Introduced in the fall of 2019, the Johnny Combat Ops (JCO) Boot by Viktos brings a minimalist approach to tactical footwear without sacrificing any of the comfort or durability.
The upper throat of the JCO Boot is made from a nylon/synthetic combination that provides the ankle support with minimal weight over traditional materials.
The hardware includes standard pass-through metal eyelets that allow for smooth movement of the laces. The laces themselves are Dupont nylon with plastic tips.
Sidewalls on the JCO Boot are also made from a split nylon/synthetic pattern that give the boot structure and support along its sides, while allowing for flexibility over repetitive flexing of the materials.
A 6” throat on the boot provides the ideal height to support the ankle in light/moderate environments. The rear of the throat features a pass-through thumb loops for assisting in donning the boot, while the tongue also holds slim nylon loops for running laces or to aid in attaining a comfortable position for the boot.
The JCO Boot features the same sole as other Strife/Johnny Combat series footwear, drawing on its combat-focused outsole that gives the wearer a solid grip in a variety of environments. The lug design gives the sole a self-cleaning flex that helps ensure debris or rocks do not remain lodged.
The reinforced toe box to the boot is rounded rather than tapered to accommodate the natural splay of toes as the foot rolls under the body’s natural weight.
- 600D Nylon exterior chassis
- EVA rubberized sole with self-cleaning lugs
- Metal pass-through eyelets
- Nylon laces
The Johnny Combat Ops Boot are available in Ranger (featured), Coyote, and Nightfall with sizing that ranges from a Size 6 to 15
Product Evaluation Scores:
- Cost – Excellent (5/5): At $110 the JCOs are made of a material that is both a nylon/synthetic in design and common in most modern footwear. This allots for breathability of the foot, flexibility of the shoe, and protection where needed (both for the shoe and wearer). The most appropriate description for the JCO would be as a moderate-warm range boot that affords a lightweight yet functional use in most conditions. The closest comparator would be Salomon’s Quest ($239), or 5.11’s Taclite ($124.99), or Merrill’s Strongfield Tactical 6” ($170). It should be noted that the JCO is the predecessor to Viktos’ Johnny Combat ($95) boot, but that is being phased out in favor of the JCO which blends aspects of the Johnny Combat with their Strife ($150) boot that is also being rotated out. In all, at $110 the JCOs cost has a number of features that make it an excellent fit on the range, while keeping materials lightweight and flexible.
- Comfort – Good (4/5): Much like the Strife (Mid) boot, the JCO ran true-to-fit (meaning a size 11 will fit as a US-sized 11 shoe – not based on the actual physical length of the foot). It took several weeks for the nylon and synthetic material to break and even then the boot retained a tight fit to the heel and ankle for support. The heel itself was very well supported, and the boot held strength up the Achilles line, and across to the laces. Thus, it was apparent the boot was designed to give continual support to the ankle. The sole held a shock-resistant steyr foam lining on the outer edging that helped support and pad the foot bed. The toe box did indeed feel wider and accommodated the natural splay of toes when under heavy load (using stressor drills). Traditional boots often have a tapered toe box that harken back to ancient times when boots needed points to aid in mounting horse stirrups. Even today that design can pinch your toes or jam them when under load. The JCO was very comfortable and over the course of a 30-day evaluation cycle fit comfortably. Given the testing included Jan/Feb winter temps here in Missouri, the cold (down into single digits) could be felt seeping through the nylon of the toe box because of the material’s breathability, thus why the JCO would be better suited for moderate-warm environments—and something the consumer should be aware of.
- Durability – Good (4/5): Over the course of testing; worn as EDC and as range boots, the JCO held a good level of durability given its tested environment (which included pavement, grass, loose rock, water and mud). The intent for the JCO by design was as a dedicated range/field boot, and as such the materials were intended to excel in those settings. The synthetic exterior sections took a good amount of rough edges and abrasion, with only light/moderate scarring and water/mud residue to the material itself—none of which penetrated the inner layers of the boot. The toe and heel caps did their fair share of taking the brunt of use on the range, either from dynamic movements or different firing positions. The nylon exterior and interior lining aided in breathability and flexibility to maneuver over various terrain. The double line stitching throughout provided a very good level of durability and prevented any separation of the nylon and synthetic materials.
- Functionality – Average (3/5): Functionally, the JCO gave a good level of support to the ankle and width in the rounded toe box. The exterior synthetic sections were in appropriate places that provided reinforcement to the boot, as well as bore the more aggressive environmental conditions (specially on rock). The nylon loops on the top of the JCO’s heel and on the tongue definitely aided in donning/removing the boot. The EVA tread was similar to other Strife/Johnny Combat boots by Viktos with its self-cleaning lug design that did keep small rocks and debris from building up. It was noted mud did cake up in the serrated toe and trusstic of the sole, likely because of the arch design, but was easily knocked out either at the range or once dried. At no point did moisture penetrate the interior when introduced (not submerged) to moisture (mud or water). Some negative aspects noted from a functional point was cold winter air did get through the nylon of the toebox, and the plastic tips on the laces were tipped in a plastic wrap but would be better served if, as a range/field boot, the laces were metal tipped. In addition,we observed uponopening that there appeared to be some type of post-manufacturing oil residue/stain on the exterior of one of the boots that had not been identified during QC. When contacted, Viktos said that under normal conditions these boots would be immediately replaced under their warranty program provided the consumer contacts Viktos upon opening the box and not prior to wear.
- Weight – Good (4/5): Each individual 6” boot weighed in at 1.3 pounds (or 2.6 pounds for the pair), which is reasonable considering the use of nylon/synthetic materials and thick lug design. The weight did not become exacerbated when mud became caked into the bottom serrations only to be shed later through use. In comparison to the market alternatives noted above; the Salomon’s Quest (2 pounds/pair), or 5.11’s Taclite (3 pounds/pair), or Merrill’s Strongfield Tactical 6” (3.7 pounds) were mostly above the weight of the JCO’s in large part to the JCO’s split materials and efficient use of nylon over heavier fabrics, such as suede or leather. Viktos has found a good balance between a lighter range/field boot using their Strife design, but in the Johnny Combat Ops Boot.
Overall Rating – Good (20/25)
I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.
The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the author. The views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.