Best Tactical Boots in 2020: Reviews, Guides, and the Latest Trends

By Kenneth Miller
Updated on
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The Rundown

The U.S. military is home to the best and brightest. It only makes sense that its footwear is the same caliber. Tactical boots that comply with military standards give users the highest-quality performance, no matter what lies ahead.

Tactical boots support your feet in a way no other footwear can. The sturdy sole holds up to challenging terrain, whether you’re climbing a mountain or trekking through the jungle. It also has tough foxing and shanks to protect and stabilize the ankles and feet.

These multi-purpose boots serve as the perfect apparel for professional and recreational use. It’s why the military, law enforcement officers, and even hikers wear them. The only question is, “What are the best tactical boots for you?”

We’ve assembled a list of the best tactical boots based on different criteria. While we understand the appeal of buying the most critically acclaimed model, we want you to have boots that fit your needs and budget. Each of the following 11 pairs represents the best option for its specific criteria.

Best Overall
Bates Men's GX-8 Gore-Tex Waterproof Side Zip Boot
Bates GX-8 Side Zip Gore-Tex
The go-to boots for people in law enforcement, emergency medical service, and construction.
What we like
  • Removable insert for added comfort
  • Waterproof exterior
  • Slip-resistant rubber outsole
  • Lightweight yet durable construction
What we don’t like
  • Zippers that are prone to faults
  • Cannot be resoled

If you spend a lot of time on your feet, you need a shoe that delivers support and comfort throughout the day. When law enforcement officers, paramedics, and construction workers want a shoe that’s up to the task, they trust the Bates Men’s GX-8 Gore-Tex Waterproof Side Zip. The supportive construction and lightweight design deliver the all-around performance you need without the footwear feeling burdensome or unwieldy.

The four-season boot has a breathable Gore-Tex membrane that wicks moisture away from your feet. Even on the hottest summer days, your feet should remain dry and cool as perspiration escapes through the microscopic perforations. The full-grain leather exterior also shields you from precipitation and mud if you’re outside in less than ideal conditions. 

Customers around the world have purchased Bates footwear for more than a century because of its superior cushioning. The shoe giant makes it easier than ever to personalize the fit of your tactical boots. The pliable interior helps take pressure off your legs and joints.   

The GX-8 has a removable insert, so you adjust the level of cushioning. The material contours to your foot for more comfortable walking, jumping, and running. You can take out the insert, if you prefer to feel closer to the ground.

Bates reinforces support with its ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) midsole. The lightweight and flexible material disperses your weight when you walk, instead of putting it in a single spot. The foam-like midsole is ideal if you have back pain and want to minimize stress on the joints. 

Want more reasons to invest in a pair of GX-8 Gore-Tex? The shoes feature YKK side zippers, so you can quickly put on and take off your tactical boots. It also has a cement construction that reduces the overall weight.

Perhaps most importantly, the GX-8 Gore-Tex Waterproof Side Zips come from a long line of innovation. Bates has been at the forefront of footwear since 1885 and has the awards and contracts to prove it. It’s why the U.S. Army contracts with Bates to produce tactical boots for its soldiers. If Bates products are good enough for the U.S. Armed Forces’ men and women, they should be good enough for you.

Best for Outdoor
LOWA TaskForce Zephyr GTX High Boot
Lowa TaskForce Zephyr GTX
Durable and flexible footwear that’s ideal for hiking and running errands.
What we like
  • Gore-Tex waterproof lining
  • Built-in nylon stabilizer for joints
  • Shock absorption with polyurethane frames
  • Breathable leather
What we don’t like
  • The expense of this model

Lowa has served climbers, hikers, and outdoor adventurers for nearly a century. The Slovakian company has set the standard for European footwear design and manufacturing with its clean designs and genuine tactical boots. Initially released in 2000, Zephyr GTX remains a watershed for outdoor footwear.

Each boot features a polyurethane frame and midsole. The material has become an industry staple, thanks to its low weight and high durability. Polyurethane, also known as PU, has outstanding oil resistance, making it ideal if you work in construction or industrial manufacturing.

The PU construction, also known as Monowrap Frame, ensures lightness and support. While the boot has a tough exterior, the Monowrap Frame gives your feet the cushion they need to stay comfortable. You also gain lateral stability when you move side-to-side. 

As one of the best tactical shoes on the market, the Zephyr GTX thrives at wicking moisture away from your feet. It features a Gore-Tex lining for a waterproof seal from your shins to your toes. The design means you’re less likely to have blisters or damp feet, even after hours of consecutive use.

The climate-controlled wicking material improves your overall comfort levels. It has small perforations along the lining to enhance air circulation inside the boot. The breathable design also minimizes friction between your skin and the boot.

These tactical boots come with a 100% split-grain leather and nylon exterior that holds up to the elements. You won’t have to worry about a drop in performance, even if it rains or snows. The Zephyr GTX even has a medium tread outsole with non-slip rubber lugs for added support on slick surfaces.

While the boots have a rugged exterior, these boots remain flexible. You do not have to break in the upper, thanks to its split leather and Cordura complexion. When you slide your feet into the Zephyr GTX, you’ll notice that the upper holds your feet in place without restricting your movement.

No detail escapes Lowa designers, who even consider gender when constructing tactical boots. They eschew a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, they make women’s boots narrower at the heel and at the ball of the foot. The meticulous craftsmanship sets Lowa apart from its competitors and justifies the boot’s high asking price.

Runner-Up Best for Outdoor
Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX Quarterboot
Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX
A classic three-season boot for outdoor adventurers and nature enthusiasts.
What we like
  • Contagrip traction for maximum grip
  • 4D Advanced Chassis for stability
  • Cushioned interior
  • 70+ years of outdoor footwear innovation
What we don’t like
  • Subpar breathability

Salomon helps people get the most out of their outdoor adventures. Since opening for business in 1947, the French company has made innovative gear for hikers, climbers, and scramblers. The rich legacy has culminated in one of the best tactical boots in its history: Quest 4D 3 GTX.

Salomon describes it as “a new generation backpacking boot featuring protection, comfort, and stability.” The construction makes it ideal for trail running, hiking, and backpacking. You can also think of the tactical shoe as three-season footwear that has everything except for a crampon.

The progressive approach to outdoor footwear starts with the 4D Advanced Chassis. The company borrowed the design from its trail-running shoes, specifically the XA Pro. It delivers superior stability without adding unnecessary weight.

The chassis is a thermoplastic urethane that limits how much you can bend laterally. This supportive midsole protects your feet when walking over rocks or roots. It also comes with enough thickness that you won’t feel discomfort stepping on a pointy object.

The aggressive traction, known as Contagrip, goes hand-in-hand with the 4D Advanced Chassis. The redesigned lugs offer excellent grip on wet and dry areas, thanks to the deep cavities. Contagrip also releases dirt and pebbles from the bottom of your shoe, so you reduce your chances of slipping.

Some of the other features include in the 4D 3 GTX include:

  • High-performance EVA foam for shock absorption
  • Full-grain leather material for longevity
  • SensiFit for snug foot fit
  • Protective mudguard
  • OrthoLite insole that matches the shape of your foot

Travel with confidence knowing you have the support of the Quest 4D 3 GTX. The flexible and cushioned shoe offers the performance you need to get through multiple days of hiking or mountaineering. It even has Gore-Tex waterproofing, so you never have to worry about wet feet again.

The Quest 4D 3 GTX is the best tactical boot that Salomon has ever made. It delivers an essential combination of stability, comfort, and durability for your upcoming outdoor adventures. Your feet will also thank you, knowing that each pair comes with a two to three-year warranty and 30-day hassle-free return.

Best for Law Enforcement
Danner Acadia 8" Waterproof Duty Boot
Danner Acadia Duty Boot
A favorite among law enforcement officers in need of robust footwear.
What we like
  • Breathable Gore-Tex lining
  • Vibram Kletterlift outsole minimizes shock
  • Superior traction on wet and dry surfaces
  • Stitchdown construction for increased durability
What we don’t like
  • Lack of insoles
  • Runs half a size large

Military veterans have trusted Danner with their footwear since 1932. Charles Danner, the founder and a former service member, originally started his business to aid men working in the timber industry. He expanded his operation following the start of World War II to include tactical boots. Today, the Danner brand stands as an international symbol for high quality and affordable footwear.

The Danner Men’s Acadia puts these attributes on full display. The shoe has a full-grain leather and nylon upper for the perfect blend of strength and style. It can withstand repeated usage and has a polishable surface, so you can keep your tactical boots looking like new.

The Vibram Kletterlift outsole bolsters the boot’s durability with its exceptional traction. You should have no problem stabilizing yourself on either wet or dry surfaces. The material resists oil and other slippery substances because of its lug design while delivering industry-leading shock absorption.

Danner, like many other companies on this list, uses Gore-Tex as a lining supplier. Slide your foot into one of its tactical boots and notice how Gore-Tex material compares to its alternatives. The lining has a waterproof seal, so liquid can’t get in but also still allowing sweat to escape.

Each Acadia comes with the company’s iconic stitchdown construction. The upper leather and fabric fit snuggly around the anatomical last—the foot-shaped model around which each boot is formed—with a flare-out before workers cement the midsole. The flare-out increases flexibility, increasing the air space and allowing each foot to rest evenly. This approach allows users to rebuild the boot to their desired specifications.

The 360-degree stitching improves user comfort. Other shoe manufacturers wrap the leather under the foot, which can pinch the foot, but the stitchdown method yields a more spacious interior. The flare-out design maximizes your flexibility without sacrificing coziness.

The Danner Acadia 8″ has become a go-to shoe for military and law enforcement officers across the United States. Its time-tested material holds up to harsh environments and dangerous situations. While the boot works best for tactical purposes, you can also use it in urban and rural settings.

Best Budget
Men's Smith and Wesson 8" Breach 2.0 Side-Zip Waterproof Boots
Smith and Wesson Breach 2.0
Budget-friendly boots that deliver outstanding performance for the price.
What we like
  • Budget-friendly
  • HydroGuard waterproofing
  • Foam-padded collar for improved breathability
What we don’t like
  • Lack of padding on the bottom
  • Shoes run a half size large

When you think of Smith & Wesson, the odds are you don’t think about tactical boots. The gun manufacturer has made firearms since 1856, generating nearly a billion dollars annually in gun sales alone. Only recently has the company expanded its offering to include footwear.

While Smith & Wesson makes upscale guns, the same does not apply for its tactical boots. The shoes serve budget-conscious shoppers who want high-end performance without high-end prices. If you need a reliable shoe that costs a fraction of the price of other options, the Breach 2.0 Tactical Side Zip Boots merit your consideration.

Smith & Wesson keeps your feet safe and dry with its durable construction and weather-resistant exterior. The shoe has a leather and nylon upper for additional lower leg protection. Designers also include extra foam padding around the collar and tongue to keep the boot sturdy yet breathable.

The company uses HydroGuard as a cost-effective alternative to Gore-Tex. It’s a polyurethane membrane that S&W laminates onto the fabric. HydroGuard has a watertight consistency, so your feet won’t get wet if your adventures take you through mud or rain.

The PU construction gives the shoe a modest weight, coming in at 1.25 pounds or 567 grams. Breach 2.0 Boots allow a wide range of laterally flexible, even in a constrained environment. While the tactical boot doesn’t have impressive durability, the cushioned interior ensures that your feet remain comfortable for as long as you own the shoes.

The Breach 2.0 has chunky lugs that maximize traction on slick surfaces. If you work in manufacturing or construction, these boots can keep you stable during hazardous tasks. The innovative grip pattern ensures security while making it easy to knock out dirt and other debris, thanks to spacious crevices. 

The marquee feature is the set of YKK side zippers that run along the upper. They come with a robust Vislon pattern, so you can unzip and remove your shoes in a matter of seconds. The hook and loop also zip up to keep your boots closed while in use.

Smith & Wesson designed the Breach 2.0 Tactical Side Zip Boots as footwear for the everyman. The reasonable price tag and one-year manufacturer warranty make it an attractive option for most consumers. If you’re new to buying tactical boots, this pair should be the perfect starting place.

Best for Newcomers
Rocky 8" AlphaForce Waterproof Zipper Boot
Rocky AlphaForce Waterproof Zipper Boot
An entry-level tactical boot for public service and outdoor enthusiasts.
What we like
  • Affordability
  • Full-grain leather and nylon mixture
  • Easy-to-use side zippers
  • Slip-resistant rubber outsole
What we don’t like
  • Lack of breathability
  • Easy-to-scuff leather

While the Rocky 8” Alpha Force Waterproof Zipper Boot may not stand out among its competitors, it highlights company innovation. Rocky was one of the first businesses to use DuPont’s Cordura to improve water-resistance for tactical boots. It was also one of the first companies to license Gore-Tex.

Rocky continues using Gore-Tex for its boot liners today. The waterproof material blocks large droplets from entering your shoes while allowing vapor to escape. As the gold standard in waterproofing, Gore-Tex keeps your feet dry, whether you’re in the rain or sweating profusely.

Alpha Force Boots come with full-grain leather and 1,000-denier nylon fabric. This mixture gives your feet long-lasting protection against the elements. Even if you step on a sharp object or walk over gravel, the construction won’t give way. 

Perhaps the most impressive feature is the non-marking RigiTrac outsole. The dense lugs provide stable footing on slippery and oily surfaces. You can walk up the side of a mountain or ride a motorcycle with conviction in your stability.

Like the Breach 2.0 Boots, Alpha Force Boots don’t wow customers with various features. They don’t have a steel toe or PU frames, like some of the other tactical boots. Think of these shoes as duty boots rather than the kind of work boots that you’d use while operating heavy machinery.

Proper maintenance can keep your pair of Rocky Alpha Force Waterproof Zipper Boots functional in the long run. You can break in the footwear within a few days and have them last for decades. If you want comfort and durability without breaking the bank, give these tactical boots a look.

Best for Athletes
Under Armour Valsetz RTS 1.5 Tactical Boot
Under Armour Valsetz RTS
Sporty footwear that combines lightweight performance with excellent support.
What we like
  • UA ClutchFit for outstanding support
  • Lightweight design
  • Ortholite sock liner for extra padding
  • Athletic aesthetic
What we don’t like
  • Questionable durability
  • Lack of waterproofing

Much like Smith & Wesson, tactical boots probably aren’t the first thing you think of when you hear the name Under Armour. The organization shot to prominence for its athletic apparel and currently sponsors professional athletes, ranging from golfer Jordan Spieth to the U.S. men’s and women’s national gymnastics teams. Under Armour began its foray into tactical boots at the end of the 2000s, including its development and release of the Valsetz RTS.

The Valsetz RTS looks the least like a traditional tactical boot of our 11 boot selections. While it has strong-featured foxing and shanks, it’s not a stretch to imagine someone playing basketball in a pair. (To be clear, you’ll get better performance out of these shoes on the trails than on the court.)

Under Armour borrowed innovations from its other lines of shoes and incorporated them into the Valsetz RTS, including the patented UA ClutchFit ankle support system. Initially released in 2014 for high-end athletic cleats, the material looks like a rigid web. Look closer, and you’ll notice small cells within the support system called auxetic structures. 

These holes stretch with your foot, whether you move forward, backward, or in a perpendicular direction. The flexible design provides stability without restricting your motion. The Valsetz RTS allows you to make sharp cuts or pivots that are all but impossible with bulky tactical boots.

Athletic-minded individuals will enjoy the Valsetz RTS’s lightweight design. Each shoe weighs 13.58 ounces (358 grams) or half the weight of average models. Buy the Valsetz RTS, and you can stay light on your feet at work or outdoors. 

Under Armour does a remarkable job of creating sturdy shoes that do not compromise your comfort. Each pair has Ortholite sock liners that conform to the contours of your feet. The anti-microbial surface actively resists unwanted germs and bacteria, so foot fungus becomes a non-issue.

Other supportive features include the TPU shank and Micro G EVA midsole. The shank fuses rigidity with support, so your foot doesn’t absorb your footfall’s full impact. The Micro G EVA midsole acts as a dense cushion for continuous support, reducing your joint and muscle strain.

One of the few knocks on the Valsetz RTS is its durability. The shoe has a history of fading and ripping where the textile meets the outsole. This relatively short lifespan is problematic if you plan on using these tactical boots every day. However, if you want an athletic-looking shoe for the occasional hike, the Valsetz RTS can do the job.

Best for Military Style
Tactical Research 8" Khyber Lightweight Side Zip Waterproof Boot
Belleville Khyber Tactical Research
Traditional military footwear with a rugged exterior and plush interior.
What we like
  • Rugged Vibram outsole
  • Breathable mesh and moisture-wicking lining
  • Durable cowhide exterior
  • Orthotic insole for increased comfort
What we don’t like
  • The zippers, which are prone to breaking

Few companies have more cachet in the military community than the Belleville Shoe Company. Since its inception in 1904 and its first military contract in 1915, this manufacturer has provided U.S. military and law enforcement with high-quality tactical boots. The Belleville Shoe Company currently produces more than a million pairs of boots each year, all with the same cutting-edge design and progressive standards.

The strength of the Tactical Research TR960Z WP Khyber Boot lies in its 100% cowhide leather. The durable exterior provides a formidable barrier against the elements, keeping your feet safe from water and blunt objects. Portions of the boot contain wear-resistant nylon for additional longevity.

Insert your feet into the bootie and enjoy the plush interior with its Gore-Tex coating. The orthotic insole supports your joints when you run, walk, and jump. It has a mixture of rubber and foam composite that absorbs shock when you apply pressure. The TR-1 insole also supports your foot’s underside, allowing your feet to remain comfortable in any posture.

The Gore-Tex coating, which North Face President Steve Rendle heralded as the “gold standard for comfort and protection in the world’s most challenging environments,” keeps your feet dry at all times. The waterproofing technology blocks water from penetrating your insole because each hole is 20,000 times smaller than a single droplet. Those holes are also 700 times larger than water vapor, so you have more than enough room for perspiration to escape.

The Khyber Boots work well on any terrain. They have rappelling bars on the outsole that resemble climber’s rappel racks. These devices let climbers control the amount of friction on their ropes when they descend a cliff face.

The 100% rubber outsole complements the sharp-angled lugs, which increase traction. The deep pockets prevent dirt and debris from sticking to your tactical boots’ underside, making it easier for you to maintain a stable stance. The well-defined heel provides additional resistance if you find yourself leaning backward or on an unlevel surface. Tactical Research TR960Z WP Khyber check all the boxes if you’re searching for a classic military boot. Their leather exteriors, soft interiors, and jet-black aesthetic look and feel like the quintessential army boots. The only knock is the side zipper, which may break prematurely.

Best for Long Workdays
Merrell Moab 2 Tactical Waterproof Side-Zip 8" Boot
Merrell Moab 2 Tactical
Keep your feet comfortable with durable leather boots from Merrell.
What we like
  • Kinetic Fit footbed for extra support
  • Abrasion-resistant exterior
  • Durable side zipper
  • Vibram TC5+ for consistent traction
What we don’t like
  • Heavy weight
  • Subpar waterproofing

If you’re in a rugged environment, you should have peace of mind knowing your feet are safe. Merrell Moab 2 Tactical Boots deliver precisely that with a blend of weatherproof and shock-resistant features. Even the most challenging scenarios don’t stand a chance against these tactical boots.

Every part of these Merrell boots comes with thoughtful design. The outsole features Vibram TC5+ so that you can have a firm grip on any surface. Climbers and mountaineers use the same material to reach the world’s highest peaks.

The all-weather resistance applies from the toe and heel. Moab 2 Tactical Boots have abrasion-resistant rubber on the toe to minimize shock and prevent fading. The heel has a counter cup that buttresses the back of your foot without restricting your range of motion.

Merrell includes other elements for better stability, such as an air-cushioned midsole and sturdy upper. The most significant addition, though, is the Kinetic Fit footbed. It not only supports your heel and arch but also has enough cushion to mitigate foot fatigue. The design makes the tactical boots ideal if you have to stand on your feet for an extended time.

Moab 2 Boots appeal to a wide range of users because of their supportive features and protective construction. Your toes have the necessary protection unless you operate heavy machinery. The boots also last longer than the average shoes.

Merrell has a long track record of making world-class boots, and the Moab 2 Tactical Boots are no exception. One of the few complaints lies in the boot’s waterproofing, or lack thereof. Merrell does not use Gore-Tex, so you may find that the PU coating lets moisture seep into your shoes more readily than expected.

Best for Active Duty
Maelstrom Men's Tac Force Military Tactical Work Boots
Maelstrom Tac Force Tactical Boots
One of the best tactical shoes to assist law enforcement, security, and safety personnel.
What we like
  • Reasonable price
  • Style designed for active-duty personnel
  • Classic tactical aesthetic
What we don’t like
  • Modest durability

Maelstrom builds shoes for men and women in uniform. It even says so on the company’s About Us page. Maelstrom thinks of the best ways to assist law enforcement, security, and safety personnel in doing their jobs.

The footwear manufacturer has distinguished itself for its commitment to outstanding performance and design, and that craftsmanship is on full display in the Tac Force Military Tactical Work Boot. The affordable boot comes with full-grain leather and dense rubber outsoles. These features give you optimal resilience while still enabling you to traverse boulders, gravel, or dirt.

The rubber outsole has an aggressive tread pattern to reduce your chances of slipping. It’s perfect for diverse terrain and urban environments. While the all-terrain outsole offers a reliable foothold, you should not use it the commercial kitchens.

Instead of sporting a Gore-Tex coat, Tac Force comes with proprietary iH20-Tex technology. The waterproof material keeps feet moisture- and pathogen-free, even in the most challenging climates. The addition of a moisture-wicking liner also prevents your socks from turning into miniature swamps. 

Some of the other reasons people love these Maelstrom Tac Force Boots include:

  • Long-lasting YKK side zippers
  • Shock-absorbent cushions
  • Easy-to-polish uppers
  • Semi-rigid supports in the heel and toe
  • Multiple color options

Each pair of Tac Force Boots lets you give back to the military and veterans’ community. Maelstrom donates $1 from every purchase to the Boot Campaign, a national non-profit organization that offers life-improving programs for service members. That includes events, such as #LaceUpAmerica and Santa Boots, that benefit hundreds of families each year.

If you’re searching for classic military boots at a reasonable price, consider Tac Force Military Tactical Work Boots. While Maelstrom advertises them for service members, they work equally well for either service members or civilians who enjoy hiking, motorcycling, and other recreational activities. Get your pair today and see why they’re among the most popular tactical boots in the United States.

The Final Verdict

The best tactical boots are ones that fit your preferences and budget. While we think everyone should consider the Danner Acadia, these boots might not be right for you, especially if you need to save money. In those situations, you should look at footwear from Rocky or from Smith & Wesson.

Our list covers the best tactical boots across many different categories. If we could only choose one, though, it would be the Lowa Zephyr GTX. The shoe marks a monumental achievement in tactical footwear, including climate-controlled insoles, Gore-Tex waterproofing, and mixed terrain applicability.

Want a slightly more cost-effective option? Our runner up is the Bates GX-8 for its sturdy yet supportive frame that caters to outdoor enthusiasts everywhere. Remember, no matter what shoes you select, you can be sure that the boots will serve you well now and in the future.

The Ultimate Tactical Boots Buying Guide

Tactical boots standing in a row
Photo by Ajdin Kamber

Tactical boots aren’t like other shoes. They require more durability and weather resistance than recreational shoes, due to their military origins. These boots aren’t a fashion statement—they’re a way of life.

Getting the best tactical shoes for your money requires understanding the features and jargon that come with them. If you’re scratching your head because companies emphasize Gore-Tex or leather uppers, we’re here to help. The following sections provide you with a crash course on tactical boots to ensure that you make an educated purchase. 

The Purpose

Standard Issue Tactical Boots

Standard issue tactical boots are the most popular option. They’re the shoe of choice among soldiers and law enforcement officers worldwide, thanks to a waterproof seal, soft insoles, and a hard, abrasion-resistant upper. Bates Waterproof USMC combat boots are the U.S. military’s current footwear, though manufacturers can produce commercial versions of this style without limitation.

If you want an all-purpose shoe, start your search with standard-issue tactical boots. They handle different types of terrain and keep your feet cool and dry. Make sure to check for the phrase “standard issue” on the boot’s label before you buy it. All the shoes should be at least eight inches tall and do not necessarily have a “shoe-like” look.

Jump Boots

The remaining boots on our list cater to niches. Manufacturers created jump boots to protect paratroopers during World War II. The reinforced supports keep the knees, feet, and ankles intact, even after a hard landing. Some manufacturers add an orthopedic gel pad into the insole for additional support.

If you want to go hiking or climbing, these boots aren’t for you. The stiff leather makes it challenging to move laterally. The style still has a dedicated userbase among Navy personnel and paratroopers. 

Tanker Boots

The odds are you’re not driving a tank every day. You should still consider tanker boots if you operate heavy machinery. These hyper-protective shoes provide exceptional resistance against extreme heat, slick surfaces, and other hazards.

Tanker boots are often taller than conventional tactical boots and do not come with laces. They include metallic shanks inside the leather for additional protection between your feet and potential dangers. The rugged design makes tanker boots a leading choice among industrial workers.

Extreme Climate Boots

Extreme climate boots come in three different varieties: desert, winter, and jungle. Each category offers extra protection against heat, cold, and moisture, respectively. For instance, desert tactical boots have thin shanks to prevent warm air from accumulating inside your shoes.

Winter boots pull double duty, keeping your feet warm and dry simultaneously. Manufacturers insert copious amounts of insulation to keep your extremities toasty and a waterproof coating to prevent snow or ice from seeping into your shoes. Jungle boots also have above-average waterproofing abilities and quick-drying material in case you step in water.

The Features

Leather or Synthetic

The best tactical boots typically use leather. Its stringency delivers more protection and durability, whether you go hiking or serve on the front lines. The natural fibers can withstand repeated abrasions that synthetic materials cannot.

Synthetic boots cater to people in need of budget-friendly footwear. Artificial materials also have some advantages over leather because they dry faster, readily mold to the shape of your feet, and are lightweight. While they lack the shelf life of their leather counterparts, synthetic boots deserve consideration from most shoppers.

Boot Height

Tactical boots come in various heights, based on how much support you need. Mid-top and high-top shoes are the most popular options. Mid-tops cover a small amount of skin above your ankle, while high-tops run up your calves.

If you plan on exercising or moving in a warm climate, buy mid-tops. The shorter height gives your feet more ventilation and reduces foot fatigue. Mid-tops also tend to be lighter in weight, so the shoes don’t hold back your athletic performance. If you’re in a frigid environment or work with hazardous equipment, high-tops are the superior choice.

Durability

If you properly maintain your tactical boots, they can last a lifetime. The best tactical shoes have weather-resistant material and Goodyear welts. This type of stitching attaches the upper to the sole with thread as opposed to cement.

Sewing the upper and sole together creates a robust connection between the top and bottom of the shoe. While cement construction has its merits, it is more vulnerable to everyday wear and tear. If your sole becomes loose, you cannot replace the boot’s sole if it has cement construction.

It’s not a coincidence that the most durable tactical boots are the most expensive. The higher price tag can save you money over the long run, though, if you properly care for your footwear. You’ll spend less money buying one pair of highly durable boots for $300 than $100 boots that you replace every five to ten years.

Stability

A sturdy base gives you a solid footing on different surfaces. It ensures your balance and steadiness when performing various tasks, such as walking, climbing, or working from a stationary position. The best tactical boots combine aggressive tread, thick midsoles, and ankle support.

Look at tall tactical boots if you want to find the best ankle supports. These shoes, which are six to eight inches tall, have extra padding that braces your ankles when you turn or twist. It makes moving through densely wooded areas or rural terrain easier because the rigid structure braces your joints.  

Waterproofing

One of the main reasons people buy tactical boots instead of traditional ones is the weatherproofing. It protects your feet on mixed terrains and in extreme climates. It also keeps your feet moisture-free.

The best tactical boots use Gore-Tex coatings. This material provides a waterproof barrier that blocks water droplets from entering your shoe. This feature comes in handy when you’re walking in snow, hail, mist, mud, or rain.

Gore-Tex may be the high watermark in waterproofing, but it has many worthy competitors. Maelstrom uses a proprietary product called iH20-Tex, while other manufacturers utilize waxed cotton. As long as your purchase tactical boots with high-quality waterproofing, you can expect them to remain intact for at least ten years.

Weight

The ideal weight of a shoe depends on the users. Large people should choose a bulky boot that weighs four to six pounds. Petite individuals should look for tactical boots that weigh less than two pounds.

While a few ounces may not seem like much, it makes a world of difference when that weight goes directly on your feet. The best illustration of this phenomenon is distance running. According to legendary coach Jack Daniels, adding 3.5 ounces or 100 grams to a shoe increases aerobic demand by 1%.

This small addition forces runners to work harder to cover the same amount of ground as competitors. The same applies to tactical boots. Climbing stairs with tactical boots becomes incrementally harder with every extra ounce of weight. While a boot’s weight shouldn’t make or break your purchasing decision, you should select a lightweight pair that provides adequate protection.