Rocky S2V Substratum Hiker Review

Posted on November 19 2015

Rocky S2V Substratum Hiker

A good pair of boots is truly worth its weight in gold. Whether you’re a grunt in Afghanistan or hiking in your local forest, the comfort of your feet is top priority. I’ve owned more than a few boots throughout the years, New Balance, Merrell, 5.11 and others. All of which were good, but not quite what I was looking for in regards to quality. Then the Rocky S2V Substratum Hiker appeared and my life has never been the same! Well, maybe it wasn’t that dramatic, but you get the picture!

From the moment I unwrapped them, I knew I was into something good. From the heavy duty soles, the 550 paracord laces, the padded tongue and high top design, everything about the Substratum Hiker just seemed to fit.  But that was just the beginning, once I started to wear them I realized that Rocky had spared nothing in the design process.

Over the course of the last few months, I’ve worn the boots as much as possible. First because I couldn’t resist and secondly, I don’t feel I could give a proper review on a product I just unwrapped and then let collect dust.

So to get this review rolling,  let’s go over the technical specs on the Substratum Hiker:

  • Moisture-wicking lining
  • Guaranteed Rocky® Waterproof construction
  • 400 Grams of PrimaLoft®; Insulation
  • Proprietary wave underlay texture for element traction and shedding
  • Fuchsia colored insole for signaling
  • Three quarter TPU stability and impact resistance plate with flexible forefoot
  • Flexible woven forefoot and 3mm EVA perforated cover
  • Polyurethane, direct attached for superior longevity and a permanent outsole bond
  • Polyurethane enhanced toe wrap and extended back guard
  • Open cell foam forefoot with polyurethane top layer
  • Target pattern design for max articulation
  • Fully gusseted tongue for performance comfort
  • 550 Military grade paracord boot laces
  • Tri-density molded antimicrobial insole
  • UST essentials located within outsole: firesparker and wetcubes (x2)
  • AEROTHERM® zoned thermal insulation
  • Molded foam padded upper with high-abrasion Lycra and antimicrobial space mesh
  • 8 Inches in height

Rocky S2V Substratum Hiker


Waterproof Construction

The Substratum Hiker uses Rocky’s Hydro IQ, which is basically a watertight structure that prevents moisture from seeping through the fabric, while still letting your feet breath. If you’ve ever purchased “waterproof” boots, you probably found out real quick that “waterproof” really means water resistant and not much else. I can say after using these boots in very wet conditions, that they are truly waterproof. Now of course if you go trying to ford a river in them, your feet will obviously get wet. No way around that! But for for pretty much any other type of wet conditions, these are my #1 choice.

Rocky S2V Substratum Hiker

Temperature Control

These boots use another proprietary technology called Thermal IQ, which is a combination of PrimaLoft® insulation and AEROTHERM® zoned thermal insulation. I had never heard of AEROTHERM® before, but in a nutshell, it’s a nanotechnology thermal insulation that gives you protection from both extreme heat and cold. It uses Aerogel, a material constructed of 90% air with the lowest conductivity of any solid. What does that mean? It means that the Rocky Substratum Hiker Thermal IQ is two to eight times more effective in keeping your feet nice and cozy than traditional thermal insulation.

Rocky S2V Substratum Hiker

Survival Technology

Rocky didn’t stop with keeping your feet warm and dry. They decided to take it the next level and added features in the Substratum Hiker that would make any survivalist happy. Let’s start with the laces, they are military grade 550 paracord. If you know anything about paracord, you know it has a variety of uses in a survival situation, everything from fishing line, building shelters and more.

But that’s just the beginning, Rocky then decided it would be a great idea to hollow out the insole, creating a space for two Wetfire cubes and two Firestarters. These fire starting options are included with the boots.

Rocky S2V Substratum Hiker

As if that wasn’t enough, they also decided to throw in their own S2V Paracord Survival Kit.  This kit contains all the good stuff you want in a survival situation, needle, fire starter and tinder, a knife blade and more.

Rocky S2V Substratum Hiker

Finally, they got the idea to make the footbed a nice bright fuchsia color. This color, which is not natural in the wilderness can be used to signal for help in a desperate situation.

The Verdict

The Substratum has all the features you want in a hiker and more. It’s surprisingly lightweight, considering the construction and heavy duty soles. I actually took them out for a run on a local mountain bike trail and was quite impressed at the stability and cushioning. Based on my last two months of use, the Substratum is my go to all weather boot. It works in the heat, in the cold, in wet conditions, the only place I haven’t tested them is in the desert!

Drop by their website at the link below and have a look. Christmas is right around the corner so maybe it’s time to get yourself a present!

Rocky Website:

Right now they are discounting the Substratum at 50% off, enter code TRAIL50 at checkout!


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