what are tactical boots

These days you can find “tactical versions” of most survival gear on the market today. For example, there is:

Tactical Backpacks/Tactical Watches/Tactical Plate Carriers/Tactical Pants/Tactical Pens/Tactical Flashlights/Tactical Knives

But when people hear the term “tactical boot” or “combat boot” or even “military boot” they immediately think of the bare bones army surplus of the 1960s. These boots were the footwear of thousands of soldiers overseas for decades.

what are tactical boots

But advancements in materials, construction and design improve today’s tactical boot.

Today, a quality tactical boot gives you uncompromising support, protection and stability.

For example, lighter materials and more comfortable insoles reduce fatigue. Because weight reduction allows you to maintain a healthy pace throughout a long day on your feet.

Plus, slip-resistant soles, waterproof linings, and quick-drying uppers add to the capability.

Making ideal tactical boots for the most demanding conditions in the most unforgiving situations.

But after a long day on foot, you’ll appreciate the engineering that went into these modern versions.

Why Wear Tactical Boots

Tactical boots are still a mainstay of armed forces and law enforcement around the world.

These jobs require both physical stamina and agility. So they need a pair of boots to withstand long days on patrol and be ready for a run.

Why Wear Tactical Boots

But now people beyond the military and law enforcement are wearing tactical boots. Much of society now wears tactical boots to protect their feet while on the move, such as:

  • Mail carriers
  • UPS Drivers
  • First Responders
  • Backpackers
  • Hikers
  • Motorcyclist
  • survivors
  • Etc.

Even many members of the construction team down the block also use tactical boots.

Because they love the stability a tactical boot provides on uneven construction terrain. And the addition of a steel rod adds a layer of protection against stepping on a nail.

Hunting guides, adventure outfitters, and hikers all turn to tactical boots for tough conditions.

Do any of these situations come to mind when you think about your daily life – or your emergency plans?

If so, it’s time for you to consider a pair of tactical boots as well.

Key features to look for in a quality tactical boot

With so many tactical boots on the market today, how can you choose the best tactical boots for you?

Now, with the advantage of having a wide choice, it is a real challenge.

The challenge of sorting through all the options to find the best tactical boots for YOU.

That’s why we’re going to cover the important features to look for to help narrow the field.

General quality

In the end, you get what you pay for in most situations – and boots are no different.

If you are interested in higher quality tactical boots, expect to pay a bit more for them.

But know that you can count on this quality to reduce costs in the long run.

In other words, the calculations work better with the more expensive boot.

For instance:

You may have to choose between a ~$100 boot that will last a single season and a ~$350 boot that will last at least five years.

Now, some people argue that buying new, inexpensive boots allows them to adapt to changes more quickly. But in the long run they will spend a lot more on boots than I have in the last 20 years.

Sharp stitches, higher quality materials and general attention to detail all count here. These are all signs that a manufacturer took the time to do their best and didn’t cut corners.

These small details distinguish high-quality boots from others.

Designed use

You should always ask, “Who is this boot made for?” »

An ultralight tactical boot is not ideal for the same scenarios as a tactical patrol boot.

For example, breathable desert boots won’t keep you warm and dry in a snowy swamp. But the insulated, waterproof ones won’t keep you dry in a desert wasteland either.

So be sure to choose the right tool for the job.

There are tactical boots for men and tactical boots for women. There are also very sturdy boots for stability versus soft boots for agility.

Superior Materials

The “upper” is the outer material of the upper part of the shoe – all above the sole.

There are many material choices for tactical boot rods. The upper can range from full-grain leather to synthetic materials.

Superior Materials

Heck, some boots even use a mix of various materials in their uppers.

For example, breathable synthetic fabrics and durable leather are a popular combination today.

Why? Because this combo offers both excellent ventilation and high abrasion resistance.

In general, leather boots are more expensive.

This increased cost is due to material costs and the skills needed to work the leather. But the extra expense translates into a more durable, abrasion-resistant, and waterproof boot.

Unfortunately, leather uppers are also more substantial and much less breathable than most synthetics.

This is why synthetic materials are an excellent choice when breathability, weight and quick drying are necessary characteristics. But the sacrifice of durability is an important factor to consider.

Lining material

The “liner” is the inner material of the shoe (essentially everything inside the shell).

This area includes all insulation, waterproof membrane and the interior surface.

When choosing a siding, you need to consider the intended use and whether you “really” need these options.

Insulation, waterproof membranes and moisture-wicking materials will add cost and weight to your boots. But these features can be worth their weight in gold if you find yourself in certain situations.

Sole materials

The “sole” is the last major component of the shoe – it’s the actual surface you walk on.

In this case, the sole includes both the midsole and the outsole.

The midsole is the cushioned insole inside the boot. This is the main feature that determines your comfort when wearing them.

Many boots use EVA or polyurethane foam in the midsole.

EVA foam is lighter and softer to the touch, bouncing back after every step. However, it eventually stops bouncing.

Leaving you with that flat, “packed” feeling in your boots.

In contrast, polyurethane foam is denser, making it more substantial and a little stiffer at first. In this case, the denser foam retains its shape much longer, giving your boots a better lifespan.

The outsole of most tactical boots uses either natural or synthetic rubber.

The outsole lug pattern provides traction and resistance to chafing.

This rubber composition can be adjusted for different scenarios.

For example, oil- or slip-resistant materials are prevalent. So are non-marking features, or even “grippy” materials for climbing bare rock.

Composite/steel toe

A toe cap is not always available in all boot models. But if you wear tactical boots for work, it may be a requirement.

Look for a composite cap instead of a steel one – it offers the same protection but isn’t as cold in the winter.

Also, if you drop something heavy enough to bend a steel cap, it STAYS bent – ​​possibly trapping your toes.

Water resistance

There are many materials on the market that claim to be “waterproof”. But watertightness is more a function of submersion and time. For example, no boot is waterproof if you decide to swim in it.

Walking all day in waterproof boots can leave your feet as wet as regular boots. Why? Because if your feet sweat, your socks will trap the moisture.

Water and water resistant materials will help in many situations. But be sure to wear breathable, absorbent socks and change them frequently.

Switching to cool, dry socks is a necessary tactic if you want any chance of maintaining dry, comfortable feet at the end of the day.

Zippers / laces

Many people prefer a tactical boot with a zipper. Heck, there are even lace-up zippers to modernize zipperless boots!

To open and close the zippered boots, you unzip a side zipper and slip them on or off without touching the laces.

This zippered shortcut makes it faster and reduces lace wear. It also allows you to fine-tune lace adjustments without having to redo them each time you put your boots on.

Whether you choose a zippered model or not is a matter of personal preference. But it’s a pretty common feature with tactical boots, even if you don’t use them yourself.

Boot height/width

Tactical boots are available in a wide range of height and width.

The choice of boot height mainly depends on how you intend to use the boots.

Taller boots provide more stability and protection against bruising or rolling an ankle.

Lower boots provide more agility and are easier to put on.

The width of the shoe is more determined by the shape of your foot.

Those with a wider foot will feel pinched in a narrow or standard-width boot. But narrow feet will slip into a wide boot, causing chafing and blistering.

Arch support

For a long day on your feet, you need support.

Even without flat feet, arch support is crucial for anyone who stands, walks or runs for long periods of time.

If you’re carrying a heavy pack, arch support is even more crucial.

The main thing is:

Look for boots with excellent arch support. And consider purchasing replacement insoles to fine-tune fit and comfort.


The last – but probably among the most important – is the overall weight.

In backpacking, we often say:

“An ounce of your feet is like a pound of your back. »

After 35 years of backpacking, backpacking and mountaineering, I think that’s an understatement.

Lighter boots leave you with more energy, less fatigue and MUCH less pain. More than cutting weight just about anywhere else.

Of course, lightweight boots don’t have the same durability ratings as heavier boots.

But advanced materials often have high durability AND are lighter than traditional materials.

So there is a compelling argument to reduce weight by buying better quality boots. Those made with more advanced materials.

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