7 Best Combat Boots & Army Footwear in 2020

By Kenneth Miller
Updated on
The Rundown
Best Overall
Built to last with durable split-grain leather and breathable, waterproof material.
Runner-Up Best Overall
Offers the best quality and protective features, including water- and flash-resistant leather.
Best Versatility
Adapts to any environment with lightweight materials and a pentagonal outsole for extra grip.
Best Flexibility
A versatile option that requires almost no break-in time.
Best Comfort
Uses PORON cushioning and a custom-molded EVA insole to keep you comfortable all day.
Best Value for Price
Works well in hot, dry climates and gives you convenience with a side zipper, stay-tied sausage laces, and a lower price than comparable boots.
Best Budget
Has durability and comfort at a great price, with ballistic nylon and leather material to make it last.

When you ruck, run, and hike over rough terrain, you need boots that can keep up with you. But just because a boot says it can take everything you put it through doesn’t mean it will.

Combat boots come in all different types, but only you know which ones are best for you. The ideal combat boot should have all the strength, durability, and stability you need without sacrificing comfort or quality.

These days, combat or army boots come with plenty of features to handle anything you might encounter off-base. With waterproof and ventilated options designed for use in all environments, from the jungle to the desert, there’s a combat boot for you.

That’s why we’ve reviewed seven of the best combat boots on the market. Check out this list to find your next pair.

Best Overall: Garmont T8 Bifida

Best Overall
Garmont T8 BIFIDA Boots (Coyote)
Garmont T8 Bifida
Built to last with durable split-grain leather and breathable, waterproof material.
What we like
  • Breathable, durable material
  • Compliant with AR 670-1 and AFI 36-2903 regulations
  • Water-resistant and quick-drying
  • Plenty of support for foot, ankle, knee, and whole body
What we don't like
  • Lacing the boots through grommets at the ankle causes discomfort
  • Not ideal for high arches
  • Expensive

When you need a boot that can do it all, the Garmont T8 Bifida has your back. It supports your whole body with specially designed soles, footbed cups, and nylon footbeds that keep you comfortable. With its hookless, rigging-proof hardware, you can lace up and rest assured that everything will stay right where it should.

These boots adapt to all types of terrain, keeping your feet dry and safe from slippage, even in rain or wet climates. In short: these lightweight boots keep you performing at your best.

Construction

The Garmont T8 Bifida has a split-grain leather upper that, combined with its heavy-duty DD grid, offers an abrasion-resistant exterior. With plenty of ventilation, you don’t have to worry about sacrificing protection for sweaty feet.

Along with its superior protection, this boot’s nylon footbed keeps you comfortable and stable, even on long hikes. It reduces the chances of aching joints, and the boot’s footbed cup means you’ll have full-body support all day. Plus, the roller bearing keeps everything in place all the way up to your knees.

Comfort & Adaptability

The Garmont T8 Bifida offers both breathability and material that dries quickly. Even in wet conditions, you won’t be walking around with leaking boots. The slip-resistant soles mean you can scale wet rocks and muddy earth with confidence.

These boots only weigh about 23 ounces, so you won’t feel like you’re wearing cement blocks when you’re rucking. They’re also comfortable right out of the box, which means you’ll only need a few days to break them in before you’re ready to get full use out of them.

They’re great for long periods of walking or standing, and their lightweight construction allows for speed and durability. The EVA insole and polyurethane footbed also mean that people with flat feet have finally found a boot for them.

Durability

These boots are designed for use by US military members. As such, they’re built to last with tough upper construction and zero optical refraction hardware.

The material and overall construction are approved for AR 670-1 use in the US Army and AFI 36-2903 use for members of the US Air Force with OCP uniforms. These boots can last for years, beating out other boots designed for the same purpose.

Overall

Garmont T8 Bifida boots give you comfort, durability, and protection against the elements. Don’t let their weight fool you into thinking they aren’t strong enough for rucking, hiking, packing, and anything else you throw at them.

These boots can handle whatever you’re doing while keeping your joints supported at all times. Their premium materials make them an excellent choice when you need a versatile boot that’s ready to serve.

Runner-Up Best Overall: Rocky S2V Predator Military

Runner-Up Best Overall
Rocky S2V Predator Military Boot (Coyote Brown)
Rocky S2V Predator Military
Offers the best quality and protective features, including water- and flash-resistant leather.
What we like
  • Water-, flame-, and flash-resistant
  • Durable and suitable for all conditions
  • Keep your feet dry and odor-free
  • Supportive and stable
What we don't like
  • Pricey

The Rocky S2V Predator 8” Military Boot gives you more than basic footwear. It has the technology to keep your feet dry, cool, and stable during your most intense training. It even has a flame-resistant coating.

These boots go above and beyond when it comes to protecting and serving your feet and joints. While many of the other boots on our list have some of these features, only Rocky has them all in one package.

Construction

Rocky S2V Predator offers the ultimate in protection, durability, and support. Their 1000D CORDURA and leather material is both water- and flash-resistant to keep you dry and discreet no matter where you go.

The flame-resistant PTFE coating means your boots will stay safe under even the most grueling conditions. The Vibram sole gives you the extra grip you need to prevent slipping and chafing.

These boots are GSA/TAA-compliant. They’re also approved for use with all OCP variations under both AR 670-1 US Army and AFI 36-2903 Air Force regulations.

Comfort & Adaptability

The S2V Predator uses specialized components to keep your feet comfortable and supported no matter how many miles you have to go. From the fiberglass shank that gives you plenty of arch support to the Lycra stretch tongue that conforms snugly to your foot for cushioning comfort, you’ll want to live in these boots.

Along with their water-resistant material, these boots have S2V Sieve technology to drain quickly if water gets in or your feet start to sweat. Plus, the moisture-wicking Dri-Lex lining means that any sweat, rainwater, or dampness gets pulled away from your feet to keep them free of irritation.

Rocky’s Air-Port footbed cushions provide all the comfort you need for rucking, running, and whatever else you might encounter. The Roll-Stop Ankle Stability configuration prevents ankle injuries and keeps you standing through it all.

Durability

In addition to their high-quality fabrics and materials, these boots are triple-stitched, so they won’t fall apart at the seams. You can take them into any climate and count on cool feet in warm weather (and vice versa).

They also have an Aegis microbe shield to ward off bacteria, fungi, and the stink that comes with wearing your boots all day, every day. Rocky thought of everything when designing the S2V Predator 8” model, so you won’t need to wonder whether they’ll hold up to rugged conditions and heavy use.

Overall

Rocky S2V Predator 8” Military Boots have everything you could ask for in a combat boot. They keep your feet dry, padded, and protected, and they suit all climates and environments. They’ll even keep your feet from smelling.

Their only downside is the price tag, but what can you expect when you have so many excellent features in such a high-quality boot? If you’re ready to invest in a boot that will serve you as well as you serve your country, look no further.

Best Versatility: Danner Tachyon

Best Versatility
Danner Tachyon 8" Coyote Boot
Danner Tachyon
Adapts to any environment with lightweight materials and a pentagonal outsole for extra grip.
What we like
  • Lightweight and Flexible
  • Easy to break in
  • Excellent breathability and shock absorption
What we don't like
  • Less durable than other military and combat boots
  • Not waterproof

Danner Tachyon 8” boots only weigh about 26 ounces. Their material allows for everything from breathability to grip, making them ideal for use on and off the field.

While not suited to heavy use, they’ll strike the right balance between indoor and outdoor work. They’re also ideal for hikes and adapt to any environment.

Construction

Danner Tachyon boots use lightweight materials, including synthetic fibers and open-cell polyurethane. Their nylon shank and EVA midsole make for the perfect shock absorption system, minimizing strain on your knees.

The open-cell polyurethane footbed increases breathability, while the upper, made of flesh-out cowhide leather, enhances durability and adaptability. This boot’s hardware also allows you to lace up fast—one tug from the top makes your laces snug and fitted so you can be on your way.

The full rubber pentagonal outsole provides grip for all types of terrain. At only 26 ounces, these boots have the lightweight design you need for everything from military use to outdoor activities like hiking.

Comfort & Adaptability

This flexible boot works well, whether you’re out in the field or in the office. There’s plenty of space for your toes to move without sacrificing stability for your ankles or insoles. Layers of shock-absorbing polyurethane keep your feet comfortable, even without upper padding.

These boots aren’t waterproof, but they do dry quickly. A simple application of waterproofing spray will make up for this shortcoming. Their material makes you feel like you don’t even need to break them in once you put them on for the first time.

Durability

This will last with moderate use but not suitable for harsher environments or rigorous training days, however, as their lightweight material might not stand up to every situation. If you plan on using them in dry areas or doing work that doesn’t require you to be on your feet constantly, they’ll last longer than they would in a muddy area where you do a lot of running.

These boots are approved for AR 670-1 use in the US Army and AFI 36-2903 use in the US Air Force with OCP. If you need lightweight footwear, you’ll find that these boots allow you to do your work without sore feet.

Overall

Danner Tachyon 8” boots allow you the flexibility you need on and off the field. They fit like a glove right out of the box, and you’ll notice the balance between support and comfort immediately.

They fall short when it comes to durability under heavy use, so know your terrain before you buy them. Without waterproofing, you can’t use them in all types of environments. But if you’re looking for a good indoor/outdoor boot, the Danner boots have the grip you need for everything from packed earth to wet floors.

Best Flexibility: Oakley Light Assault Boot 2

Best Flexibility
Oakley Light Assault Boot 2 (Desert)
Oakley Light Assault Boot 2
A versatile option that requires almost no break-in time.
What we like
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable material
  • Compliant with AR 670-1 and AFI 36-2903 regulations
  • EVA midsole helps with shock absorption
What we don't like
  • Not as durable as other combat boots
  • Not suitable for heavy use
  • Less foot protection than other boots

Oakley Light Assault 2 Boots are the best combat boots when it comes to flexibility in material and use. If you work in the Garrison on some days and out in the field on others, these boots offer the best of both worlds.

They have enough durability to withstand moderate use, but because they don’t last as long under constant intensity, you should be cautious about how you use them over the long haul. Still, their flexible material means they require almost no break-in time.

Construction

Light Assault 2 Combat Boots are 8” high and, between their slip-resistant rubber treads and braided nylon laces, have everything you need to keep your feet protected. The 1000D CORDURA fabric and well-ventilated upper provide a combination of comfort and durability.

The EVA midsole gives you the shock absorption you need for rucking, hiking, and working around the Garrison. Their anti-IR-coated metal speed loop system makes it easy for you to slip your boots on and off when you need to get going fast. It locks your laces in place, so your boots stay snug against your feet.

Comfort & Adaptability

The molded EVA insert and injection EVA midsole make it easy for you to turn on a dime and adapt to any situation. You’ll never have to worry about sweaty socks with these breathable boots, either. They’ll keep your feet cooler on long treks, and with their shock-absorbing technology you won’t feel like you’re walking on packed dirt or asphalt.

At only 14 ounces, these boots are the ultimate lightweight footwear. The only downside is that they don’t have the support you’ll find in heavier military and combat boots.

Durability

You may end up trading comfort for durability for these boots. While they work well for lighter activities, heavier use will damage them more quickly than more expensive boots in this category.

They should, however, work well if you split your time between indoors and outdoors and avoid wet climates. Some users get years out of these boots, while others find that their strength wanes in the first year.

Overall

While the Light Assault boots are a boon to the lightweight footwear category, they don’t stack up in the durability department. Keep in mind how you’ll use them—they’re better suited to work around the office and days where you don’t have to do as much walking.

Ultimately, while these boots don’t stand up to heavy use, they’re strong when it comes to comfort and flexibility.

Best Comfort: Altama Foxhound SR

Best Comfort
Altama Foxhound SF 8" Boot (Coyote)
Altama Foxhound SR
Uses PORON cushioning and a custom-molded EVA insole to keep you comfortable all day.
What we like
  • Durable and lightweight
  • Aegis anti-microbial liner
  • Waterproof and moisture-wicking
  • Cheaper than boots of like quality
What we don't like
  • Not listed as compliant with AR 670-1 US Army and AFI 36-2903 Air Force regulations
  • Laces not as durable as rest of boot

You might look at the lower price tag on the Altama Foxhound SR and think they must have some shortcomings. After testing them out, we found them to be made of strong, comfortable materials and with quality in mind.

These boots have everything that many other boots on this list have—light weight, good ventilation, and waterproofing—but for at least $30 less.

Construction

The Altama Foxhound SR 8” Boot is made with durable materials. The upper is made from Scotchgard Suede and 1000D CORDURA, giving you extra strength and protection.

Add a moisture-wicking mesh liner, and these boots are ready to guard against sweaty feet and dampness as well. The custom-molded thermoplastic heel counter and toe box fits the form of your foot, so you can count on comfort and structure.

The carbon rubber outsole is both slip-resistant and non-marking, so your boots stay clean and give you the grip you need for all terrains. Plus, the polymer speed lace eyelets ensure that your boots won’t loosen in the field. When it comes to ASTM F489-96 regulations, these boots are on target.

Comfort & Adaptability

Foxhound SR boots boast a low weight of 22 ounces, making them easy to wear for long periods. They also use PORON cushioning to keep your feet comfortable, no matter how long you need to wear them.

The custom-molded EVA insole conforms to your foot, so it won’t take you long to break in these boots. Their breathable fabric means any interior dampness dries fast, though their water-resistant construction makes dampness unlikely to begin with.

Durability

The Scotchgard Suede and 1000D CORDURA help keep these boots in top shape for as long as you need them. This combination of fabric protects against abrasions, stains, tears, and other issues that you often see with weak material after heavy use.

Their polymer speed lacing system makes them easy to put on and take off quickly. Whether you’re training or on a tour, you need footwear that doesn’t take time to lace up and secure, and these boots are as efficient as they come.

These boots also have an Aegis anti-microbial liner, protecting you from bacteria and odors that can create problems for your feet. While you want durable materials in your boots, you also want them to hold up in other areas, so your feet stay healthy.

Overall

The Altama Foxhound SR 8” Boot offers durability and quality at a great price. It has everything from anti-bacterial and anti-odor technology to materials that won’t fail you when it counts.

While the boots aren’t listed as being AR 670-1 or AFI 36-2903 compliant, they do have everything you need to get you through wet or dry environments.

Best Value for Price: 5.11 Tactical A.T.A.C.

Best Value for Price
5.11 Tactical ATAC Men's 8" Leather Jungle Combat Military Coyote Boots
5.11 Tactical A.T.A.C.
Works well in hot, dry climates and gives you convenience with a side zipper, stay-tied sausage laces, and a lower price than comparable boots.
What we like
  • Slip- and squeak-resistant
  • Cushioned, comfortable interior
  • Convenient side zipper and stay-tied sausage laces
  • No break-in period
What we don't like
  • Heel and sole tend to peel away before other parts
  • Not listed as compliant with AR 670-1 US Army and AFI 36-2903 Air Force regulations

These boots take the prize for best value for money in terms of convenience, performance, and comfort. They have the durability you need for heavy, long-term use and they won’t lose their padding or support as you use them.

Their stay-tied laces mean you won’t have to waste time tying and untying. The side zipper allows you to slip them on and off easily. When every second counts, the 5.11 A.T.A.C. keeps you ahead of the game.

Construction

It is constructed with full-grain leather textile and fabric for maximum durability and flexibility, along with a synthetic sole. The non-metallic shank offers you more support and is less likely to hurt your feet after long sessions of wear.

The boot’s slip-resistant outsole also means you can walk on damp or oily surfaces without slipping or squeaking. The side zipper allows you even greater convenience when you can’t be bothered to lace up.

Comfort & Adaptability

When it comes to comfort, don’t let this boot’s durability and stability fool you into thinking you won’t love how they feel on your feet. Their semi-rigid reinforcement forms to your feet and feels so comfortable out of the box that you don’t need any break-in time.

Between their open-cell foam cushion and 5.11’s Shock Mitigation System, these boots sport a comfortable insole that lets your feet breathe. Their high-cut design offers additional support to reduce the likelihood of ankle and other joint injuries.

Durability

The leather textile and fabric exterior of the 5.11 A.T.A.C. keep your footwear looking up to code. That said, their interior sometimes tends to wear away with heavy use. The sole may come apart, and some online reviews complain of the heel separating from the boot, so do bear that in mind if you’re considering buying a pair.

Overall

These convenient boots have a side zipper and stay-tied laces, making convenience their strongest feature. Despite their leather wear-resistant material, the insoles and heels sometimes peel away within the first year of use.

When it comes to overall comfort, however, these boots have cushioned insoles and keep their form while you wear them without sacrificing flexibility.

Best Budget: Ryno Gear Tactical Combat Boots

Best Budget
RYNO GEAR 8" Coolmax Tactical Combat Boots
Ryno Gear Tactical Combat Boots
Has durability and comfort at a great price, with ballistic nylon and leather material to make it last.
What we like
  • Extremely comfortable and excellent ventilation
  • Durable leather and ballistic nylon
  • Affordable than most other military and combat boots
What we don't like
  • Only available in sizes 6-13
  • Laces wear out quickly
  • Not waterproof
  • Not compliant with AR 670-1 or AFI 36-2903 regulations

You might be wondering how long a boot priced under $100 could possibly last. The Ryno Gear Tactical Combat Boot takes the cake for best budget boot. Despite the low price, this boot doesn’t skimp on quality.

Ryno doesn’t use cheap materials, and while it may have left out a few features some people look for in a boot, they made sure to include all the basics and a little more. If you don’t need anything fancy but still want quality foot protection, these are the boots for you.

Construction

The Ryno Gear Tactical Combat Boots are made with leather and ballistic nylon to ensure maximum durability, whether you wear them on a hike or around the office. The slip-resistant rubber outsole makes them suitable for all environments, wet or dry, and keeps you on your feet.

They have a water-resistant lining on the inside, though some buyers have still ended up with wet feet in excessively wet or muddy environments. The contrast stitching offers both style and an extra level of durability, so your boots won’t come apart.

These boots even have the advantage of convenience with side zippers and Velcro straps for a supportive, stable boot.

Comfort & Adaptability

Along with their sturdy materials, these Ryno Gear boots include a padded collar, which keeps the top of the boot from digging into your ankle and creating blisters or other painful abrasions.

Their mesh lining offers great ventilation against moisture build-up inside the boot. Combined with the Coolmax lining, you get a sweat-wicking formula to keep your socks dry.

Lastly, their shock-absorbing insoles give you all the support and power you need. If you want a boot that feels like a running shoe, these won’t disappoint. Plus, the insoles are removable, which allows you to replace them in the rare event that they fall flat.

Durability

Despite their low price, these boots have shown themselves to be as durable as any other military and combat boot. While they aren’t compliant with AR 670-1 or AFI 36-2903 regulations, they’re perfectly suitable for hiking trails or mountains, and even pavement can’t crush them.

Overall

Ryno Gear Tactical Combat Boots give you more in comfort and durability than most of the boots on our list. As a value boot, they offer almost everything you could want in a boot for a lower price.

On the downside, they aren’t approved for AR 670-1 US Army or AFI 36-2903 Air Force use, but you can still use them for hiking or any other type of outdoor activity. They’ll stand up to the task, and that in itself makes them a solid option for a quality boot.

Final Verdict

Any of these boots will make an excellent military or combat boot. They’ll also work just as well for daily use. But if you’re looking for boots compliant with AR 670-1 and AFI 36-2903 regulations, Garmont T8 Bifida is the one you want.

The Rocky S2V Predator has more features than you can count, but you won’t regret having any of them in your arsenal. With water-, flash-, and even flame-resistant material, you’ll use these boots for years without losing the comfort of their cushioned interior.

While these boots are a little pricey, they’re worth it. Would you rather buy a slightly higher-priced boot that you can wear for five years or more, or buy cheaper boots you’ll need to replace every year? The choice is yours, but we recommend the Garmont T8 Bifida and Rocky S2V Predator Military for everything.

The Ultimate Combat Boot Buying Guide

Military Combat Boots Buyer Guide
Photo by UlianoVrt

When you’re looking for the best combat boots, you need to know which components matter most. When performance counts, it’s never enough to take the manufacturer’s word on quality.

Use this guide to help you determine the best military and army boots for your needs, so that you end up buying a comfortable, compliant pair that lasts.

Material

A boot’s quality depends on its material, and you need to know which has the strength for heavy use without showing wear. Most combat boots will come in one of two types of material:

  • Leather: Many people prefer leather boots for their durability and waterproofing. They keep your feet warmer, and even if they aren’t already waterproofed, you can treat them with wax or spray. Leather boots come with a higher price tag, but it’s worth it for the years you’ll get out of them.
  • Synthetic: Synthetic boots usually have a combination of leather and nylon, and they often have a GORE-TEX membrane to help with breathability. These boots don’t have as much waterproofing capability as leather, and their lower price sometimes translates into decreased durability. Even so, you can still get high-quality synthetic boots if you buy from the right company.

Also, be sure to consider other components. Do the boots have a strong and slip-resistant outsole? Do they come with a moisture-wicking interior to keep your feet dry? And do you want the extra comfort of interior padding?

On some level, regardless of quality and build, the material you end up going for is a matter of preference. If you find synthetic boots more comfortable despite their lack of waterproofing, stick with them.

Price

Most of the time, you won’t find a durable, comfortable combat boot for less than $150. Many of the boots on our list fall near that number, but expect those with more features to come with a higher price tag.

That doesn’t mean you can’t find a great boot for less, like the Ryno Gear Tactical Combat Boot, which sells for well under $100. But if you want a budget boot that still meets compliance requirements, you might want to try something like the 5.11 A.T.A.C. Boot instead.

Keep in mind that while many retailers price their military and combat boots at around $150, that doesn’t make them all equal. Always check the specifications before you buy to make sure they have everything you need.

Boot Height and Weight

The height and weight of a boot correspond directly with comfort and support. While a shorter boot won’t give you the ankle support that comes with a taller one, that doesn’t mean shorter boots don’t serve their own purpose.

You’ll commonly find combat boots in two height groups:

  • 6” or 8”: These full-size boots offer more stability for longer treks, rucking, and other rough activities. With them, you have a lower likelihood of ankle and knee injuries, as they keep your ankle in place, even if you trip or fall.
  • 4” or 5”: These lower boots come with less support, but they also put less weight on your feet. If you don’t plan on going for a long hike or carrying a large pack, you probably won’t need as much protection. These boots work great for lower-stakes situations.

When it comes to weight, you want to carry as little of it on your feet as possible. If you’re spending a lot of time rucking, running, and hiking, you need a lightweight boot that doesn’t sacrifice quality.

Many of the lightest boots don’t last through heavy, everyday use, so you may want to avoid 14-ounce boots if you know you’ll be using them that way. At the same time, 26 ounces may feel too heavy for you to constantly lug around.

Consider your comfort in this case and look at why the boots weigh what they do. Are they made of heavier leather material? Do they have extra protective features? And do you need those features?

Conditions and Climate

Your boots should be compatible with the climate and conditions you’ll experience. They should hold up without falling apart or leaving you with constantly soaked feet.

Leather boots work better in cold, wet conditions. They keep your feet dry and their easy waterproofing makes them ideal for rain, snow, and muddy treks.

Synthetic boots, on the other hand, like the 5.11 A.T.A.C. with its synthetic sole, work better in dry climates. What they lack in waterproofing capabilities, they make up for in breathability. Well-ventilated boots in hot, dry climates mean you avoid sweaty, smelly feet and the problems that come with them, like bacteria and fungi.

Color and Compliance

If you plan on using your boots in basic training or on a tour, you’ll need to make sure they’re compliant with US Army, Air Force, or Navy regulations. Many of the boots on our list are approved for AR 670-1 US Army use and AFI 36-2903 Air Force use with OCP and MultiCam. But some, like the Ryno Gear Tactical Combat Boot, are not.

In addition to compliance with these regulations, make sure you buy the right color. For military use, you must have boots that come in either tan or coyote tan.

Inspect Your Boots

No matter what the label says, you should always inspect your boots thoroughly. While they may boast of certain features, you need to know them right down to every last detail.

Smell the boot to test for that telltale leather scent versus a synthetic blend. If you want a leather boot and you find out later that you bought synthetic without realizing it, you didn’t get what you paid for, especially because leather runs at a higher price.

You should also inspect the stitching, insoles, and outsoles for any faulty work. And while it may seem obvious that both boots should be the same size, you might just come across packaging errors or even inconsistencies with boots of lower quality. Save yourself some trouble later and check that both boots are consistent with each other. What constitutes the best military boots will ultimately depend on your preferences. When searching for that perfect pair, always consider your comfort along with their intended use.