Wolverine Fulcrum ICS Mid-Cut Gore-Tex Off-Road Hiking Boot

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Manufacturer Description

Wolverine Fulcrum hiking boots offer relentless performance and personalized comfort for all your outdoor adventures. Featuring Wolverine ICS (Individual Comfort System), wearers can adjust the gel disc in the boot’s heel to personalize the level of support for how they walk. The Fulcrum’s aggressive Vibram Mutant rubber outsole grips the most unforgiving terrain, while a waterproof full-grain leather upper and GORE-TEX membrane are guaranteed to keep feet dry all day long. With a highly supportive polyurethane midsole, the Fulcrum provides a firm and stable ride, ideal for long hikes with heavy gear. An OrthoLite performance insert provides additional arch support and an organic inner lining helps naturally reduce odors and wick away moisture. Backed by Wolverine’s 30-day comfort guarantee.

Features

  • Cement Construction
  • Full grain leather upper
  • ICS (Individual Comfort System)
  • Mesh lining
  • Polyurethane midsole
  • Removable OrthoLite Footbed
  • Vibram Mutant rubber lug outsole
  • Measured size 9
    • Weight – 796 g (28.1 oz)
    • Forefoot width – 97.7 mm (3.8 in)
  • Retail – $200

YMMV Review

Wolverine has been making footwear since 1883. They have been long known for their outstanding work boots and continue to make them today.  Wolverine has also branched out over the years to make hiking and casual footwear. I got in contact with them through some of my other brands and set up a test of some hiking boots.

Top View

Testing

I tested the Wolverine Fulcrum boots through the winter here in Bend, OR. I took them out on some hikes, snowy adventures, and just wore them around.

Design ★★★☆☆

Appearance (20%) ★★★☆☆

Construction (35%) ★★★☆☆

Lacing (15%) ★★☆☆☆

Sustainability (10%) ★☆☆☆☆

Weight (20%) ★★½☆☆

The Wolverine Fulcrum Boots are a very classic looking boot. The upper of the boots are full-grain leather for a classic appearance and have Gore-Tex lining for uncompromising waterproofness. All the Hardwear is made of metal for longer durability. On the inside the boots have a comfortable fabric liner with an OrthoLite footbed. The footbed adds additional arch support, and the lining naturally reduces odors and wicks away moisture. Around the top of the boot, there is an Achilles cut out for more comfort while walking.  In the front, the tongue is well padded and gusseted to prevent water and debris from getting inside the boot. The Fulcrum boots have an aggressive Vibram Mutant rubber outsole. It has deep lugs for traction and grip over the toughest terrain.

Disc Removed from the Heel

Through the midsole Wolverine uses polyurethane. PU is a dense material that provides long lasting cushion and support. It is firmer than EVA foam, which is commonly used and will be more supportive and longer lasting over the life of the boots. Now what makes these boots different from other hiking boots is Wolverine’s ICS (Individual Comfort System) in the heel. This system allows the user to adjust the gel insert in each boot to a personal level of support for the way they walk. The ICS disc is made of gel and sits below the insole in the heel. The disc can be oriented in different ways to adjust the amount of cushioning and support at the heel. This video will help further explain the ICS System.

I did a little searching and was not able to find any information on sustainable materials or corporate initiatives by Wolverine. This was a disappointment. On the other hand, Wolverine does have a foundation for the Awareness of Wolverines (The Animal). For this reason, I gave them a one for sustainability.

Heel with the Disc Inserted

Fit ★★½☆☆

Ease of Movement (25%) ★★½☆☆

Foot Length (15%) ★★★☆☆

Foot Volume (15%) ★★☆☆☆

Heel Width (15%) ★★☆☆☆

Midfoot Width (15%) ★★★☆☆

Toe Box Width (15%) ★★★½☆

The first thing I noticed when putting on these boots was the lack of a heel loop. The boots also have enclosed lacing all the way up, which makes it tougher to fully loosen the upper. These two details made the boots more difficult to get on (and off) than I prefer. When the boots are on, they have more room than most other boots have in my size. I am normally a size 9 but in my hiking boots I often have to size up to a 9.5. With the Fulcrum’s, I tested a 9, and I am glad I did not go bigger. In the size 9 I had more than enough room throughout the boot. That being said I am not sure if I would size down to an 8.5, I would have to try it on and decide. The 9 had a roomy toe box which I really like. Unfortunately, the midfoot and heel area is also a bit on the roomy side which caused my foot not to feel as secure as a like. There is plenty of volume in the boot as well which makes them feel borderline loose. This makes for a comfortable boot for around town but is a little trouble some on the trail. The way the laces work it is difficult to tighten the boots down as much as I needed and the enclosed laces make it much more difficult to use alternative lacing techniques like the heel lock.

The ICS Gel Disc

The interior of the boot and insole both felt nice and comfortable. I have not had any issues with discomfort other than some heel issues from my foot moving around too much. The leather upper and Achilles cut-out makes the boots move well when I walked. They did not feel overly stiff or loose. If you do have a higher volume foot, this may be a great boot for you to try. If your feet are lower volume, I would definitely look elsewhere.

Performance ★★★☆☆

Adjustability (15%) ★★★½☆

Cushioning (10%) ★★½☆☆

Durability (20%) ★★★☆☆

Support (10%) ★★½☆☆

Traction (20%) ★★★½☆

Warmth (10%) ★★½☆☆

Water Resistance (15%) ★★★★½

I was happy with the performance of these boots. The Vibram Rubber sole has worked flawlessly. They have great traction in dirt, pavement, ice, snow and rock. With these boots, I have felt had confidence no matter the surface. The boots are not insulated and while they would keep my feet warm when moving, they will get cold when just standing around or hiking in the snow. No more so than other hiking boots, it is important to use the right tool for the occasion. The Gore-Tex waterproof lining worked just as I expected. We do not have any really we conditions here but in the snow they stayed dry. I even tested them in some standing water and never had any leakage. If you pair these with some good gaiters you should have no issues unless you fall in a river. =)

OrthoLite Insole

The ICS System makes these boots completely adjustable. I have played with many different settings on the ICS and can say it does change the feel of the boots. It is much easier to feel the differences when walking around rather than standing still. If you need extra support on the inside or outside the ICS is great, it really does change the amount of support there. I think this is where this system truly shines. It is especially great if you r feet need different amounts of support. The firm and cushioning modes are much harder to tell the difference. I have switched back and forth several times and am not sure if I could tell and discernible difference. One thing I have noticed in my boots is a slight ridge at the front of the disc cut out. The disc seems slightly lower than the rest of the midsole which makes it somewhat less comfortable when standing. When walking I did not notice this as much.

The polyurethane midsole are on the firm side as it is supposed to be. It still provides some cushioning and offers good support for heavier loads. The boots seem well-made and built to last. The midsole should last a long time, but I am not sure what the lifespan of the ICS disc is. One thing that I have noticed is the leather upper scuffs up easily. I have heard of others having this issue, and my boots have also shown some wear in the toe from rocks, roots, and hitting other objects. I hope this will not adversely affect the performance of the boots in the long run. It definitely takes away from the clean appearance of the boots when they are all scuffed up. On the other hand, anything you use should get wear and tear. Boots are not meant to sit in the closet.

Vibram Outsole

Overall ★★½☆☆

Overall, I feel like these boots have been okay. They have been great in some areas but also lacking in others. I like the extra room in the boots if I could cinch them down to secure my foot when needed. No being able to secure my foot reduces my comfort when hiking which in some circumstances I can’t afford. The Gore-Tex liner is great, and my feet have been dry and happy through all my wanderings. I think the ICS is a great concept and seems to work especially for interior and exterior support. I have been testing a pair of shoes with the technology as well and have liked it better in the shoes, for some reason.

The traction on these has been a winner; you really cannot go wrong with Vibram Rubber. They have been at the top of the game for some time. One other not on these boots is they do run on the heavier side. You get a sturdy and long lasting boot with the extra weight, but if you are planning to travel fast and light, I would use a different pair of footwear. I think Wolverine is on the right track with these boots, and they would be good for some users, especially those with higher volume feet or in need of more lateral support. It will be interesting to see where they take this technology down the road, with a couple of tweaks these boots can be really solid. The Fulcrum’s retail for $200, which is similar to other waterproof hiking boots. As always, your mileage may vary.

Pros [field name=iFrame]

  • Great adjustability of support
  • Vibram Mutant Rubber has good traction
  • Gore-Tex Liner works
  • Classic leather upper is sharp with metal hardware

Cons

  •  On the heavy side
  • Toe gets scuffed easily
  • Lots of volume and tough to tighten sufficiently if they are on the large side

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About the Author

I am an avid runner, cyclist, swimmer, hiker, climber, skier and many other activities that would make this list too long. I started Your Mileage May Vary Reviews in Early 2011 to combine two of my passions: sports and gear.

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