Pictured are single examples from two pairs of Bates footwear I have. A Leather Durashock Oxford on the left and a 5″ Tactical Sport Boot on the right.
As you can see both have had serious issues with their soles. The soles on both of the Oxfords have begun to disintegrate and crack, leaving chunks behind if walked in. On the other hand, while the Sport Boot sole is intact, it decided to completely separate itself from the rest of the boot. The sole on its left foot twin is still, barely, holding on, but has some serious gaping and is not likely to stay on much longer.
While it would be one thing if both pairs of footwear had miles and miles of wear on them, that is not the case. The Oxfords have been worn only sparingly, probably less than 25 times since I’ve owned them, and strictly to formal occasions. Now the Sport Boots have seen more outdoor use, but as you can see by the lack of treadwear on the now independent sole and the lack of wear on the boot leather, they’ve not seen that much use. Certainly not enough time to justify the sole falling completely off.
In short, I do not recommend Bates footwear.
We here at Loose Rounds have had good luck with Merrell, Danner, and Salomon brand footwear. I would go that direction for your boot/shoe needs.
-An addendum from Howard:
I’ve owned many Bates shoes and boots. Bates were what I was issued in the USMC and the soles would quickly wear out and stitching would come undone. Prior to going to Iraq I bought a pair of Bates Lites to use for Iraq, they came unstitched and were unusable after two weeks. Bates boots are the most comfortable boots I have ever used, but they don’t hold up at all.