Need some new boots? This hands-on Coddi review looks at the Polaris boot, an interesting option for urban adventurers.
Note: This post written by TMM reader and friend of the site, Matt Rand.
I have been hoping to do a review for The Modest Man for a while now, so when Brock asked if I’d like to do one for CODDI’s new Polaris boot, I jumped on the opportunity. CODDI is a fairly new brand, which made the prospect of trying them out even more appealing.
Ideally, this review will help people looking for a new pair of multi-purpose leather boots decide if the Polaris is a good fit. Enough of the small talk—let’s get to the boots!
This is my first time doing something like this, so I might have gotten a little too excited when the boots arrived, ripping them straight out of the box and slapping them on my feet without taking any pictures or videos.
I did manage a few day-one pics, but I was immediately focused on the “out-of-the box” feel and look.
How do they look?
The Polaris boots are a hybrid between many styles, making them hard to classify except as an all-purpose, lace-up leather boot. They combine elements of combat boots and hiking boots with streetwear flair.
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The style is certainly eye-grabbing, but remains fairly casual and easy to blend into a wide variety of outfits. Some of the standout design elements include the zippers running down the sides, the metal D-ring lace loops on the lower part of the shoe, and the thick, rugged sole.
I was initially hesitant about the style because of the mixture of so many different design elements, but in person they look much more understated and versatile than expected.
How do they feel?
While not immediately comfortable straight out of the box (what leather boot is?), these shoes wore in very quickly. I could feel the insole and upper conforming to my feet within the first hour.
By the second day of regular use the leather had become even softer and was already starting to show the small signs of wearing in you love to see as you break in a new pair of leather shoes.
When initially deciding what kind of review I would want/was qualified to do, Brock indicated that I should do some more outdoorsy, sporty products since he is the authority on more refined and gentlemanly attire.
So, I was definitely expecting something more on the hiking side of boots, and when I initially saw the CODDI boots I was concerned about how they would perform on a real adventure.
But, their website claims “No matter what terrain, climate or scenario that you find yourself in, our goal is for you to travel the world effortlessly and in style”, so I zipped up and headed off.
Five miles later, I can genuinely say I was happily surprised by the performance of these shoes, both on a comfort and durability level. It quickly became clear that these shoes were well suited for use in moderate and potentially even extreme activities, all while maintaining a good degree of comfort.
There are several key comfort design features of the shoe that only become apparent when wearing them for an extended period of time, notably:
- Comfortable insole with good arch support
- Leather flaps to protect your feet from rubbing against the zippers
- A surprising amount of soft padding on the back of the shoe for added comfort
- Excellent traction on the rubber outsole that showed very little wear after the hike was over
Ultimately, the Polaris boots performed far better than expected, but it wasn’t all great. When you design something that is supposed to combine all the best of comfort, style and durability into one package, sometimes the competing objectives end up, well, competing.
In the case of outdoor performance, the zipper and lace closure system ended up being a bit of a nuisance.
Zippers! And Laces?
Probably the most ambitious element of the CODDI Polaris from both a stylistic and practicality perspective is the zippers running down the outer and inner part of the shoe.
Personally, I could take them or leave them as a stylistic choice; I was more focused on the practicality of the zippers.
It may not be obvious if you’ve never used a pair of lace-up and zipper closure-style boots, but this design has real functional value. With your foot in the boot, you can tighten the laces to your desired fit and look, then use the zipper closure system to easily take the boot on and off without untying.
This eliminates one of the main drawbacks of high-top lace up shoes: the inconvenience of having to untie, loosen, tighten, and retie the shoe when taking it off or putting it on.
This may seem like a small thing…until you consider how often you select the most comfortable and easiest-to-get-on shoe in your closet on busy mornings.
Additionally, the zippers on these shoes stay up on their own even during long treks, unlike some other similar style shoes (I’m looking at you, Nike SF Air Force One).
As much as I want to relive my ’90s youth with Velcro and zipper closure on all possible articles of clothing, the Polaris closure system has some problems. You won’t have to walk in these shoes long before you realize the zippers are both noisy and liable to smack into or even hook onto things.
The metal slider tends to clang up against the metal zipper teeth when walking, producing a constant chime that sounds a little too similar to a cat with a bell on its collar.
I think a leather strap to hold the zippers in place (Velcro maybe?) would be a pretty simple and elegant solution that wouldn’t take away from the boot’s style.
My other gripe with the closure system is a general one with shoes of this style: namely, where do you put the laces for that sleek knotless look?
It seems like you either have to tie the laces behind the tongue, leading to a massive knot/lace ball digging into the top of your ankle, or half-tuck them in the side after tying.
I went with the latter for comfort reasons, but it’s not exactly comfortable and the laces tend to slide out periodically. If there are some sneakerheads out there with a better solution, I’d love to hear it!
How I Wear the Coddi Polaris
The unique design features of the Polaris allow the boot to be worn in a variety of ways, but there are a few guidelines I would recommend to best match the style of the shoe. Probably most important is the choice of pant.
The bold style of the Polaris pairs nicely with either simple chinos, jeans, or joggers.
If you wear skinny pants, then the tuck-in looks great. If not, I would use 1-2 cuffs to where the pant still comes over the boot a bit when stood straight up. For the rest of the outfit, wearing other matching leather articles like belts, watches, or jackets is always a good look.
The black boot looks best with more blacks, blues, and other dark shades. These shoes are a bit of a statement piece as is, so adding other standout colors or styles may be overwhelming.
One of the primary reasons I was interested in the Polaris was as a boot for my budding interest in motorcycle riding. The all-black boot matches great with the leather and metal components of motorbikes, and really fits all metrics for a good biking boot.
It is stiff enough to feel comfortable on the pegs while braking and shifting, but not so stiff as to restrict movement too much. Also, the extra leather toe patch is nice for upshifting gears, as that is a spot liable to wear out for frequent riders. Did I mention they look very cool?
Aside from a few small issues with the closure system, the Polaris boot by CODDI ended up exceeding expectations, and the more I wear them the more ready I am to recommend them to a friend.
The comfort and wearability are excellent, improving even more as the boot wears in. These are the type of shoe to be worn often and not babied—the leather upper will look better and better with time, and while I haven’t had them for very long, durability does not seem to be an issue.
The boot’s look is unique and versatile, working as a more rugged outdoor boot, sleek riding boot, or even as a stylish “goin’ out” boot.
I really enjoyed doing this debut review and would love to hear some feedback from The Modest Gang on how I can improve and what else you would like to see reviewed!