Best Tactical Boots

Tactical Boots

One thing law enforcement officers, military personnel, hunters, and security guards have in common is the need for high-quality tactical boots. In fact, many individuals bank on their boots ability to trudge through the most demanding, precarious, and hazardous situations without an issue. Accordingly, we've worked hard to bring you a comprehensive guide to tactical boots. Read along to learn more about what it takes to literally stand on the first line.

What are tactical boots

If you're still wondering what makes tactical boots so special, you've come to the right place. This heavy-duty footwear is part of the standard uniform for police officers, army personnel, S.W.A.T. teams, as well as many civilians because of its extreme durability and ability to protect the feet. Tactical boots help determined men and women wade through a variety of otherwise inconceivable terrains. From jungle combat to desert missions, tactical boots are prized by operatives because of there ability to make their jobs possible.

Military Tactical Boots

What are they good for?

An exceptional, well-fitted pair of tactical boots provides your feet and ankles with a protective sheath, a solid foundation, reliable traction, enhanced mobility, prolonged comfort, and so much more. However, there need to be several factors at play to account for such a superb design. Read along to learn more about the different elements of tactical boots and discover what features can help you brave your prospective terrain.

tactical boots

What's special about them?

At this point, you are probably wondering what sets one foot-shaped bundle of rubber, leather, and nylon apart from another. First off, a well-designed boot should be designed to be exceptionally rugged, weatherproof, and longlasting. Moreover, it should provide you with a solid, slip-free, quiet grip, exceptional toe protection, extended-wear, and breathable uppers. We aren't talking about your standard hiking boots, we're talking about hiking boots on roids.

What to look for and why?

Weather, terrain, and environmental factors play a huge role in determining what style of boot you should use. In this next section, we'll talk about what to look for when purchasing boots for a specific environment.

AR 670-1 Boots

In 2014 the US Army regulation AR670-1 was introduced - therefore if applicable you should follow these regulations when you select the best military boots.
The regulation applies to Active Army, the Army National Guard/Army National Guard of the United States, and the U.S. Army Reserve.

In general, the regulations for AR 670-1 compliant combat boots are:

- 8 to 10 inches in height
- Tan or coyote flesh out cattle-hide leather
- Plain Toe and sole matching color of the upper
- Rubber or polyether polyurethane outsole
- Sole will not exceed 2 inches in height when measured from bottom of sole
- Sole will not extend up the back of the heel or over the top of the toe
- All leather upper or leather and non-mesh fabric

AR670-1 Compliant Boots

We like these AR 670-1 compliant combat boots

Danner Tanicus
Blackhawk Men's Warrior Wear Desert Ops Boots
Rocky S2V Special Ops .jpg

Danner Tanicus

Blackhawk Men's Warrior Wear Desert Ops Boots

Rocky S2V Special Ops

Environmental Factors


If you're looking for boots that are going to help you tackle that unforgiving urban jungle, you'll want something that is super light, stealth, and ultra durable. Features such as metal shanks can relieve you of the worry of stepping on harsh manmade rubble made up of glass, metal, and cement shards. Meanwhile, extra thick midsole cushions can eliminate the painful shock of repeatedly landing on hard concrete. Black is your standard color for its limited reflective qualities and ability to blend in. Finally, oil and slip resistant outsoles with wide, climbing-style lugs keep you standing and ready for anything the city might throw at you.

If your city missions equate to frequent flying miles. You may want to inquire about metal detector complacent models. With fiberglass shanks instead of steel and metal-free hardware, slipping through security quickly and without calling attention to yourself is a synch. Of course, giving up your metal toe guard might not be easy, but you win some, you lose some.

Urban Tactical Boots

We like these "Urban" tactical boots

5.11 Tactical A.T.A.C. 8 Storm Boot
Bates Men’s Ultra-Lites 8 Inches
Danner Acadia Metalic Toe

5.11 Tactical A.T.A.C. 8 Storm Boot

Bates Men’s Ultra-Lites 8 Inches

Danner Acadia Metalic Toe

Hot, Dry, and Sandy

If you foresee yourself being stationed by dunes or otherwise barren, sandy landscapes, desert tan tactical boots are going to be your best bet. Modifications to look for include additional side zipper closure systems, which allows you to quickly remove your choose and eliminate sand, drainage eyelets, tight highrise uppers, and breathable mesh side panels. Desert tan cotton or synthetic laces are standard issues with most desert boots, just make sure that you have a tight, secure fit around the ankle, as trapped sand can quickly weigh you down and disrupt your mission. 

Tactical Boots For Hot Weather

We like these hot weather tactical boots

Belleville Men's 550 ST USMC Hot Weather

Danner men's Tanicus 8 inch hot duty boot

5.11 ATAC 8 Inches Mens Boot

Belleville Men's 550 ST USMC Hot Weather


If you anticipate sloshing through puddles, securing a pair of reliable waterproof boots is imperative. Patented materials such as Gore-Tex and other synthetic fabrics and liners promise to keep water out. Leather boots, on the other hand, or more permeable to liquid. Keep in mind that if you are subjecting your feet to flood-like conditions on a daily basis, water is probably going to enter through the leg opening at one time or another. To eliminate any need for concern, choose a boot with quick-drying, antimicrobial midsoles, such as one made of Ethylene-vinyl acetate or another nonpermeable rubber padding.

Other popular options for tropical precipitation are jungle boots. This type of boot usually features nylon and leather uppers with drainage eyelets. On the bottom, deep, widespread lugs keep mud from accumulating and allow you to find a secure footing in the harshest of environments. Alternatively, ripple bottom sols are a popular design element for many jungle boots. Removable insoles help facilitate faster drying and maintain foot cleanliness. Meanwhile, wide side vents help to circulate water back to where it came from.

Wet weather

We like these wet weather tactical boots

smith & wesson BREACH 2.0
Bates Men's GX-8

5.11 tactical skyweight rapid dry boots

Smith & Wesson BREACH 2.0

Bates Men's GX-8

Cold, Snowy, and Icy

The three most important features when it comes to cold weather tactical boots are insulation, water-resistance, and grip. When ice, snow, and subzero temperatures set the stage, a good pair of boots can be the difference between frostbite or lost limbs. Thinsulate and other manufactured shoe liners help to fight against frigid temperatures. However, it's important to have a ventilation system for sweat and moisture in place too. Many boots also utilize specialized engineered rubber products that will not harden in extremely cold temperatures. Make sure your boot is designed to keep you warm without infringing upon your natural mobility. Afterall, a mid-mission shoe change isn't usually feasible.

Cold weather tactical boots

We like these cold weather tactical boots

Belleville 775
Rocky Men's 8 Inch S2v Cold Weather


Belleville 775

Rocky Men's 8 Inch S2v Cold Weather

What qualities should you look for?


Each separate boot element helps reinforce the others to generate an effective piece of footwear that supports the complex movements of an operative's feet while protecting them from a number of adverse conditions. While it may seem like a lot of thought goes into the design of tactical boots, it is not much when you consider the sheer number of bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments that they encase. Apart from reinforcing the body's natural movement and balance, boots extend a person's capacity for strenuous activity.


Whether you're manning the trenches or propelling through the urban jungle, durability is essential but shouldn't be traded off for comfort. A rugged, weatherproof exterior should protect against basic hazards such as punctures, tears, harsh heat, and abrasions. There is no telling how much wear and tear will come from a day in the life of a law officer, soldier, nor hunter, but common sense says to er on the side of caution.

Durable tactical boots

Bonus durability features include reinforced toe caps, which protect the feet from falling objects and compression. Meanwhile, midsole plates prevent ground-up punctures, and plastic heel guards prevent rear injuries. Finally, a gusseted tongue is an effective military boot feature. Gusseted tongues are sewn onto uppers to prevent debris, water, and other materials from entering the inside of boots.


Army Combat Uniform (ACU) regulations include strict environment-specific attire standards intended to enhance, protect, and conceal an active soldier (U.S. Army). The standard issue coyote brown and tan boots worn by most officers are a universal tactical footwear option. Whether you are a civilian or government personnel, if you're looking for a boot that can hold up in multiple environments, make sure they possess the characteristics necessary and are the product of a reliable brand.

Waterproof and Water Resistant

There are two different ways to defend yourself against moisture exposure. Standard waterproofing is ideal for cold climates and can help you seal out moisture that can afflict your feet and damage your shoes. Water resistant materials include polyester, nylon, rubber, and synthetic leather. Many shoes also contain an internal water-resistant membrane. Typically, these membranes contain microscopic ventilation holes to eliminate sweat while also keeping outside liquid where it is. Alternatively, jungle boots and other warm weather tactical boots feature drainage holes that help to quickly eliminate water through both the soles and the sides.

Unless you are only going to operate in a very dry environment like desert we highly recommend to go for a pair of waterproof tactical boots.
Waterproof vs water resistant boots


There is a lot of pressure on the outer soles of tactical boots to withstand harsh environmental impacts, prevent slips and falls in almost all conditions, and help you break during sharp descents and hastened motions. If you're planning on trudging through snow or mud, thick, deep rubber lugs provide a good grip. However, thinner lugs can help you plod through debris-heavy terrains, such as forests, deserts, and beaches.

Soles are almost always made from rubber. Rubber provides an impermeable barrier from liquids, chemical spills, electric shock, and so much more. It also reinforces natural foot flexibility. In addition, steel shanks and carbon liners provide rigid reinforcement, which can come in handy in a multitude of high-intensity trades.



Uppers are the fabric part of the boot that covers the entire top and sides of your feet. Pay close attention to the material content of the uppers to assure it meets all of the prerequisites of a solid pair of tactical boots. Both full grain and split grain leathers are popular amongst consumers because of their durability, resistance to punctures and other hazards, and timeless aesthetic qualities. With that being said, synthetic fabric blends such as nylon, polyester, and manufactured leather can be inexpensive, lighter, and more resistant to water and wear. Whatever uppers you settle on, make sure they're appropriate for the environment you'll be wearing them in.


While you might not be super picky about your laces, fitted closures are a key component of tactical boots. There are several innovative closures that have taken the place of traditional laces, such as the BOA dial System. Look for closures that are going to be easy to secure with gloved hands and those that don't run the risk of being easily snagged. More traditional closure include nylon laces, leather straps, locked bungees, zippers, and hook and loop systems. Your preference for a particular boot closure system should be determined by its effectiveness in the role you intend to perform as well as the terrain and weather the boots will be exposed to.


There are several elements that determine the comfort level of boots. First and foremost, make sure your prospective boots are a proper fit. Seek the help of a qualified footwear professional to assure your boots are neither too tight nor too loose. When trying them on, wear compatible socks and lace or secure them as if you were going out on the job. As a rule of thumb, your index finger should fit securely between your ankle and the heel of the boot. Moreover, there should be between 3/8 and 1/2 inches of space between your longest toe and the end of your shoe. Check out the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society's website for helpful pointers on being properly fitted for shoes or boots (AOFAS).

Tactical boots demand more of their midsoles than typical shoes. In fact, the shock-absorbent sole centers need to be able to withstand the impact of sharp objects, rocky terrain, absorb the shock of rigorous motion, and hold up to the combined weight of your body and gear. To make this all possible, most modern midsoles are made from Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) or polyurethane. In terms of design, they need to be extremely flexible, somewhat curved, provide adequate arch support, and be somewhat soft.

boots fit

Finally, tactical boots should also provide sufficient ankle support. Reinforced highrise uppers give you protection from watery terrain and reduce the risk of sprains and other common lower leg injuries. According to the Kansas City Foot Specialists, the ankles bear the weight of over one and a half times your body weight when you are standing, walking, or running (KC Foot). So it should come as no surprise that between 60 to 70 percent of Active-Duty Army soldiers suffer foot and ankle injuries each year (Wallace). Good ankle support can prevent these injuries and improve the longevity of your body.


You might be wondering how it is possible to have a water-tight yet breathable boot. According to researchers at the 2012 International Textile, Clothing, and Design Conference, the combination of innovative breathable textile membranes and antibacterial linings make it all possible(Peixoto). These membranes are microscopic and direction-oriented. Besides synthetics, natural split grain leather is a thin, breathable alternative. Look for a boot with breathable synthetic or leather uppers. In addition, patented sock liners such as Ortholite and GORE-TEX help to eliminate the build-up of sweat and bacteria, making your boots safer and more comfortable during long shifts.


Common Boot-Related Foot Issues

When it comes to purchasing extended-wear boots, it is important to acknowledge the number of adverse foot conditions that can stem from wearing inferior or poorly fitted footwear. Blisters, for example, are often caused by friction between the sides of a shoe and a foot. Ingrown toenails and toe disorders are another common ailments caused by an improper fit.

PLantars Fasciitis, also known as policeman's feel, consists of stabbing heel pain caused by standing for an extended period of time (Wimbledon Clinics). If you suffer from this or another foot ailment, selecting a boot with deep heel cups  and forgiving midsoles is a good idea. When standing for long periods, your feet need a buffer to help absorb the shock of the hard ground and an ergonomic shape that supports the natural curve of your arches.

Deep heel cup

Additional Concerns

When considering the perilous job of most tactical boots, it's not unrealistic to explore every last detail before making a purchase. While we talked about several of the more obvious shoe features and their benefits, this section is reserved for the extremely detail-oriented consumer.

It is always a good idea to inspect the seams of a shoe, as they can often reveal the quality and precision of the manufacturer. Sloppy glue tracks and loose stitching are early warning signs that a boot is susceptible to damage. All parts of the boot should unite harmoniously. In other words, you shouldn't be able to disturb the connection between the uppers and outsole or the midsole and outsole.

Stitchdown for easy repair


Another sign of quality is stability. While a shoe should have some flexibility under the guidance of your foot, an unworn boot should be firm and unyielding. This demonstrates the competence of the rubber sole and any underlying metal or fiberglass shanks.

Online purchases are standard nowadays and require the same diligence of in-person procurement. Be wary of misleading reviews and look for military and police seals of approval. Many professions demand their uniform requirements undergo a strict vetting process, making sure only the most competent and reliable gear makes its way to operatives. To carry a label such as AR670-1 Compliant, tactical boots have to meet eight rigid standards(Soldier Systems).

Final Thoughts

Shopping for tactical shoes can seem somewhat overwhelming, but knowing what features to look for and what style of boot is right for you helps make the decision much easier. From multifaceted all-weather kicks to desert combat boots, make sure the boots you choose fit well, have a proven track record, and can withstand a significant beating.