• Designed by the Military...
  • 21 Day Test Run
  • Dependable Toughness
  • Comfort Guaranteed
  • More Miles for Your Money
  • Our Brand Philosophy

...for the Military

UK Gear’s training shoes were originally designed in association with the Royal Army Physical Training Corps (RAPTC). These elite fitness professionals were closely involved in the development and tested our products in some of the most inhospitable conditions on Earth. Only when approved by the Military do we consider our products... Built to survive.

PT-03 WINTER review by Footwear Today

>>11 March 2010


Cold Mountain - Henry Harington puts the PT-03 WINTER  running shoe through its paces on Dartmoor

One does not have to be either a supporter of Britain’s military intervention in Iraq or Afghanistan to be proud of the performance of our troops working under very difficult conditions. Nor, does one have to be appalled by the reports of absent or inferior supplies with which they are being equipped.

So, it is cheering when one hears of a company that is working with the army to develop a product that will cope with the demanding pressures that young fit people will impose on it. The PT-03 WINTER running shoe took over 12 months to develop with the British Army Physical Training Corps before going through final wear testing with the British Army in Norway.

Although their makers are a privately owned British company they claim, “UK Gear is fast becoming the ‘performance brand of choice’ for military personnel across the world”. They support this with a claim to supply gear not only to the British Armed Forces but the US Army, US Air Force Academy, US Military Academy West Point, US Coast Guard, Federal Defence Forces of Germany, GROM Polish Special Forces and the Ghurkha’s. Additionally UK Gear is approved by the US Army Running Shoe Program.

Irritatingly there was no snow when the PT-03 shoes arrived for testing and the editor of Footwear Today stubbornly refused to send me to an alpine ski resort, claiming budgetary pressures. More irritatingly, the day I started testing the shoes the worst winter weather to hit the US east coast in 90 years was earning dramatic epithets like “'Snowpocalypse” and “Snowmageddon” – just the conditions for a “winter shoe”.
PT-03 WINTER Waterproof Running  Shoe
The shoes have no hint of the military about them – they are not fashioned in camouflage: they look like the practical shoe they proved to be. The only nod to the military were the round laces, fitted to allow “rapid on and off functionality” required by “exacting military specifications”. However, for those who want the exacting functionality of a road runner they kindly provide a pair of oval laces with the new shoes. Intriguingly UK Gear suggest that, rather like a car tyre, a running shoes performance can be adversely effected by outside temperature, and this shoe uniquely has optimum cushioning and stability specified at the temperature range -20 to +10℃  (-4 to +50℉), making them ideal for a typical British winter!

Given these shoes are to be worn by the bravest and toughest people on the planet I thought I ought to do a test to match the rigour to which they would subject them.

I ran hard and long. I run on Dartmoor, which, is a testing environment for any footwear, particularly in January, but instead of “pussyfooting about” I pretended I was being driven by a manic sergeant major with the Brian Blessed’s megaphone voice that would be uttered forth from beneath a mega-handlebar moustache – someone with a similar slave driving attitude (but not the looks) to the editor of Footwear Today.

There may have been a lack of snow but Dartmoor is always excitingly unpredictable. When it actually snows it is claimed the women of Widecombe-in-the-Moor are plucking geese, and when it snows harder it is said they are plucking faster. No plucking the day I went for a run. When I started out it was freezing cold and misty. I had to climb a steep wooded hill to get onto the high moor. The PT-03 is a road and trail running shoe, rather than an off road or fell shoe.  

Above the wood is a rutted track through the forest. It is puddled and muddy and crossed by several streams. As I came out of the forest onto the open moor the track firmed up: in places it was stony in others grass covered. I was delighted by the stability and comfort of the PT-03. They have a very robust build and you have a sense of security that lends an ease to your pace.

I used to live near the Royal Marine training camp and would see the soldiers on their training runs when they would relentlessly pound the tracks on the common above Lympstone in all weathers. I cannot imagine a better shoe for that type of treatment: soldiers run for work, they are not doing it as a hobby. The PT-03 is less like a recreational running shoe and more like a heavy-duty work tool – but without being heavy, they are very light weight shoes despite being solidly built.

With the imaginary sergeant major bellowing in my ears I felt obliged to risk life and limb (the things I do for the editor of Footwear Today). I decided to plunge into a bog. Dartmoor bogs are legendary. It is said if the second step you take into a bog covers your feet your third step should be backwards (i.e. out of the bog the way you came from)!

The bogs exist because some of the vast granite mass that is Dartmoor eroded in scallops, over the years the soil and water collected the water had nowhere to drain away. There is no way of know how deep they are so it can be scary crossing the marshy mass of vegetation. If concern of sliding into a mire is scary, what is heart stopping is stepping onto some “quaking bog”. That is where a crust has formed which floats on the bog. Falling through the crust of a quaking bog would be a bit like falling through ice – you wouldn’t be sure you could surface to find the hole through which you had fallen. The only comfort crossing the bogs and the quaking bogs in particular is when you see pony poo. Ponies roam Dartmoor and if a pony can cross a bog, the bog can support your weight.

The PT-03 is waterproof - on this run no water seemed to enter the fabric of the shoe. Running PT-03’s in snow, their natural habitat, I can imagine a pair of gaiters would be of great benefit. The outside of the shoes would keep dry but the snow going over the top would be well – yuk!

One of the worst aspects of trail running is the cold, clammy, wet feet that come from the dousing in mud, bogs and streams. But, by the time I reached home after my run my feet were bone dry and, I think because of the padding and construction of the shoes, warm.

The thing your average infantry soldier or runner fears more than anything else when they are running in the countryside: is not a landmine, it is not even an improvised explosive device (IED) - it is cow shit. Hitting a wet cowpat at full tilt running down a meadow and you are in trouble. However, having tested my courage to the limits crossing the bogs, I was, fortunately, not exposed to this risk – all the cows on the farm have been taken in for the winter to save them trashing the fields.

Not having had the PT-03 for very long I cannot vouch for its longevity but given the construction and feel and the fact that it was built for soldiers, I would reckon that it is a shoe that would last a normal runner longer than the average shoe.

Source (page 34)