Choosing the best tactical boots on the market can be tedious.
With an overwhelming selection to choose from, we’ll show you how to cut to the chase and find the boot for you.
Finding the best tactical boots in the market is essential if you want them to last long and serve you well.
Like with most of our purchases, we want our money to stretch as far as possible and to get the job done right the first time ’round.
Here we have broken down the basics of tactical boots and how you can find the best pair suited for your line of work or civilian use.
What makes a tactical boots “tactical”?
Tactical boots go by many names.
They are also called “military boots,” “police boots,” or “combat boots”. Tactical boots are quite different from the regular boots we see in malls or online shopping sites.
The word tactical is used to define carefully thought actions to achieve a significant end.
When we refer to “tactical” boots, we are talking about the sturdy, high quality, and durable shoes commonly used by people in the armed forces, public service, and people who are performing strenuous physical work.
Tactical boots are a significant part of people’s daily lives in the military. They rely on the footwear for support, comfort, and protection, which in turn helps them carry out their responsibilities.
Today’s tactical boots have indeed evolved and progressed to ensure that the consumers get the best of the fully refined footwear.
The substandard boots made of inferior materials that your forefathers may have endured during their time have been long gone. The improved tactical boots are now the market’s best bet in surviving any battlefield.
Why should you wear tactical boots?
When we hear of tactical boots, we instantly think of the bulky and solid combat boots that our veterans used to wear in wars.
A lot has changed since then, and the current tactical boots are now made of higher quality materials. Furthermore, they are not exclusive to the military and are now used by anyone today.
Tactical boots specialize in many things, and you can find any type that fits your preference and gives you the most outstanding comfort.
Wearing durable and protective boots is anyone’s choice; it is not limited to those in the armed forces. Anyone can rock tactical boots. The footwear is not limited to activities that require maximum effort.
It offers several benefits to anyone who is searching for durable and cost-effective footwear. Tactical boots provide comfort and can tolerate extreme or changing weather and harsh work conditions.
You don’t need a certain profession or a title to be allowed to buy tactical boots. You can wear it if you seek durable and comfortable footwear that will help you carry out your tasks and activities.
If you are looking for a sign, this is it. You have to get your own tactical boots today and start hustling.
13 Key features to look for in quality tactical boots
Suppose there is a deciding factor needed in order to find the best tactical boots in the market. In that case, it has to be its quality features.
An excellent tactical boot is not just aesthetically pleasing. It has to have specific features that fit every situation and condition and ensure the wearer’s safety and comfort.
These are the key features you need to consider in finding the right tactical boots for you and your line of work.
1. Overall quality
The quality of the boots can determine their durability, purpose, and lifespan.
Of course, just like any other product in the market that is made of exceptional quality, tactical boots with an excellent overall quality also comes with an expensive price tag.
Boots with excellent quality will typically last for many years; it can cost about $300 or sometimes higher. But with its functionality and durability, you are guaranteed to get your money’s worth.
We think that buying expensive tactical boots with outstanding quality is so much better than getting the cheap ones that can last you for just one season max. When you do the proper Math, you might spend more on the cheap ones since their durability is not guaranteed. You would have to repurchase a pair every season.
The overall quality of the boots also represents how well it is built.
There are a lot of brands in the market that stand by the quality of their products. Pay attention to the features, detailing, and materials used when you decide to get one. By doing so, you can determine whether the manufacturer has put in all of its time and effort into offering the best boots in the market.
Feet differ in size and support requirement, so tactical boots that might appear great on one person will not automatically look great on everyone.
In finding the best tactical boots, you have to ensure that it fits you well.
It should provide your feet the amount of support it needs. It should also be suitable for the environmental condition you intend to use it in, and most importantly, it should be comfortable.
The fit of the tactical boots is vital in maximizing its quality and worth, so be sure to get the one that perfectly fits you.
Avoid buying super-fitted boots because it can restrict the blood flow on your feet. Get one that has enough space where you can wiggle your toes and provide a bit of ventilation.
Also, consider the socks that you will be wearing along with your boots. Ensure that there is an extra allowance for the socks in your shoes to avoid getting uncomfortable.
3. Designed use
Choosing the proper tactical boots for you might be challenging, especially with all the brands offering their fancy tweaks and features. A lot of consumers get confused since there are a lot of choices in the market.
One tip that you should never forget especially when you can’t decide between many options is to ask yourself: “What type of tactical boots do I need and for what purpose?”
This question saves time and money if buyers know right there and then what they are looking for in a tactical boot.
If you are searching for footwear that will get you through the scorching heat of the sun, get a tactical boot that is specifically designed for the extremely hot weather. If you need one that will keep you warm in the winter, get tactical boots with enough thickness and are made of quality leather that will withstand freezing temperatures.
The design of tactical boots is directly related to their key features. It provides proof of what the brand is promising to its consumers. Also, it gives the consumers an idea of what to expect in the product they are getting.
4. Upper materials of Tactical Boots
Upper materials refer to the top part that covers the entire tactical boots or the materials above the sole. Uppers of tactical boots are composed of full leather and synthetic materials. In some cases, both materials are combined to create a durable upper.
Uppers made of full-grain leather are more sustainable than those that are made of synthetic ones. Although it is on the pricier side, you are ensured of the great quality and durability of your tactical boots since it’s skillfully crafted. Leathers are also denser than synthetic materials, so you should expect that it is less breathable than other types of tactical boots. However, it is perfect to use during winter.
Synthetic materials, on the other hand, are much breathable and cheaper compared to leather ones. Tactical boots made of synthetic materials are preferable to use in a warm working environment or during the summer. So, if you are looking for something breathable, lightweight, and fast-drying, you should definitely check out tactical boots made of synthetic materials.
Some brands take advantage of combining leather and synthetics to provide the tactical boots a balance of the materials’ functionality.
5. Liner materials
The liner material or lining of tactical boots is the inside of the footwear. It is the material that comes in contact with your feet. All of the interiors of your boots are the lining. It includes varying types of material that provides comfort to the sides, heels, and tops of your feet.
Suppose you are looking for comfort, insulation, waterproof feature, and protection of the interior surface. In that case, you have to pay close attention to its liner materials. Weigh the different options offered to you and assess what feature in the interior of the tactical boots you will need.
Your high demand for an interior surface might cost you a few more pennies. Still, if all your needs are satisfied, then a quality liner material will be totally worth it.
6. Sole materials
The sole of tactical boots is a significant component in determining the quality and longevity of the product. It is the part of the footwear that will support you during long hours of standing, walking, and other activities.
The sole is basically the surface where you walk on, where you will rest your actual feet.
The sole is split into two parts: the midsole and the outsole. The midsole is where the cushioned part of the sole is embedded. The materials used for the midsole determine how comfortable the boots are going to be. The midsole for tactical boots is commonly made of EVA or polyurethane foams.
EVA (Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate) foam or foam is a rubber-like material that gives midsoles a light and soft cushion. When you walk on tactical boots with EVA midsoles, you should expect it to bounce back after each step but eventually flattens while you use them.
On the other hand, polyurethane foam is thicker. It has a more solid feature that makes the midsole of tactical boots feel a bit stiffer the first time you wear it. Its denser characteristic can retain its quality and shape longer compared to midsoles made of EVA foam.
The outermost layer of the sole or the outsole is formed using natural rubber or synthetic ones. The outsole pattern of tactical boots is essential in providing friction and resisting slips and scuffling wear.
7. Composite/steel toe cap
Assessing your tactical boots’ protective features is essential, especially if there are specific requirements for your task or line of work. The first step on this assessment is to check the toe caps and the material used for them.
There are two kinds of materials utilized in making the protective toe caps of boots, composite toe cap and steel toe cap. Both serve different purposes for the footwear.
Composite toe caps are lighter and metal-free. They are made of common composite materials such as fiberglass, Kevlar, and carbon fiber.
Tactical boots with steel toe caps contain a steel piece in the toe cap area to add extra protection to the toes. This type of toe cap in boots is usually required. It is unnecessary in jobs that do not have the risk of being crushed by heavy equipment or sharp objects.
Steel toe caps contribute a bit of weight to the boots, but many brands have innovated ways to make boots with steel toe caps lighter in weight.
Both types of toe caps are great and would give your toes enough protection. Take note that if a steel toe cap is not necessarily required in your working environment, you can opt for composite ones since it also provides the same amount of protection.
8. Water resistance
Tactical boots can tolerate any kind of situation or condition. You can wear it under the scorching summer heat, freezing temperature, and also in water-filled places. That is why the water-resistance feature of a boot is also essential.
Manufacturers utilize waterproof and water-resistant materials to provide tactical boots this protective feature. However, this case also makes the shoes less breathable. Find boots with enough water resistance feature, but not too much since they can make your feet sweat a lot.
Another tip in wearing waterproof tactical boots is to find breathable socks. It would allow ventilation to flow inside the footwear.
9. Laces and Zippers
All tactical boots have laces as they provide support and secure the shoes. A zipper is also typical in tactical boots since it adds more security to the footwear, and it can save a lot of time for the wearers.
When choosing a laced boot or one with zippers, it all boils down to your preference and purpose. If you want to reduce the time it takes when putting on your tactical boots, getting laced and zipper boots is a good option.
Zipper models will save you minutes since you don’t have to adjust the laces every time you wear them, and it also prevents the laces from getting worn out easily. Also, you can get the footwear in and out of your feet much quicker.
10. Boot height/width
A high tactical boot means that it is sturdier and provides more protection against ankle injuries.
On the other hand, lower boots make it easier for the wearer to move and are thus more comfortable to use when you walk or run.
Additionally, some military departments have specific requirements when it comes to the height of boots.
When it comes to boot width, always consider the size of your feet. As we have mentioned before, the width of the boots determines their fit on you.
If you have wider feet, you might feel uncomfortable using the standard width boots, and more extended feet will most probably get you blisters when you get a wide boot. Thus, always choose one that has just enough space for your foot to move around a little and fits perfectly on you.
11. Arch support
Wearing tactical boots for hours or even days can be exhausting, so having good arch support is definitely a must when you look for tactical boots.
As the name implies, the arch support provides support for the arch of your foot. It is imperative to prioritize support to avoid future injuries. The arch support will give you comfort even during long periods of running or walking, so it is important that you find a tactical boot with excellent arch support.
Another key feature and a very significant one that you should look out for in tactical boots is its weight.
When you buy tactical boots, you will most likely wear them for a while or for specific reasons. With this, you need to consider the weight you can tolerate and if this can cause a constraint on your end.
For example, suppose you are a backpacker who likes to go hiking. In that case, you might consider getting lightweight tactical boots to preserve your energy and lessen body pains. Heavy boots can slow down your pace and can also be dangerous in different types of physical activity.
Some people say that lightweight boots equate to brittleness, but today’s technologies have made it possible to incorporate lightweight materials in the manufacturing of tactical boots without compromising their durability and quality.
Last but not the least, a key feature that you should highly prioritize in finding the best tactical boots is comfort.
Tactical boots are not just all about physical looks and composition.
They have to get your feet through a long day of work without feeling drained. Shoes were invented to protect your feet and give you comfort.
If your tactical boots are not doing these, then you might as well stay barefoot.
Tactical shoes that are too tight or too loose will do nothing but put you at risk for injuries. If it isn’t comfortable enough for your preference, it is not the right kind of boots for you.
It should be able to protect you from getting blisters, fatigue, foot pains, or any other injuries that might restrain your daily activities.
So, please make sure to ponder and do some careful consideration when you look for tactical shoes, for it can save you from serious accidents.
10 best tactical boots in the market
Bates has been in boot-making since 1885. It has served millions of reliable tactical boots for different types of occasions.
The battles in WWII, countless medical activities, law enforcement operations, construction projects, and the everyday routines of civilians, Bates has been through all of it.
The brand is on top of our list not just because they have been in the industry for decades. Bates is named best overall since it has continuously offered its users innovative products that get better every time.
Bates Gx-8 Side Zip Gore-tex, or just GX-8 for short, is a tactical boot that is best for all four seasons. Its breathable Gore-Tex membrane absorbs the moisture from your feet, and the microscopic perforations allow your feet to remain dry and cool even in the summer heat.
The boots are also made of full-grain leather, which gives you enough defense against below zero temperatures during winter.
The GX-8 is also famous for having a fantastic cushioning feature. The comfort you will experience from this footwear is impeccable. Bates gives you options on how you want your boots cushioning to fit. It has a removable feature so that you can adjust it to your liking.
The midsole is comprised of EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) foam which contributes to the maximum comfort provided by the boots.
Walking, running, or any other activities you want to do with GX-8 is guaranteed to be at a different level of comfort compared to wearing other types of footwear.
The boots utilize YKK zippers and have innovated their waterproof side zips, which helps make putting on and taking off the tactical shoes hassle-free. Renowned agencies and departments have trusted Bates for a long time, and the brand never fails to exceed their demands. Bates has always been at the forefront of the boots industry.
If you are a person of nature and likes to take adventures outdoors, you have to get your hands on Lowa Taskforce Zephyr Gtx. This Slovakian brand has been to many places courtesy of the hikers, backpackers, climbers, and adventurers who are patrons their products.
The lightweight feature and extreme durability of the boots are strengthened by the material used for its frame and midsole, which is polyurethane foam. This highly effective material gives the tactical shoes comfortable cushioning and great flexibility.
Lowa’s Task Force Zephyr GTX’s exterior is 100% made of full-grain leather and nylon that enable it to become water-resistant. If you are an extreme adventurer, you do not have to worry about the rainy season. The leather material might intimidate you at first, but don’t be. The tactical boots maintain their flexibility and will not restrain any of your movements despite the materials used on their upper.
The edge of Lowa compared to other brands in the market is the skills and craftsmanship of its people. They take into consideration every detail in making the footwear, even their consumers’ gender and preferences. It is without a doubt that this superior product is worth to try and also worth the price.
Salomon Quest 4d 3 Gtx is second on our list of the best tactical boots for outdoor activities.
The tactical boots are designed explicitly for backpackers, focusing on their comfort, durability, protective feature, and stability. The material used in the shoes makes them ideal for outdoor adventures.
Salomon has long wished to redefine backpacking boots with this product. Since the release of Quest 4D 3 GTX, they have proven to be successful. These tactical boots are by far the best product that Salomon has ever offered in the market.
The superb quality of Salomon’s tactical boots started with their 4D Advanced Chassis, in which they borrowed the design from their very own XA Pro trail running shoes. This advancement provides the boots high stability without the added weight.
The Contagrip, combined with their 4D Advanced Chassis, allows the user to move freely without worrying if they will slip or feel any discomfort. These tactical boots are perfect when you go mountaineering since the Contagrip also helps release any dirt or pebbles that stick in the bottom of your shoes.
The brand that earned the trust of the military forces for decades is Danner. Created by a former service member, Charles Danner has been creating protective footwear since 1932.
At first, the brand was just creating shoes for the timber industry and it scaled up later on by making tactical boots.
Today, Danner is the go-to for many law enforcement officers. They offer not just the best quality but also boasts of a great price range.
The Danner Acadia Duty Boot is comprised of full-grain leather and nylon upper that guarantee comfort and quality for its users. The leather material makes the boots water-resistant, and yet also allows ventilation to eliminate the formation of sweat.
You can also polish the Acadia boot to maintain its sharp and fresh-looking appearance every time. The water and oil resistant material and lugs (designed to prevent users from slipping) also enhance the boots’ efficiency.
The iconic stitch down found in every Acadia boot is what makes footwear from Danner’s unique. The 360-degree stitching provides immense comfort and maximizes flexibility so you can freely move your feet.
This Danner Acadia Duty Boot is also great for civilian use in urban and rural areas.
The renowned firearms manufacturer Smith and Wesson (that lately produced footwear) offers tactical boots at affordable prices.
Their Breach 2.0 tactical side zip boots are considered as a high-end product sans the high-end price tag.
If you want boots that will serve you well without damaging your budget, you should opt for the Smith and Wesson Breach 2.0.
It is durably created using water-resistant material for its exterior and leather and nylon for its upper. They substituted Gore-Tex for HydroGuard since the latter exhibit the same features and are cheaper.
However, this type of tactical boots is on the chunky and heavier side, weighing 1.25 pounds. That is why this is the preferable boots in construction sites or work environments that deal with hazardous activities and materials.
The Smith and Wesson Breach 2.0 is great for anyone on a budget or those who are just starting to enter the world of wearing tactical boots. The product’s longevity might be short, but with its price, it is still a catch.
Trying new stuff can give you an ecstatic feeling. But diving into things right away without considering their implications can lead you to a pitfall.
Rocky Alphaforce Waterproof Zipper Boot is a good starting point if you are just starting to incorporate tactical boots in your daily activities.
The Alpha Force boots are comparable to Smith and Wesson’s Breach 2.0. Although there are no fancy features, you are assured of a product with good quality plus affordability.
Rocky is one of the pioneer businesses to use DuPont’s Cordura fabric in their products and license Gore-Tex’s utilization.
The 100% full-grain leather and nylon material give the tactical boots a water-resistant feature while allowing the water vapor to escape to keep their users’ feet dry. The materials also add a great protection against sharp or narrow objects that can pierce through your feet.
The non-marking RigiTrac outsole is the exceptional feature of this tactical boots and it is what sets it apart from its competitors. The lugs are patterned to withstand oily, rocky, and slippery environments, so rest assured that the Alpha Force boots will give you a reliable safety measure.
There is no doubt that Under Armour, one of the leading brands trusted by athletes, will fall last on tactical boots best for athletes.
Under Armour has been in the industry for a while, mainly focused on creating athletic products. In 2000, the brand ventured into creating tactical boots for athletes.
The Under Armour Valsetz RTS is made of synthetic leather and a textile upper that is known for its durability. It is very flexible and lightweight, weighing only 13.8 ounces, allowing the user to move without any constraints.
UA incorporated different designs and features from their other leading shoe models to create Valsetz RTS. The various methods gave the boots more of a running shoe appearance and feel, rather than a tactical boot.
Valsetz RTS is perfect for individuals who seek a lightweight type of boots for work or those who are into outdoor sports such as hiking. Just a disclaimer, many instances prove its relatively short lifespan, so be sure to take proper care of this tactical boot if you decide to get one.
For years, Belleville Shoe Company has provided tactical boots to the U.S. Armed forces and law enforcement agencies. Since 1915, the brand has been loyal to delivering cutting-edge quality and stable tactical boots to the military.
The Tactical Research TR960Z WP Khyber Boot is made of full cowhide leather and nylon that gives the footwear its exceptional durability and protective feature. The interior is covered with Gore-Tex and combined rubber and foam composite to support the insole.
With all the materials utilized in making these tactical boots, wearing them will have you feeling protected and comfortable.
The TR Khyber boot is also water-resistant with an exterior that has holes that are 20,000 times smaller than a droplet of water and 700 times larger than water vapor. This feature prevents water from wetting the shoes’ insoles while also keeping them dry from the inside.
These boots are perfect for use on terrains since it has a rappel-like feature. The lugs are patterned to sustain rocky surfaces and enable you to maintain your stance even in an unstable environment.
These classic tactical boots are for you if you want something that is highly durable and will keep you up and running in your law enforcement duties. The TR Khyber boot is close to perfect with its physical appearance, durability, overall quality, and purpose.
Best For Long Workdays
The Merrell Moab 2 Tactical boots equate to comfort in a shoe. To cater to their wide range of patrons, Merrel’s tactical boots were designed to be highly functional.
It has a firm grip on surfaces and it can withstand all types of weather. This functionality draws many customers, mainly civilians, to avail of their tactical boots.
If you plan on wearing tactical boots for long hours, the comfort that Moab 2 has is ideally suited for you. Merrel ensures that their line of boots is skillfully crafted, providing its users protective and support features unlike any other typical footwear.
Unfortunately, Merrel doesn’t utilize Gore-Tex on its Moab 2 tactical boots, so expect a little to zero water resistance.
Maelstrom commits to aiding law enforcement and security agencies. They put effort into innovating materials and offering them to the military to improve their law enforcement operations.
Maelstrom Tac Force Tactical Boots is also one of the classics in the armed forces. It incorporates full-grain leather and rubber outsoles that are fully described in the website’s product description, along with its world-class craftsmanship.
Several of the boots’ notable features are their durable YKK side zippers, easy polish uppers, protective cushioning, several color options, and superior support in the heel and toe.
The company also supports organizations that are funding events and projects for veterans. In every boot that Maelstrom sells, a dollar is donated to a non-government organization that organizes programs for service providers’ welfare.
The tactical boot’s overall quality is always coupled to their applauded social responsibility. When you choose to purchase at Maelstrom, you gain a fantastic pair of tactical boots and also get to help people.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you lace tactical boots?
There are multiple ways on how you can lace up your tactical boots. Lacing is a technical part of getting the full functionality of your boots and also securing your feet.
The common types of lacing methods are the criss-cross, over-under, and army method.
- Criss-cross is a standard lacing method and it is most common among boot wearers. It involves crossing the laces and pushing them through the eyelets from the inside out. This method is applied by almost everyone, even individuals that wear regular laced shoes.
- The over-under lacing method somehow resembles the criss-cross process. The only difference is that it alternates the laces between going inside-out and outside-in.
So if you have tactical boots with an even number of eyelets, you should start inside the bottom eyelets. On the other hand, with odd-numbered eyelets, you should position the lace to go outside in the eyelets’ starting section. This type of lacing method provides less traction, making it easier to wear, but is not as tight.
- Army Method is the lacing method used in the military forces since it provides the officers’ maximum flexibility and is suited for tactical boots made of full-grain leather.
Begin by picking the laces and start at one end of the lace and push it diagonally through the next eyelet inside-out. When you finish this step, you should proceed by doing a standard criss-cross method. With one pattern of criss-cross, ensure that the laces are on the outside, then move to feed the laces vertically to the eyelets above it. Alternate between the criss-cross method and running the laces vertically to finish the army method.
How do you clean tactical boots?
Regularly cleaning your boots is essential to prolong their lifespan. To clean it, ensure that you are using the right products for your specific type of boots and the stuff you want to get rid of.
Here are the basic steps that you should follow in cleaning your tactical boots:
- Start by removing the laces.
- Get a soft brush to gently remove the dirt and avoid damaging the exteriors of your shoes.
- Using a damp towel, wipe off some more filth.
- If, at this point, your boot still has dirt, utilize a leather soap to clean it off.
- Lastly, recondition or polish your boots to your liking.
How do you waterproof tactical boots?
Waterproofing tactical boots don’t mean that water can’t fully penetrate your shoes. Instead, it provides an extra layer of protection against stains and molds. Waterproof your tactical boots by using waterproofing grease such as the Huberd’s Original Shoe grease.
How do you break in tactical boots?
Breaking in your tactical boots is an essential step if you want to avoid blisters and abrasions forming in your feet. There are two ways to break in tactical shoes, the dry and wet method.
The dry breaking in of tactical shoes is much more common and more manageable. All you need to do is wear it for utmost a week, gradually increasing the periods of time inside your house before using it outside or for your specific purpose.
With this, you allow your feet to get familiarized with the boots’ interiors and also enables the boots to expand a little bit to fit you well.
Can you hike in tactical boots?
YES. There are a lot of tactical boots available in the market that are specially designed for hiking, just like Lowa Task Force Zephyr GTX and Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX. Modern technologies also enable tactical boots to be both functional in urban and hiking areas.
Investing in excellent tactical boots is vital if you rely on them to accomplish specific tasks effectively. They say that good shoes take you to good places, and this is true. Having a great pair of tactical shoes will not just get you to places but ensure that you will safely arrive there.
No matter how high of a quality a tactical boot is made, if you do not take proper care of it, it will all be useless. Also, take extra safety precautions when dealing with hazardous situations and not over-rely on your tactical shoes.
Lastly, be sure to assess what you want – do a little research, gather your options, and fit. These are the things you need to remember if you decide to get your first, or maybe your second pair of tactical shoes. Choose one that is suitable for your needs; this will help you determine which tactical boot type is best for you.