Balance Oiled $329.97
The Balance is the product family name, and is sold in two variations. The Balance Oiled is the flagship model in the family:
The Balance Oiled has two significant features: it is waterproof, with a Gaerne Drytech waterproof liner built in, and it uses a special oil-treated leather. The oil treatment makes the leather softer without sacrificing durability, and makes it water repellent. Most softening treatments are done in the tanning process, and work by breaking up the cellular structure of the leather. Gaerne's process does not. Perhaps a good way to think of it is like a baseball glove, that gets oiled.
The Oiled also has the limited piece construction described above, aluminum buckles, a hard plastic shin plate, anti-microbial liner, and a gum rubber sole.
Putting them on, the Balance Oiled are instantly comfortable. Gaerne boots are known for comfort and generally run wide, these do too. As nearly every boot sold, they have a cheap crummy footbed, which should be upgraded to a Montrail or Superfeet or similar. Sizing is true to industry norm, and up or downsizing is not usually not needed. The best way to size these is to note your US size AND check your athletic shoes to get your EU size. Knowing both of these usually gets a good result.
They are light in weight, 2.65 lbs per side, compared to about 4.5 - 5.5 lbs per side for an MX boot. This makes them easy to walk in. The gum sole is not lugged, but gets good traction in most anything except mud. They can be worn easily under boot cut jeans or Carhartts, and also be worn with or without MX shin guards. Buckles work great, and stay closed. The Oiled version is a little warm compared to the non-WP version, but this is to be expected. They are still very comfortable.