Feelgrounds continues to impress with a lighter and sleeker version of the Patrol Winter boot. Featuring the same excellent sole design and a durable vegan leather upper, the Patrol Lite is an attractive everyday boot!
From the Manufacturer
The Patrol Lite is a classic boot perfect for spring and autumn. With its wide toe box and flexible sole, it supports your natural gait. The luxurious microsuede lining and the exchangeable natural cork insole provide maximum comfort. High-quality soft faux leather and waxed cotton laces add premium character – 100% vegan. Thanks to the gusseted tongue and water-repellent properties of the upper material, the Patrol Lite also performs well in the rain.
Compared to the Patrol Winter, the Patrol Lite is more breathable, as the Patrol Lite has no additional waterproof membrane.
Feelgrounds introduced a new sole design and pattern for the Patrol Winter Boot and this same excellent sole is used in the Lite version of the Patrol.
This a great sole with a varied lug patterns and a semi false heel for a more traditional bootlike look. The sole of the Patrol has deep lugs with good traction. Its tread pattern features orientation-opposed triangles and with a perimeter of square patterns along the edges of the boot.
Like other Feelgrounds soles, there are small dimples on top of the lugs that provide a whisper of extra traction on the surface of each lug. These will eventually wear out, but they are a good inclusion. I think that they could be a little dimpler, but that is my preference.
The square provide stability and enhance durability, but they also hinder the boot’s ability to move snow out of the lugs in deeper conditions. This may be less of an issue with the Patrol lite than the Patrol Winter because of the intended purpose of this boot is not to channel out snow, but I believe that a more open lugs on the edges of the sole will expel water, dirt, and light snow more easily and prevent clumping.
Despite being on the slightly thicker side in terms of total stack height, the sole is comfortable to walk in because of this more closed in lug design and its square perimeter lugs. On the flip side, as the lugs are narrowly spaced for walking smoothness, the space between the lugs so narrow, making it easy for ice and mud to get trapped and diminish the overall traction in certain circumstances, just like the Patrol Winter
That being said, this is a heavy-duty sole that is much thicker than other variations from Feelgrounds. The rubber itself is a denser formula than the ones in my Original Knit everyday shoe and the sole is more durable as a result. The rubber is still quite grippy, so there may be no need to use those old gummier soles anymore. Feelgrounds revised their leisure soles for more durability last year, but they still retained that slightly gummy feel and could still be more durable. They ar always updating their models, so I hope this rubber sole material is used throughout their lineup.
In terms of stack height, the Patrol Winter is on the thicker side of minimalist boots. At 13mm (with insole), it is roughly 4mm thicker than the Xeroshoes Alpine winter boot and slightly more than double the stack height of the Feelmax Kuuva 5.
That being said, the lugs are deeper and more capable than either of the aforementioned boots, even in this Lite version. If you are used to more traditional winter boots, the Feelgrounds Patrol Winter will still be thinner and lighter than what you are used to, but it is on the slightly thicker side of what can be considered the minimalist shoe market. Since the Lite is meant be less heavy duty than its waterproof cousin, the Patrol Winter, maybe the stack height could have been cut back by a couple of mm. Perhaps 10mm with the insoles would have been the sweet spot, but I am a very minimalist person. I can imagine many users enjoying this stack height, but perhaps not the most die hard of minimalists.
Like the Patrol Winter, the Lite has an anatomically correct, zero drop, and wide toebox. For me, this is just roomy enough for my very wide feet. I think I would personally want just a bit more room, but it is adequate for even my feet.
Aesthetics and Materials
Like the Patrol Winter, the Patrol Lite strikes a balance between looking light and easygoing, while still having some punk-rock boot appeal.
In fact, while the sole of the Patrol Lite is a bit on the thicker side of minimalist boots, the actual look of the boot is so understated and clean that it looks more minimalist than it really is, even next to other minimalist boots.
I think it is a very attractive boot and this matte gray version has a little more character than the black Patrol Winter I reviewed earlier in the year.
There is a layer of soft moleskin-esque vegan microsuede throughout the interior, a plush collar at the top of the ankle, and a subtle Feelgrouns logo embossed vertically on the heel.
Like the Patrol Winter, a great, understated feature is the subtle toe guard up front. I do not baby my shoes and I am always on the go, so the first thing that happens to all of my boots is the toe gets scuffed up pretty early in my adventures. The Patrol Winter has a raised section at the front of the shoe that rises a bit from the rest of the sole to protect this scuffable section. Since this is vegan leather, I cannot really use my usual leather oils and waxes to repair scuffs, so not scuffing them up in the first place is great for the look and longevity of the shoe.
In my review of the Patrol Winter, the pull tab on the heel was something I would like to see improved upon in future versions. The same pulltab is featured on the Patrol Lite. Its pull tab is not a loop, but rather a tab of vegan leather. This pull tab is too short to get a good capture with your finger and thumb. The location of the tab is also less than ideal; it is stitched beneath the padded cowl, but I believe a more effective placement would be right at the top of the heel, at the top of the cowl for better leverage.
The lacing system of the Patrol Lite is a bit more streamlined than the Winter. While the eyelets run the entire length of the laces on the Winter, only the top two holes have eyelets while the rest of the lacing is punched holes.
I do wish that the laces would have half eyelets so that it is easier to get the boot on and off at the highest lacing points. If these were implemented, perhaps the pull tab would be less of a concern.
The laces are a bit softer than the Winter’s laces and are a single color, rather than bi-colored. This creates an even sleeker appearance for the Patrol Lite.
The vegan leather on both models is excellent and the Lite has a softer formula from the Patrol Winter boot. The texture is finer and is a little softer, which is perfect for its more leisurely functions. I prefer its texture to the Winter—it looks great. That being said, if you enjoy oiling and waxing true leather and developing a patina, then vegan leather, any vegan leather, is not for you. Overall, the materials for the uppers are fantastic and compared to other vegan leather, the Patrol Lite is probably my favorite vegan leather. There are minimal compromises for being eco and animal friendly in this regard.
Overall, the Patrol Winter is a great looking boot that somewhat hides its excellent features and capabilities in casual clothing. There are numerous smart design choices that give it a nice aesthetic, but I do wish that the design dipped a bit into the chunky nature of other winter boots and had metal hooks at the top of the laces for ease of ingress and egress as well as a more substantial pull tab for the same purposes. Otherwise, a great winter boot with style.
While Feelgrounds is still a new company, they are very busy with new designs and updates to customer feedback. They have demonstrated that they care a lot about their customers are quick to implement improvements to their lineup.
I applaud Feelgrounds for their speed and willingness to update according to consumer needs and I hope they make some improvements for my wishlist for both the Patrol Winter and Patrol Lite.
I would love to see metal hooks on both shoes at the top of the shoe faster on-and-offs, a fuller pull loop that is anchored higher, and a more open lug design. I would also like to see the Patrol Lite be a bit lighter than its waterproof brother and a little shorter in stack height as well.
Feelgrounds made a lighter Patrol for when you do not require waterproofing and it is a great version of the Patrol. The Patrol Lite are very attractive and durable and have fantastic materials. A truly understated, but lovely boot is a good compliment to their Patrol Winter.
If you wanna check out Feelgrounds, use my affiliate link and maybe they will send me more shoes and sandals to review for the community!
Full Disclosure: Feelgrounds sent me the Patrol Lite for free in exchange for an honest review.