These Boots are Made for Walking (or Hiking or Work): Best tactical boots guide
Tactical Boots are a necessity for a wide variety of occupations. Members of the military, law enforcement officers, EMT’s, and construction workers are just a few of the careers that will require a tactical boot. Today’s options have better features and provide a higher level of comfort. With so many options it can be a difficult task to search out the best boot for your needs. We’ve researched the many available options and created a buying guide to help you find the perfect pair for your needs.
Best Boot If You Have Something to Hide: The ATAC Storm Boot by 5.11, Inc. (http://amzn.to/2sMZfNq)
The ATAC Storm Boot by 5.11, Inc was engineered to shine in a wide variety of operational situations. This boot offers unsurpassed comfort, protection, and tactical effectiveness. This option has a clean and professional appearance. Featuring a synthetic rubber sole, the boot toe is crafted from a full grain leather to provide sturdiness. The midsole is an injection molded Phylon, a cushioned insole, and a non-metallic shank to ensure your feet stay safe and happy. It even features a hidden side pocket.
(Yellow) The ATAC Storm Boot Is a perfect choice for law enforcement, military, firefighting professionals, or anyone who needs a comfortable breathable tactical boot that offers the option of a hidden pocket to covertly store valuables. The lining of the boot is waterproof and has a bloodborne pathogen resistant finish to keep you cool, dry, and germ-free. With an oil and slip resistant outsole, you’ll be sure to stay standing and ready for whatever comes your way.
- Features hidden pocket for valuables
- Comfortable and breathable fabric and leather design
- 1200-denier Cordura nylon side panels
- Bloodborne pathogen resistant lining
- Synthetic rubber oil and slip resistant outsole
- Moderately priced
- Attractive boots that feel like sneakers
- May not fit wide feet as well
Best Boot for Hot Climates: The Magnum Men’s Elite Spider 8.0 Boot (http://amzn.to/2r1cQjd)
The Magnum Men’s Elite Spider 8.0 Boot is constructed from a lightweight leather upper that is waterproof and breathable. The boot has a well-cushioned tongue and collar to provide hours of comfort. The moisture-wicking lining keeps feet dryer while the rubber outsole ensures you have plenty of traction. This item features a non-metallic shank to be electronic security friendly.
(Yellow). The Magnum Men’s Elite Spider 8.0 boot is a great option for those living in hotter, more arid climates. The boot will wick away moisture and is made from SpiderMESH lining that will keep you cooler longer. With a contoured, removable sock liner, the Elite Spider 8.0 offers comfort and support.
- Features moisture-wicking SpiderMESH lining
- Great for hot climates
- Real leather
- Oil and slip resistant
- Non-metallic shank
- Moderately priced
- May not keep feet warm in cold weather
Great Option for Anyone Needing Vegan or Synthetic Leather: Rocky Men’s C4T Trainer Duty Boot (http://amzn.to/2syX54K)
The Rocky C4T Trainer Duty Boot is a lightweight option crafted from synthetic materials to make it a vegan shoe. This boot features a round hiker toe, a wedge rubber outsole, and an 8-inch lace-up shaft.
(Yellow)The Rocky C4T Trainer Duty Boot is a good choice for those needing a synthetic/vegan option. They are comfortable and they drain water quickly. They come in several colors to suit a wide variety of uniforms and personal preferences.
- Features a synthetic upper with faux Molle strap detailing
- 550 paracord laced shaft
- Vegan option
- Water resistant, dry easily
- Three color options
- Great price
- Tend to show major signs of wear or possibly fall apart somewhat faster than other options
Best High End Military Uniform Compliant Boot for Operational Camouflage Pattern Variations: The Rocky S2V Tactical Military Boot (http://amzn.to/2rP3yun)
The Rocky S2V Tactical Military Boot is durable and comfortable. It’s made of water-resistant, flash-resistant leather, 1000 denier Cordura nylon, and is PTFE coated to provide resistance to flames as well. This boot also includes drainage vents with S2V Sieve technology to push water out while circulating air to ensure they dry faster.
(Yellow) The Rocky S2V Tactical Military Boot is a great choice for military members looking for a high-end tactical boot that is compliant to Operational Camouflage Pattern uniform regulations. This is a comfortable and durable option that will last a long time. They have excellent ankle support and are rugged enough to stand up to long hikes and training.
- Uniform regulation compliant
- Lightweight yet durable
- Water resistant
- Flame resistant
- Flash resistant
- Strong ankle support
Best Affordable Option and Best Customer Service: The Original S.W.A.T. Men’s Metro Air Boot (http://amzn.to/2qXcvTa)
The Men’s Metro Air Boot by Original S.W.A.T. is not only affordable, it’s a high-quality boot as well. It is made from genuine leather and is double stitched to ensure it is extremely durable. This boot is composed of non-metal materials making it security/airport friendly.
(Yellow). The Original S.W.A.T. Men’s Metro Air Boot is the perfect choice for anyone who wants an affordable option made by a company that cares about its customers. The boots are backed by a warranty and the manufacturer stands behind their product and strives to give the best customer service possible. The boots also feature a 9-inch side zip compartment and air technology to provide cushiony comfort during long shifts.
- Side zip compartment
- Non-metal security/airport friendly
- Real leather
- Excellent customer service
- May not be warm enough for very cold climates in winter
Best Option for Police Officers: The Bates Men’s GX8 Ultra-Lite GTX Waterproof Boot (http://amzn.to/2syULL8)
The Bates Men’s GX8 Ultra-Lite GTX Waterproof Boot provides quality construction, comfort, and performance. This option will keep your feet warm and dry thanks to a Gore-Tex waterproof lining. They feature a removable full cushioned insole liner, a ballistic nylon side zip compartment, compression molded midsole, and a slip resistant rubber outsole. The Bates Boots company is reputable and trustworthy. They also create other well-known shoe brands such as Hushpuppy and Wolverine.
(Yellow) The Bates Men’s GX8 Ultra-Lite GTX Waterproof Boot is an excellent option for police officers and other professions requiring a comfortable, durable tactical boot. The Gore-Tex lining will ensure your feet stay warm and dry while keeping the boots a lighter weight. They offer superb support for long shifts and come in a variety of sizes including those for wider feet.
- Lightweight yet durable
- Gore-Tex Lining
- Compression molded EVA midsole
- Oil and slip resistant Xtreme rubber outsole
- Reputable manufacturer
- Can be messy
Best for Light Hiking: The Under Armour Men’s Valsetz RTS Tactical Boot (http://amzn.to/2rOHcJB)
The Under Armour Men’s Valsetz RTS Tactical Boot features a synthetic leather and textile upper. Featuring Under Armour ClutchFit technology, this boot is a lightweight option that will provide second skin support. The boot also has a welded film around the foot perimeter that is abrasion resistant. It is comfortable thanks to a molded Orrtholite liner that is designed with memory foam.
(Yellow) The Under Armour Men’s Valsetz RTS Tactical Boot is a good option for hiking or those that need a lighter weight option. This is a comfortable option for light walking or duty. However, they are not water resistant and may not hold up very well to heavier use or wearing during long, intense work shifts.
- 7-inch height
- Abrasion Resistant
- Moderately priced
- Less durable than other options
- Not water resistant
Best High-End Choice for Hiking: The Lowa Men’s Zephyr GTX Mid Hiking Boot (http://amzn.to/2syL13J)
The Lowa Men’s Zephyr GTX Mid Hiking Boot is handcrafted in Europe. They are constructed from real leather and feature a rubber sole. They have a 6.5-inch shaft, Gore-Tex XCR waterproof inserts, and include a moisture wicking lining. They come in a wide variety of colors and sizes.
(Yellow) The Lowa Men’s Zephyr GTX Mid Hiking Boot is a great higher priced option for hiking, climbing, spelunking, and more. The Lowa Boots company takes pride in their creations and strives to combine the elements of thoughtful product designs, excellent materials, clean manufacturing processes, and the use of fair labor. These boots are a comfortable and durable option.
- Leather and rubber construction
- Imported from Europe
- Environmentally and fair labor conscious choice
- Padded tongue and ankle
- Gore-Tex inserts
- Moisture wicking lining
Best Waterproof Boot Option: The Danner Men’s Tachyon 8-Inch GTX Duty Boot (http://amzn.to/2syYMPS)
The Danner Men’s Tachyon 8-Inch GTX Duty Boot is a lightweight, comfortable option. This boot features a durable design crafted from waterproof full-grain leather and 500 denier nylon. It has a true rubber outsole to provide superior traction and resistance to abrasions.
(Yellow) The Danner Men’s Tachyon 8-Inch GTX Duty Boot is a wonderful choice for anyone who needs a 100 percent waterproof option. This boot also features a higher 9-inch shaft to ensure you have excellent ankle support. They are breathable so you can be sure that your feet will stay dry and happy.
- 9-inch shaft
- 100 percent waterproof
- Toe is able to be polished
- On the higher cost end of the moderately priced options
Best High End Combat Ready Option: The BlackHawk Men’s Warrior Wear Desert Ops Boot (http://amzn.to/2scjnMx)
The BlackHawk Men’s Warrior Wear Desert Ops Boot features breathable, lightweight Cordura panels that are water resistant and suede uppers that are resistant to abrasions. The outsole is crafted from Vibram Multisport TC4+ compound which creates a rugged exterior that is oil resistant and great for providing traction. A fully gusseted tongue helps ensure debris won’t get into your boot. With a moisture-wicking, quick drying Dri-Lex liner and a washable, antimicrobial, custom-molded Ortholite footbed you can be assured your feet will stay dry and comfortable.
(Yellow) The BlackHawk Men’s Warrior Wear Desert Ops Boot is an excellent option for military members or anyone needing a high-end boot that will provide comfort and durability. The Desert Tan color complies with U.S. Army uniform regulations making it a great choice. This boot offers exemplary ankle support due to a steel shank. These boots will work well in the field or on the job.
- Desert Tan color complies with U.S. Army uniform regulations
- Steel shank
- Custom molded Ortholite footbed
- On the higher cost end of the moderately priced options
Tactical Boot Buying Guide
For the amount of work and strain we put them thru, feet are surprisingly fragile. For many professions, you will be on them hour after hour in a wide variety of conditions. From hiking thru the mud to chasing perpetrators of dangerous crimes, you need to choose the best tactical boot for your needs so you can worry about work, not your feet.
Who Are Tactical Boots Best For?
Tactical boots are useful in a wide variety of careers and situations. They are great for:
- Ankles that are weak or need extra stability and support
- Military, law enforcement, guards, EMT’s, construction workers, firefighters, and many other professions
- Rock climbers, avid hikers, spelunkers, and many more outdoor activity enthusiasts
- Carrying heavy loads
- Going on a long hike
- Weak or previously injured knees
- Individuals newer to hiking or other outdoor activities
- If you have the possibility of coming across snakes or other dangerous creatures while outside
- Remember to check organization, company, or military uniform regulations to see if there are specific requirements, brands, or colors required for footwear
Where Will You Be Wearing Your Boots?
It is important to think about where you’ll be using your tactical boots. If you will be using them in desert areas with lots of sand, you’ll need different options than someone who is wearing them during wintertime in Minnesota. Take into consideration if you’ll be using them to stand or walk for long periods of time or if you’ll be facing rugged or flat terrain. These are all important considerations in picking the best footwear.
Under most circumstances, waterproof tactical boots are usually the best option. They will work well in the majority of climates and situations. Many high-quality boots have a Gore-Tex (GTX) coating that allows the boot to keep water out while still allowing air to circulate thru the shoe. GTX will also dissipate sweat from inside the boot to keep you dry and comfortable. For this reason, GTX boots are a great choice for wet or dry climates.
Construction of Tactical Boots
The upper refers to the entire top portion of the boot. The materials that the upper are composed of will have a direct affect upon the weight of the boot and how durable, breathable, and resistant to things like water or abrasions it is. Uppers are usually made of some types of leather or a synthetic leather. The leather used could be full grain, split grain, or nubuck.
Full grain leather is highly resistant to water and abrasions. It’s extremely durable and great for rougher terrains. The downside is that it takes longer to dry out than other types and it’s less flexible. Split grain leather indicates that it is a leather/nylon combo. This material is lighter weight, more breathable, and cheaper. It’s not as resistant to abrasions or water, however. Nubuck Leather is buffed to look like suede. It is similar to full grain with added flexibility. Synthetic materials include nylon, polyester, and synthetic leathers. They are easier to break in and are lighter and dry faster. They are cheaper as well, but won’t last as long as actual leather.
The midsoles of the boot create the cushion for the feet and act as buffers to shocks. They determine how stiff the boot is. They are usually made of Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) or polyurethane. EVA feel lighter and more cushiony. It’s cheaper so it’s more often used. It provides good protection, is shock absorbent, and waterproof. Polyurethane is firmer and sturdier than EVA. It costs more but it’s more durable.
The outsoles are the bottom sole portion. They are usually composed of rubber. Sometimes manufacturers add in other materials like carbon to provide extra stiffness. Vibram soles are a higher quality option and are quickly becoming an industry standard in tactical boots. Vibram soles are resistant to many chemicals, oil and slip resistant, are non-marking, and increase the boots durability while ensuring they are lightweight.
Toe protection is another important aspect of a good tactical boot. Many options feature a steel or composite toe protection. Steel is heavier but more durable.
Deciding on the Best Tactical Boot Fit
Tighter isn’t always better. While you want to ensure your boots fit snuggly, you do not want to get them too tight r small. Feet naturally swell and increase slightly in size throughout the day. Take this into account since you are most likely wearing these boots during foot stressing activities. No one wants to end up with bloody, blistered feet. Other issues that too tight tactical boots can cause include corns, bunions, tendon and joint stress, ingrown toenails, or even plantar fasciitis. You can lessen your risk of developing any of these complications by choosing a boot that has deep heel cups, a rubber sole, and added support provided in the midsole.
To properly check the fit of your tactical boots you should wear the type of sock that you will normally be wearing with them. After you put them on, your index finger should be able to be slipped easily into the area between the back of your leg and the boot before tightening the laces. You should be able to sense your heel moving toward the back of the boot when lacing them up. Next, try walking in the boots. If your toes touch the front of the boot you’ll need to size up. Your heel should move in synchrony with the boot. If the boot and your heel rub against each other you may need a different style or size.
Styles of Tactical Boots
Some of the most common options include extreme weather condition tactical boots, standard issue combat boots, and jump boots. Extreme weather boots are suited for climates such as the desert, jungle, or even extremely cold conditions. Desert boots are made from rough suede, nylon laces/sides, they lack any steel components to keep your feet from getting hot, and don’t have any water drainage holes so you won’t get sand inside. Jungle boots feature canvas uppers, rubber soles, and excel at draining water out while circulating air to prevent blisters or tropical ulcers. Other boots are designed for cold climates and often utilize GTX and are great for weather up to minus 20 degrees F. They are often made with wool, felt, and rubber to increase warmth.
Standard issue boots are run of the mill army style boots. They are waterproof and composed of hardened black leather. They are designed with extra support and are good for military members and hiking.
Jump boots are also known as paratrooper boots. They feature reinforced ankles, taller shanks, rubber soles, and airborne optimized heels. These can be a great option if you participate in outdoor activities on uneven, rough terrain or that involve frequent jumping.
In closing, with the wide variety of tactical boots currently available it can be confusing to find the right pair. By focusing on your needs, the activities you need them for, as well as the areas and climates you’ll be wearing them in you’ll be able to find the best tactical boot for you. Material and fit are very important considerations in selecting the best footwear for your needs. It’s also a good idea to double check any uniform codes or regulations first to ensure your boot choice falls in line with company or organization standards. With these options and guidelines, you’ll be enjoying your new tactical boots in no time at all.