Chippewa Edge Walker Midsole Foam Filler
Evaluating the Foam Filler
When the boot is lasted, the leather is pulled down and hammered into place as the bootmaker creates the shape of the boot. When the leather is wrapped around and hammered onto what will be the bottom side of the boot, a cavity is created in the middle (with that leather surrounding it).
The material used to fill this cavity is one of the most important areas on a boot. It is important not only because it is underneath your foot (and therefore impacts comfort), but it is also important because it is impossible to see this area unless you rip the boot apart (or cut it in half as I have done).
Below, you can see the location of the white foam filler inside the Chippewa Edge Walker Boots in relation to the other boot parts:
Because this area is hidden, this is often an area where boot brands will use bad parts and lazy manufacturing processes as a way to save money in an area you can’t see.
Cork is one of the best materials to use in this filler area, however, you don’t see cork used as a filler in work boots until you get in the $250+ price range. Under $250, you see foam and other cheap recycled materials used as filler.
This Chippewa Edge Walker Boot is using a foam-based filler.
I also included a photo below of a more expensive brand of work boots that is choosing to use cork as the filler material to give you a better idea how these two types of materials might compare:
It is true that foam can be one of the worst materials to find in this filler area.
However, it is very important to understand that there are different types of foams, and thicker, more premium foams (like EVA foams) actually are quite good (and cost-effective). In fact, some bootmakers will tell you premium foams compare very well to cork.
So the question is this: is Chippewa using a premium foam or a cheap foam in the Edge Walker Boots?
I tried researching this for two weeks (including contacting Chippewa customer service). After all of that, I was not able to find any specific information about the exact type of foam that is used as the filler on these boots (and the Chippewa reps couldn’t supply an answer either).
Instead, I used my eye test and feel test to examine the foam, then also compared the foam to cheaper foams, and then also cut my used Chippewa Edge Walker Boots in half to see how this foam material has held up over time.
After all of that my conclusion is this: these Chippewa Edge Walker Boots appear to be using a more premium, thicker type of foam. Let’s discuss why I think that.
Why Do I Think This is a Premium Foam?
This section could easily be an article itself, but I’m going to keep this as concise as possible. For more in-depth discussion on this issue, please watch the Chippewa Edge Walker Review video at the top of the page. Here are the reasons why I feel confident that this foam filler is actually a very good foam and much better than cheaper foams:
This is a Tighter Foam – The Chippewa Edge Walker foam has a tight consistency and this gives it more resiliency. I can feel the difference when I compress this tighter foam versus when I compress cheaper, looser foams. In the photo below I tried to capture how this tighter foam compares to a cheaper, looser foam filler that is used in one of my Timberland Pro work boots. The cheaper foam has an airy, sponge-like appearance:
This is a Thicker Foam – The foam filler layer is also thicker than the foam layer in many types of work boots. For example, below I compare the measurement of the foam filler in my Chippewa Edge Walker Boots to the measurement of the foam filler in a pair of $100 boots I own. The Chippewa Edge Walker foam measured at 5mm and the cheaper foam filler measured at 2.5mm:
This Foam is Assembled Well – The foam filler on the Chippewa Edge Walker does not leave large gaps near the toe or heel like some cheaper foam fillers do. It is also adhered properly and is not loose at all (which should prevent clumping). In the photo below, I tried to capture how the Chippewa Edge Walker foam is properly filled in to the edge of the toe (leaving only a small gap) versus a pair of $100 boots that leaves a much larger gap between the foam and the toe:
The Foam Appears to be Resilient – This is the most important piece of evidence. I was actually shocked when I cut open my used boots and found this foam layer to be in great condition. It has barely lost any of its shape. This foam is very resilient and can be trusted to provide long-term cushioning under the foot. This is what gives me confidence in claiming that this foam filler material is actually a positive for this boot. Here is a comparison of the foam filler in my new Chippewa Edge Walker Boots compared to my used Chippewa Edge Walker Boots:
And below I also wanted to include a picture of the outsole on my used Chippewa Edge Walker Boots just to prove that these boots have had a lot of miles of use. It’s not like this foam has just been used for a month or two. This foam has remained resilient even though the outsole shows many miles worth of use:
Underneath the toe pad area there seems to be a tiny bit of compression, but this is totally normal and the foam even in this area still has a very good amount of thickness and resiliency left:
When I began this Chippewa Edge Walker review, I suspected this foam material would be a negative for this boot (because cheaper foams are bad). However, this foam has proven to be a more premium, resilient foam that holds up well over the long-term to provide sustained comfort.
Chippewa Foam Filler Conclusion
Chippewa Edge Walker foam filler is much more resilient than cheap foam materials that other work boots use. It is lightweight, flexible, and easy to break in.
You can expect this foam to hold up well over time and provide sustained comfort under the foot.