks to the lightweight impact protection. The footbed strikes the right balance between cushion for comfort and stiffness that protects your feet from impact.

And a little bonus: with a little work, you can keep the Wolverine I-90 EPX CarbonMax Boot looking good. Just follow the care and feeding instructions that come in the box.

I wear a 9.5 and that’s generally an easy half size to find. I don’t feel like going up or down a half size is necessary as these fit true to size.

Wolverine sticks with a traditional work boot style and that’s just fine by me. It boils down to preference, of course, but some guys like the hiker style. I like the look of a work boot and Wolverine keeps this one subtly classy.

Honeycomb-patterned nanotubes – that’s how Wolverine describes the carbon structure that makes up the Wolverine I-90 EPX CarbonMax Boot’s safety toe. But it works: the toe cap meets ASTM standards and saves a noticeable amount of weight and material thickness over a steel counterpart.

A safety boot gives you some peace of mind, but if your feet are aching by the end of the day, you probably won’t wear them. The boots’ have a removable, dual-density PU EPX anti-fatigue footbed with a comfort PU midsole. A nylon shank protects your foot from the bottom.

Perhaps the only thing worse than a foot injury is walking around with wet feet. It’s inevitable that your feet will sweat, so the boot has a breathable, moisture-wicking membrane as most high-end boots do. But the full-grain leather upper is also waterproof.

I saw a complaint on Wolverine’s site that the waterproofing wore off – that shouldn’t be shocking. The company sends instructions for boot care in the box and there are conditioners and waterproofers available.

The I-90 seems priced well compared to its competition in this class (composite toe, waterproof). To stay in the ballpark, most manufacturers have to run with a weaker cement connection.

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There’s a lot to like about the Wolverine I-90 EPX CarbonMax Boot. Light, comfortable, and safe at a great value – considering them is a step in the right direction!

A liberty-loving, sensible, God-fearing options trader by day...Adam Spafford is known for his quick wit, easygoing demeanor, and readiness to lend a hand when called upon.

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