Cabor EPX Waterproof Work Boots - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

Light weight work boots that are high on comfort and durability, with ample toe protection, as well as oil, slip, and abrasion resistance, and are easy and quick to lace. 

Cabor EPX Waterproof Work Boots

Cabor EPX Waterproof Work Boots

For anyone who is on their feet for long periods of time – whether around the home, in the workshop, or on a job site – comfortable fitting footwear should be a priority. Improper footwear can lead to, or exacerbate, issues like corns, calluses, blisters, varicose veins, poor circulation, swelling in the feet and legs, joint damage, and a range of other foot problems. In particular, doing any kind of renovation or construction work, even around the house, without the appropriate footwear, can lead to slipping, tripping or falling – often with painful results. Taking care of your feet early in your work life will help lessen the incidence of foot problems later in life. So, it's not a bad idea when purchasing footwear to think of it as an investment in your long term health. 

It's not just carpenters and renovators who need good work boots – any avid DIYer should invest in a pair. The type of work you do will determine what's important when you go boot shopping. I wear work boots when working on-site and at the lumberyard. What I look for, in relative order of importance, is fit, weight, durability, anti-slip soles, toe protection, anti-microbial treatment, price, and warranty.

How long a pair of work boots will last depends on a number of factors, including the quality of the boots, the work conditions in which you're wearing the boots, and how often you wear the boots. I think it's reasonable for a DIYer to expect at least a five or six year life span. Contractors and renovators, on the other hand, might expect to get anywhere from six months to a year of use. 

Just like any piece of clothing, once boots become excessively worn they need to be replaced. The decision as to when they should be replaced is somewhat subjective. But, there are some things to look for, such as separation of the outsole from the upper, seams that have come apart, water infiltration, and damage to the toe cover or the metatarsal guard. Essentially, what it comes down to is using common sense.

Wolverine recently introduced a line of 'Cabor' work boots that feature their new EPX (Energy Potential to the Extreme) cushioning system, which I'll talk about a bit later. The boots come in five styles – three 6" and two 8" boots. I tried the 6" Chukka style boot (a Chukka boot is essentially any leather boot with multiple eyelets). It's a fairly light boot, weighing 1 lb 13 ounces, and comes in a wide range of sizes from 7 to 14, in both M (Medium) and EW (Extra Wide) widths. I take an M 11, and found this boot to be a tad loose fitting when wearing thinner summer socks, but a perfect fit when wearing thicker work socks.

The upper (the top part of the boot) is made of full-grain waterproof leather (except for the back collar). The advantage of leather over leather-fabric combinations is that it's naturally water resistant, breathable, and more durable, which makes the boots longer wearing. Leather does take a bit more time to break-in though. Wolverine doesn't specify what additional waterproofing is applied to the leather, but my understanding is that silicone is either applied to the surface of the boot, or injected into the leather.

Hooked eyelets make for quicker tying

As you'll find on most 6" boots there are five pairs of eyelets. The bottom three pairs are punched metal, while the top two are hooked metal eyelets. I like this arrangement, as the hooked eyelets make it much quicker to loosen the laces when you untie the boots. The braided nylon laces are quite flexible, making them easy to tie. They're also very tough. If you do have problems with your laces coming loose, you might want to check out Ian's Better Bow Shoelace Knot. It took me three or four attempts to get the knack of making the knot, and now I use it all the time – my laces never slip or come undone.
Large, roomy toe box

These boots feature a composite ASTM F2413-11 I/75 C/75 rated toe. This means that the toe will withstand a weight of up to 75 pounds dropped on it, and a compressive load of up to 2,500 pounds, before it begins to crack or crush. The composite materials used today meet all the safety standards, and have the benefit of being lighter than the traditional metal toe protectors.

The midsole (the middle layer in the photo above), located above the outsole, is made of compression molded EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) foam, a widely used material in footwear. The foam is packed with tiny inert gas filled cells. As your foot hits the ground air inside the cells is compressed, providing a cushioning effect. When you lift your foot the cells decompress, ready to absorb the next impact. The outsole and midsole are attached to the upper with an adhesive rather than sewn, which means the sole can't be replaced. However, this is a less costly method of construction which makes the boots more economical for the end user.

I found the toe box on these boots to be wide enough that even when wearing thick socks the boots didn't feel overly tight - snug but not cramped.

Amply padded collar

The collar at the back of the boot is amply padded - thick enough to enhance fit and comfort but not overly tight. The back of the boot is sloped downward, which I find more comfortable, as it doesn't dig into the top part of my heel, especially when flexing my foot.

Slip resistant rubber lug outsole

The outsole on these boots is made of a tough non-marring genuine rubber compound that is slip, oil, and abrasion resistant, and long wearing. The 3/16" deep treads provide very good grip and enhance stability and traction. I like the deep sole notch on the heel, which enables the boots to hook securely on a ladder rung or scaffolding rails and makes for safer climbing. And, of course, the sole is waterproof.

These boots also have an ASTM F2413-11 I/75 C/75 EH electrical hazard rating. This means that the outsole provides protection from electrical currents up to 600 volts AC, on dry surfaces.

Wave mesh lining with Wolverine PC Dry waterproof membrane

The lining (beige fabric in the photo above) is made of a wave mesh polyester fabric that helps wick moisture away from your foot. While polyester clothing seems to have developed a bad rap, the fabric does have some good features – it's very strong, resistant to shrinking and stretching, and just as important, it's resistant to mildew. It would be nice to have an antimicrobial lining in these boots to help prohibit the growth of odor causing bacteria, However, there are a lot of brands on antimicrobial socks on the market, which in my experience, work quite well.

Underneath the insole is a nylon shank, which provides added protection for the metatarsus - the longer foot bones right behind the toes. 

EPX insole 

Most boots come with removable liners (aka insoles). Their purpose is to increase comfort and provide some shock absorption. Wolverine has designed a unique insole they call EPX (Energy Potential to the Extreme). It features a dual layer foam, four part cushioning system. The bottom is made of a a dense base the evenly distributes your weight across the sole. The honeycomb pattern on the heel expands to absorb impact. As your weight is transferred to the front of the insole a ribbed spine flexes to maintain cushioning. On the top is a layer of molded EVA foam that cushions the entire foot, from heel to toe.


I've been wearing the Wolverine Cabor Chukka boots intermittently for about six weeks, and they're just about broken in. They do look a bit on the chunky side, but I find the boots very comfortable, and surprisingly light. Arch support is good, and I can wear them all day long without any discomfort. I like that Wolverine offers a 30-day comfort guarantee - if you're not satisfied with the boots you can send them back for a full refund.

I think these boots are best suited for carpenters, renovators, and other tradespeople looking for a relatively light boot that is high on comfort, yet is durable, oil, slip, and abrasion resistant, has ample toe protection, and is easy and quick lacing. Avid DIYers looking for long-lasting top-of-the-line boots will also, I think, be pleases with these Chukka boots. 


  • 13 sizes from 7 to 14 in M and EW widths
  • 1 pound 13 ounces per boot
  • Waterproof leather
  • Sealed seams
  • Slip resistant outsole
  • Electrical hazard rated ASTM F2413-11 I/75 C/75 EH
  • Composite toe rated ASTM F2413-11 I/75 C/75
  • 30-day comfort guarantee

PRICE:$160.00 US
SOURCE:Dealer Locator
June 2014
Carl Duguay
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