Tactical boots have long been used in the military to protect soldier’s feet in a wide variety of harsh conditions. Today, anyone can buy a pair of tactical boots. This is great news if you need boots that function for more than basic protection when walking around on a dirty job site, although many styles can serve this purpose effectively, too.
There are some notable differences that set the best tactical boots apart from regular hiking, hunting, and work boots. Tactical boots are often made from synthetic materials, rather than genuine leather. These materials are not inferior to leather, though. Modern technology allows the production of materials that provide superior sweat wicking, comfort, and waterproofing.
Tactical boots can take you from wet and muddy terrain to rocky mountains, and anywhere in between. The lacing systems of the best tactical boots are often more involved than traditional lace-up boots, allowing a tighter, customized fit. Many styles have full length zippers on the side of the shaft, making it easier to take the boots off and put them on. Tactical boots offer superior slip resistance and foot and ankle support to easily adapt to the demands of any condition.
Whether you are active in the military and want to upgrade your standard issue pair of tactical boots, or you are looking for an alternative to boots you use for yard work, construction, hiking, hunting, on a motorcycle, or anything else, this article will help you choose the best tactical boots for your individual needs.
1. Smith & Wesson Men’s Breach 2.0 Tactical Side Zip Boots
The Smith & Wesson Breach 2.0 Tactical Boot offers comfort and style at an affordable price. These boots lace up over the ankle for support, but can be quickly put on and taken off with a full length instep zipper.
They are constructed from leather and nylon, to protect your feet from water while maintaining comfort. The tongue of the boot is gusseted to keep debris and water from getting in through the laces. The outsole is made of rubber, which has a innovative tread pattern to maintain traction on a variety of objects, including waxed, metal, and dirt-covered surfaces. Board-lasted construction prevents foot fatigue, in tandem with an EVA midsole with steel shank.
These tactical boots come in a smooth black or suede coyote color. The finish of the smooth black leather toes may wear off quickly, so for the best tactical boots you will want to consider purchasing these in coyote. Overall, the comfort of this boot makes it a great buy for the price.
2. Under Armour Men’s Valsetz Rts Military and Tactical Boot
This lightweight tactical boot is made for people on the move. Constructed from synthetic leather and textile, Under Armour’s Storm technology repels water while providing superior breathability. A TPU toe cap protects toes from heavy impacts. Abrasion resistant film is welded around the perimeter of the foot for durability.
The shaft of the boot is cut lower than the other tactical boots on this list for a wider range of mobility in the ankle. The support lost with with the lower shaft is made up for with Under Amour’s ClutchFit technology, hugging your ankle closely like a second skin.
A lightweight TPU shank supports the midfoot, for rigidity that doesn’t weigh you down. A molded Ortholite sock liner with memory foam helps prevent foot fatigue.
The outsole is slip resistant rubber. Full length Micro G foam allows you to land comfortably, and propel upward explosively, for a truly tactical advantage.
Available in black, reaper camo, coyote brown, and desert sand, this boot can suit your style. The Valsetz Rts Military and Tactical Boots by Under Armour and the best tactical boots for athletically demanding adventures.
3. Original S.W.A.T. Men’s Metro Air 9-Inch Side Zip Tactical Boot
The Original S.W.A.T. Metro Air Tactical Boot is pricier, but the quality is hard to beat. The boots have been heavily tested over many years in the field by professionals, for excellent performance.
Ideal for urban jungle settings, such as airports and correctional facilities, the boot is lightweight and free of metal materials. You can pass through metal detectors without any problems in these boots.
The heel of the outsole has a cushioning air pocket to absorb shock, and a nylon shank adds even more support. The midsole is molded phylon EVA that cradles the foot for support and comfort. The outsole is made of slip resistant rubber.
The boot laces up above the ankle, but a side zipper allows the boot to be put on and taken off easily. The boot’s upper is composed of nylon and genuine leather. Available only in black, the leather toe and heel of this boot can be polished, making it the best tactical boot for professionals.
4. Magnum Men’s Response II 8-Inch Boot
When you need to respond quickly, the Magnum Response II 8.0 EMS Boots have all the features you need for confident action. The deep tread of the rubber slip and oil resistant outsoles provide excellent traction on a wide range of surfaces in all conditions.
The lightweight full-grain leather and nylon uppers offer great stability, because they are designed with a bluecher lacing system that you can adjust for the perfect fit. The collar and the tongue feature extra padding for superior comfort against the leg.
Nylon mesh inlays allow the feet to breath, while a contoured insole keeps them comfortable. The midsole contains a steel shank for rugged support. These boots come in desert tan or black, and are an affordable and durable option.
5. Bates Men’s 8-Inch Tactical Sport Side Zip Military Boot
If you need a boot that can withstand heavy use in any condition, the Bates Tactical Sport Military Boot is the best tactical boot for you. These boots are durable and weatherproof. They can be worn comfortably in the heat and in snow.
The treads of the oil and slip resistant rubber outsole provide superior traction, even on gravel. The upper is mostly leather, with some nylon areas for breathability. They lace up above the ankle to support you, while a side zipper allows you to easily put them on and remove them.
These lightweight boots can be worn comfortably all day long, thanks to an cushioned EVA midsole, mesh moisture wicking lining, and removable comfort footbed. These boots are reasonably priced, and look great in black or coyote. A great option for work, recreation, and every day wear.
6. Belleville TR960ZWP KHYBER Lightweight Waterproof Side Zip Tactical Boot
If you spend a lot of time outdoors on rough terrain, the Belleville TR960ZWP Khyber Tactical Boot has everything you need to perform under the most trying conditions.
They feature petroleum, oil, and lubricant resistant Vibram soles, originally used in mountaineering footwear to replace leather soles with steel cleats. With tread that extends over the toe of the boot, you will get unbeatable traction in even the slipperiest conditions.
Truly waterproof, a Gore-Tex bootie lines the inside of the boot, maintaining a comfortable temperature and allowing the foot to stay dry and breath at the same time.
The laces come down to the toes and go up above the ankle of the leather and nylon shaft, so you can control the fit. A side zipper lets you quickly take the boot off and helps you get it on.
Beyond the traction and lacing systems, further support comes from the field grade molded heel counter that locks the heel safely into position. On top of it all, unbeatable comfort is provided by the overlasted EVA midsole that absorbs and dissipates shock and stress on the foot, along with a TR-1 high performance insert that supports the arch all day long.
These boots come in black and are perfect for hiking, hunting, and serving in the mountains and other treacherous terrain. You can’t beat the mid-range price for the high quality you get, making these truly some of the best tactical boots.
7. Maelstrom Men’s Tac Force Military Tactical Work Boots
The cheapest boot on this list still offers a full range of desirable features, and every purchase supports the Boot Campaign to help veterans and military families.
Maelstrom’s Tac Force Military Tactical Work Boots come in black or tan nylon and leather uppers. The full-grain leather can be shined for a professional presentation, important in law enforcement, security, and military jobs. The rubber sole is durable and provides traction on all terrain, although it is not recommended for surfaces exposed to oils, such as the floors of restaurants.
The EVA midsole has a nylon shank that absorbs shock and returns energy back to the foot to help prevent foot fatigue. A removable padded insert provides further shock absorption and comfort. The boot is lined with moisture wicking fabric that helps the foot breath.
The boots lace up just above the ankle, with comforting tongue and collar padding, and have a very sturdy zipper for easy take off and put on. This is the best tactical boot for walking long distances.
8. 5.11 Tactical ATAC Men’s 8-Inch Leather Jungle Combat Military Coyote Boots, Style 12110
A true combat boot, the 5.11 Tactical ATAC Leather Jungle Combat Military Coyote Boots, Style 12110 are built to American military standards without imitation materials, for quality and safety.
Genuine leather lends durability to these rugged boots, for years of wear. The high cut of the shaft allow the laces to be tightened above and around the ankle for supportive protection, with an easy on/off zipper on the side. These boots provide ultimate breathability with a mesh tongue, in addition to other areas of mesh around the shaft, for maximum air flow.
The rubber outsole is slip and oil resistant, with deep treads for gripping a wide variety of surfaces. The full length dual density insole features Ortholite X25 foam on the bottom for cushioning rebound, and a top layer of Ortholite Lazy Recovery foam that conforms to your feet, for all-day comfort.
Both colors, black or coyote brown, have a hidden knife pocket, making these affordable boots your ally, whether you are battling the elements, or fighting a war.
9. Thorogood Men’s 8-Inch Side Zip Jump Boot Gen-Flex
Thorogood is a trusted brand in boots of every variety, and the same goes for their tactical boots, which are made in the USA. These are the most expensive boots on the list, but the quality is a match.
For starters, the boot’s upper is 100 percent genuine, oil-tanned leather, with a high shine toe cap and heel counter for a luxurious appearance. There is no nylon or other textiles on the exterior of the boot’s upper, providing you with unmatched durability, along with Goodyear storm welt construction.
The rubber outsole is non-marking and slip resistant. The compression molded EVA midsole has a gel heel insert and a nylon shank for shock absorption, coupled with an EVA cushion flex footbed for lasting comfort.
The spacer mesh lining provides excellent breathability. The shaft of the boot laces up ankle high and features a side entry zipper to get the boots on and off without having to fuss with the laces every time.
The Thorogood Gen-Flex Jump Boot is a hard working boot for hard workers, available in black.
10. Danner Men’s Lookout Side Zip 8-Inch Black Military and Tactical Boot
The Danner’s Lookout Military and Tactical Boot durability, comfort, and support that is considered best-in-class, thanks to the new Danner comfort system, at a mid-range price. Danner is another trusted brand that has been known for the durability and the support of their footwear, and now Danner raises the bar delivering superior comfort.
The upper is constructed from polishable, full-grain leather, and rip stop ballistic nylon, available only in black. The rubber outsole is slip resistant and delivers quality traction.
The boot is waterproof, and it is also lined with a waterproof Danner dry liner that wicks moisture away from the foot to keep it dry in any weather condition.
A patent-pending dual density footbed allows maximum ventilation underneath the foot, and comfortable cushioning, all in one. A molded “Airthotic” instep cups the heel and supports the arch, for outstanding stability. The shaft of the boot laces up to the ankle for extra support, with an easy access side zipper for quicker put on and take off.
A wider toe box aids in the alleviation of the break in process some styles of Danner are known for. The Danner Lookout Boot, however, is one of the best tactical boots, thanks to its’ thoughtful features and comfort right out of the box and beyond.
Buyer’s Guide for the Best Tactical Boots
The best tactical boots will have all of the following features for protecting your feet in demanding conditions and response situations, and will hold up despite the heavy demands placed on them by service members, law enforcement officers, hunters, hikers, explorers, and every one in between. The best tactile boots provide comfort, support, durability, as well as weatherproofing and safety features.
Tactical boots are worn in places that can have unpredictable weather, or weather that is predictably harsh. If you are trying to buy a pair of tactical boots, chances are you are planning to deal with sand, rain, snow, mud, or all of the above.
The best tactical boots will be completely waterproof. These boots often have waterproof uppers with additional waterproof liners inside, which keep water from getting in, and wick away sweat, so your feet stay completely dry, comfortable, and healthy. Further, waterproof boots can be easily cleaned without worrying about water getting inside and causing unpleasant odors to develop.
Gusseted tongues can help to keep water and other debris out. This is especially important if you are dealing with sandy terrain. The material that the boot is constructed from should further protect from the heat of sand and sun.
Most people who wear tactical boots are on their feet all day, or all night, long. Walking great distances, either indoors or outdoors make comfort a top priority in the best tactical boots.
Anti-fatigue technology found in many tactical boots returns energy to the feet to keep them from feeling tired during lengthy treks. Look for EVA midsoles that contain a nylon or steel shank for shock absorption and comfort, with excellent rebound, great when running and jumping are required.
Insoles have a variety of features, including memory foam, arch support, and ventilation, to keep your feet feel physically comfortable and comfortably cool when on the move. Many have an orthotic design for lasting comfort, day after day.
Extra padding along a boot’s tongue and collar can give a better feeling against the leg of high cut boot shafts. Advanced lacing systems allow you to control how snug you want your boots, for a comfortable fit.
When you need to respond quickly, you need great support, otherwise someone else will need to respond to you and your broken ankle. The best tactical boots will deliver the best possible support.
High cut boots that come up over the ankle can be tightened with laces to hug the ankle and foot for ultimate support. Many styles have a side zipper so you can get the boots on and off quickly without having to struggle with the laces after you’ve tied them to your perfect, supportive fit.
The heel counter of some boots acts to lock the heel into position for protection from the rolling and twisting that can cause injury. Arch support is also important so that the foot doesn’t fatigue, causing you to have poorer control of your foot muscles.
The best tactical boots should last through intense, repeated use in harsh conditions. When you’re stuck in the jungle, or up on a mountain, you can’t just run out a buy a new pair of boots when yours gets a hole or comes apart.
Genuine leather is known to be highly durable and can withstand subjection to harsh conditions over the years. Full leather uppers should last you, but many tactical boots are made of mixed materials, for breathability and lighter weight. If textiles are used in the boots you select, make sure that they are durable. Look for ballistic nylons that feature waterproofing.
The construction of the boot should be expertly crafted. Goodyear storm welt technology can help keep boots from coming apart. Some outsoles and other boot materials are treated to be abrasion resistant, for lasting durability.
Safety must be a component of the best tactical boots, no questions asked. One of the main safety features of tactical boots is built into the foundation.
Rubber soles not only provide electrical hazard protection, the are also slip resistant. Rubber soles can also be treated to be oil resistant. Soles that are petroleum, oil, and lubricant resistant will provide traction on the slipperiest surfaces. Thick treads with innovative patterns will grip, even on gravel.
If you need added protection, metal or composite toe caps can deliver it.