While on the phone yesterday with the NZ National TCC Coordinator Marlies Laser we got to talking about climbing boot options and the tree climbing workplace.
The Gronell Tango and Scarpa Pro Ascent climbing boots sold by Treetools are not 'safety' boots. That is, they do not have toe cap protection, making them unsuitable as a work boot. At the other end of the scale are the boots by Klima-Air and Aquafell which offer full chainsaw protection.However, many NZ arb companies do not require full chainsaw protection from their work boots and instead opt for the more economic 'safety' boot with a steel toe cap, like those from Skellerup etc.
The problem with standard safety boots is they do not make good climbing boots. Most have no shank, making them too flexible mid-sole to achieve sufficient grip with the toes and they are typically too heavy. Marlies was looking for a boot similar to the Scarpa Pro Ascent but with toe protection… and she didn't want them to be too heavy. That is, sub 1.5 kg if possible.
Treetools has nothing currently listed that reaches this specification. Marlies suggested the Timberland Pro Series Athletic Hiker (pictured below) she had seen in Europe. The Athletic Hiker is a new technology safety boot made from water resistant Nubuk leather. It has minimal stitching, a simple lacing system and a reinforced toe cap for greater durability. They also sport a thin steel, mid-sole shank making them stiff enough for grip but relatively easy to walk in… and they are light (for a safety boot) - only 1.44 kg.
Treetools will get a few pair of these boots in for trial - they might be just what NZ tree climbers are looking for as a work boot - thanks Marlies!