LAST UPDATED: December 19, 2019
Best Military Boots: Tactical Yet Comfortable Footwear
These top military boots will protect your feet without sacrificing comfort
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON December 19, 2019
Even if you're not a member of the armed forces, you can benefit from a good pair of military boots. They are very versatile and hold up to hours of standing, walking, or running, whether you’re a member of law enforcement or an EMT. Combat boots are rugged and perform well in all types of weather conditions due to their durability, flexibility, and breathability. Check out some of the best military boots on the market in our buying guide.
These suede Gore-Tex boots from Garmont come with a rubber sole and are made of durable nylon webbing with metallic eyelets. They have a breathable footbed and an EVA insole.
The sole may split after a short period of use. The tongue may cause the boot to feel uncomfortable on some users. Also, they may not be true to size.
These 5.11 tactical boots are leather with 1200-denier Cordura nylon side panels and a synthetic sole. They have an antibacterial Drilex lining, triple stitching, and a hidden side pocket.
The ankle support could be better. They make crunching noises when you walk, and the soles squeak if they get wet. They may also fall apart within a short period of time.
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Benefits of Military Boots
- Safety. Military boots are built for hardship. They are specially designed to protect the wearer’s feet. Some have steel in the toe area and most are long enough to reduce the likelihood of leg sprains. These boots protect your legs from impact and other elements.
- Foot comfort. Combat boots are usually worn for long periods, so they are built for comfort. Your feet will be protected from rocks, sand, water (depending on the boots), and toe pinches that are common with ill-fitting shoes. Military boots have thick padding, ankle stability, good grip, and foot protection ideal for a rugged environment.
- Durability. Despite being workhorses, military boots are durable. You can use them in a variety of harsh terrains and they will maintain their structural integrity. They can hold up to daily use and perform well in extreme weather conditions.
- Versatility. One of the most underrated benefits of military boots is their versatility. If you are fashion-forward and want to make a bold style statement, you can pair military boots with casual wear. You can also wear the boots on outdoor excursions.
Types of Military Boots
These boots are meant for combat purposes. They have extra protection around the toe area, ankle support, and a firm grip. They are usually made from protective leather to keep the feet dry and stay durable in rugged areas. Within this category of boots, you will also find custom-made boots meant for specific combat areas. The materials used in each sub-category may be different.
Parade ground boots are usually more fashionable than functional and are normally worn during military parades. They are not as tough as combat boots. However, they require a high level of maintenance to adhere to parade ground and inspection standards. They look official and are typically lightweight to ensure the wearer stays comfortable. The material used to make these boots may not be as tough as that of tactical combat boots.
These boots are designed for tasks carried out by law enforcement professionals, military personnel, and security pros. They are categorized into different types and include jump boots, extreme weather boots, and tank boots. Jump boots are used for parachuting. They have calf-length lacing, wide soles, and rigid toe caps. Extreme weather boots are sub-categorized according to specific weather conditions. Tank boots were originally made without laces to prevent any snags in tanks. All these boots are usually labeled according to their functions.
Garmont was established in 1964 and has carved out a niche for itself as a provider of footwear for extreme conditions. Hiking enthusiasts and outdoor lovers rate the brand highly due to its commitment to innovative design. The company creates shoes that are stylish, functional and comfortable using anatomically directed design, GoreTex material, and Vibram soles. Garmont’s penchant for detail can be seen in boots such as the Garmont Extreme GTX Military Coyote Boot.
Royal Robbins, a pioneer of American rock climbing, launched California-based 5.11 Tactical in 2003. The company started as a clothing line but now produces head-to-toe apparel for law enforcement, tactical clothing, and tactical gear. It has also ventured into the fitness space and has a line of products for women. The company puts a lot of effort into making military boots, such as the 5.11 Tactical Fast-Tac Military Tactical Boot.
Danner was established in 1932 in Oregon with the aim of providing loggers with high-quality footwear. It has evolved a lot over the years but still produces products that are of high quality which showcase superior workmanship. The Danner Men’s Tachyon Coyote Military and Tactical Boot is a top choice for many men. Made from 100-percent waterproof leather, it is designed for harsh terrain.
English brand Magnum was founded in 1974. Its first shoe, the High-Tec Squash, was meant for squash. It wasn’t until 1982 that the company designed and produced the Hi-Tec Magnum Tactical Boot. The success of the boot played a big role in the company becoming what it is today. It’s now a leading supplier of NATO-approved military boots. The Magnum Stealth Force 8.0 Boot testifies its passion for quality.
Bates Footwear started as a small dress footwear business and went on to become a top footwear manufacturer for uniformed personnel. The company, which is located in Richmond, Indiana, manufactures boots and shoes for the police, the military, postal workers, and other uniformed personnel. The Bates Men's Tactical Sport Boot with a side zipper tells of the company’s craftsmanship.
Military Boots Pricing
- $50-$100: Some high-quality military boots sell for less than $100. In this range, you’ll find durable boots made from leather with detailed stitching that improves their durability.
- $100-$200: The military boots here have features that make them comfortable and resistant to impact and abrasion. Vibram soles, Dri-lex lining, and roll-stop ankle stability are all features of boots within this range. Belleville, Under Armour, and Reebok are some popular companies with boots in this price range.
- $200-$300: If you have more than $200 to spare, you can get military boots that are good enough for the Marine Corps. Their features include polyurethane coating, extra toe protection, and Gore-Tex lining. The boots in this price range might be heavier than other boots.
The material used to make military boots plays a major role in their durability and comfort. Since these boots are meant for tough conditions, they must be made with the best materials to withstand bad weather and harsh terrain. However, they must balance toughness and comfort. They must be tough on the outside and comfortable inside. Leather, Gore-Tex, and Nylon are popular materials for military boots.
The closure mechanism dictates the comfort level and fit of the boot. You have two choices: zipping or lacing. Zipping is more convenient; however, lacing makes sure you control the fit of the boot. You can always loosen the lacing if your boots are too tight. Choose a closure method that provides maximum comfort and sufficient ankle protection.
Traction helps in maintaining a firm grip on any terrain. Military boots have rubber soles that can withstand all sorts of terrain. Most manufacturers take this part of the boot seriously and use high-quality rubber that’s resistant to abrasion, hot sand, and slippery ground. Traction is usually determined by the tread design. To make sure you get the right boots, check the quality of the rubber by looking at the tread depth and folding the sole to see if it's flexible.
Body safety is a key consideration when buying military boots. Military personnel, and other people who buy these boots, are likely to experience a lot of impact and ankle rolls. That’s why it's so important to look for boots that have toe protection, high tops for ankle stability, and a good closure mechanism that prevents objects from getting in. Strong soles are a bonus.
Comfort has a lot to do with the weight and design of the military boot. A short trek in military boots may not have any adverse effects on you. However, go for a long expedition and you’ll start wishing you’d never left home. The best military boots have an ergonomic design and are not very heavy. They offer your feet protection while keeping you comfortable.
- Foot Size. While this seems like an obvious consideration, an ill-fitting military boot is uncomfortable and might even compromise your safety. Get boots that are a size larger for the best fit. Don’t get ones that are too big as your feet will move and may get sprained. The width of the foot also matters. Military boots have different widths for different sizes of feet.
- Boot Height. Military boots with high tops are more likely to protect your feet from injury. Ankle stability is vital in high-action areas or during intense activities such as hiking. High tops can help keep you stable. However, check whether the entire boot is waterproof and breathable.
Best Military Boots Reviews & Recommendations 2020
The Garmont T8 Bifida boots are highly rated for their superior quality and snug fit. They feature a unique design to keep your feet blister-free. Their interiors and Vibram soles offer your feet comfort and cause them to withstand shock and high impact. Despite their tough outer material, they are breathable and excellent at moisture-wicking. This feature complements their waterproof nature.
The suede boots have nylon webbing and metallic eyelets. Their rubber soles have a superb grip and their insoles effectively absorb sweat. The upper material is so good that the boots are able to withstand immersion in water. Should the leather get wet, it dries up quickly. The eyelets are sturdy and stay in place even if you strap the boots tightly. The boots are Army AR670-1 and USAF Multicam compliant.
The combat boots have shanks that diminish the load incurred by your feet and calves. However, at 1.7 pounds, they are bulky. The tongues may also cause the boots to be uncomfortably tight. You have to take good care of them to make sure the soles do not crack after a while. The size the manufacturer provides is also not accurate.
Featuring a classic black color, these ATAC 1.0 boots are built for style, tactical efficiency, and comfort. You are likely to see a pair gracing the feet of military personnel, police officers, and firefighters. The leather and fabric blend well to improve their aesthetics and durability.
One of the boots’ standout features is the antibacterial Dri-lex lining that makes sure your feet stay clean and odor-free even after long hours of use. The triple stitching is also top-notch and adds to their structural integrity. Cordura nylon side panels make the boots breathable and maintain proper aeration. The hidden side pocket will serve you well during conflicts.
The boots feel snug and comfortable. They have a heel-to-toe drop that reduces foot strain. Their depth ensures your heels rest as you walk. The zippers have large teeth and do not get stuck. They also make the boots easy to wear and remove. However, if you wear the shoes daily, the synthetic soles and rubber sidewalls will start to disintegrate. Wide-footed users may also find the boots a bit too tight.
For the longest time, Oakley has dominated the eyewear landscape. Its entry into the shoe industry was surprising, but gauging from the boot’s reception, it was the right move. The Light Assault Boots have uppers made from Cordura fabric for enhanced durability. The EVA midsole and rubber outsole help you to walk effortlessly on any terrain. The insoles evenly distribute weight, provide arch support, and absorb shock.
For added comfort, the boots’ outer material is breathable. They are flexible and lightweight, ideal for long-distance treks, rucks, or marches. The laces are made from braided nylon that increases their longevity. Carbon rubber, a highly durable material that withstands a lot of rough treatment, is used to make the boots .
However, the ankle supports need some improvement. In addition, Oakley should consider redesigning the boots, as they tend to wear out after a short period of use. They also make crunching noises and squeak when wet.
- Choosing the right size is essential. First, make sure your toes have some wiggle room. If you can curl your toes a little bit, then the boots are the proper size.
- While military boots should fit snugly, they should not be tight. The heels should stay firmly in place. If they slide around, the boots are too big.
- Clean your boots frequently. Use a cleaning doormat to remove dirt and debris from the underside. Also, wipe down the boots with a dry cloth and remove stubborn grime with a toothbrush.
Q: What are hot-weather combat boots?
A: They are usually lighter weight. Many also have drain holes and ventilation so your feet stay dry. They do not have a waterproof lining, which most temperate-weather boots include.
Q: What does it mean if boots are Berry compliant?
A: Boots that are Berry compliant are made in the United States and are high-quality.
Q: What brand boot does the military use?
A: The military does not have a standard-issue boot as several manufacturers provide boots to the U.S. armed forces. However, they are all Berry compliant or AR670 compliant.
Our pick for the best military boots is the Garmont T8 Bifida Tactical Boot. The Garmonts are breathable, slip-resistant, lightweight, and comfortable.
For a more budget-friendly option, consider the 5.11 Tactical Men's ATAC 1.0 Waterproof Military Storm Boots.