Tactical boots are a must-have item for military service members, law enforcement professionals, and many other individuals with a challenging job. While some agencies issue footwear, others will give you a boot allowance and let you select your tactical footwear yourself.
The military footwear market has been growing at a fast pace, thanks to the high demand for performing boots and new innovations. This market is expected to grow by 10% from 2018 to 2025!
Tactical boots are ideal in any situation where you need protective footwear that allows you to be quick on your feet. The issue of most protective boots is that their weight and stiff construction can slow you down and cause fatigue at the end of a long workday. Tactical boots are the perfect alternative thanks to their lightweight design and comfortable fit.
We have compared different tactical boots to help you choose the right footwear for your job. We selected boots suitable for different settings, like law enforcement or private security. Some of the boots we reviewed are also suitable for outdoor activities like hiking if you want a protective and lightweight alternative to traditional hiking boots.
Our Top Picks
- Best Athletic Tactical Boots: Under Armour Men’s Valsetz Military & Tactical Boot
- Best Outdoor Tactical Footwear: Free Soldier Outdoor Men’s Tactical Military Combat Ankle Boots
- Best Value: Smith & Wesson Men’s Breach 2.0 Tactical Side Zip Boots
Keep reading if you want more detailed reviews and a wider range of options to consider.
What to Consider When Shopping for Tactical Boots
There are a few things to ask yourself before you start looking at tactical boots.
Do Technological Innovations Matter?
Military and tactical footwear has come a long day. In the early days, military boots were primarily designed with cost-effectiveness and durability in mind.
Over the years, it became obvious that soldiers needed lightweight and flexible footwear that would perform well in extreme conditions.
Manufacturers have developed materials that reduce the weight of the boots while delivering optimal protection. You can find flexible boots that feel supportive without restricting your speed or range of movements. Some boots are also designed so that you can perform combative moves with them.
A recent study looked at injuries sustained during PT. The study found that there were no differences in the rate of injuries sustained when soldiers wore military boots and running shoes. This study proves that modern tactical footwear is suitable for a wide range of physical activities and provides the right amount of comfort and support.
You can find commercial tactical boots that match footwear issued by the military in terms of quality and performance. In fact, some commercial tactical boots are superior to the footwear issued by the military.
A survey found that nearly half of US military personnel would rather wear commercial tactical boots instead of their standard-issue boots. The soldiers explained that commercial boots were lighter and more flexible.
There is no need to spend significantly more on tactical footwear because a manufacturer offers a patented feature or proprietary material. However, keep in mind that opting for a lightweight design or innovative materials can make a difference, especially if the weight of your boots can help reduce fatigue during your workday.
What Are the Most Important Features to Consider?
The features you should look for depend on the unique requirements of your job. There are a few questions to ask yourself before choosing tactical boots:
- How active are you during the day?
- Are you on your feet all day?
- What kind of weather and temperature can you typically expect?
- Are you likely to need to run? Is speed important?
- How much protection do you need? What kind of injuries are you at risk for?
- What kind of ground do you stand on most of the time?
If you need to wear tactical boots year-round, we recommend investing in at least two pairs of boots. The Army currently issues eight different boots suitable for different climates and environments. Some footwear is lighter and more breathable for hot weather, while some boots are suitable for icy conditions.
It’s best to have two or three pairs of tactical boots for different conditions. You should have a lightweight pair of boots for the summertime, a pair of waterproof boots for rainy conditions, and some boots suitable for snow and cold temperatures if you need to be outside during the winter months.
What Makes a Great Pair of Tactical Boots?
Weight is an essential consideration when choosing tactical footwear. Lightweight materials will reduce fatigue and improve your speed if you need to run or perform other physical tasks.
Flexibility and support come next. Ideally, you should be able to lace up the boots to cover your ankles, but the boots shouldn’t restrict your movements. Pay attention to the materials and construction to get an idea of how flexible and supportive the boots will feel.
Find out more about the different materials used. Look for a mix of durability and breathability. The materials should be protective and suitable for the climate you can expect.
Slip-resistant soles are a must-have feature. They will help you maintain balance and prevent injuries on wet ground and other conditions.
Inspect the upper of the boots. Is it a single piece or several panels? Does the stitching look durable? The size and shape of the upper matter if you need to perform some combative moves, and it’s also essential to choose an upper made from a material that can prevent perforation.
The construction of the soles matters. Soles should be protective, comfortable, and performing. A soft and comfortable insole will reduce fatigue, and a thick sole will insulate you from the ground and absorb shocks. A built-in shank or shield can protect you on rocky terrain and prevent objects from perforating the boot.
We highly recommend investing in tactical boots that feature a toe cap. You can find boots with steel, composite, or even plastic toe caps that will protect you from objects falling or rolling on your foot. Steel toe cap can withstand more pressure, but other materials are lighter.
Some boots have a toe rand or bumper. You can find boots with a rubber sole that extends over the toe box, while other boots have a separate rubber panel that acts as a toe bumper. It’s a feature that absorbs shocks and keeps you comfortable when running.
The lugs and sole design should improve your stability and traction. Look for wide and deep lugs if you want to wear the boots outdoors.
Noise might be a factor to consider if your job requires you to go undetected. Look for rubber soles with plenty of cushioning so you can run without making a lot of noise.
If you are shopping for work, your employer or agency will probably give you a list of requirements or things to avoid. Go over them carefully before choosing your new tactical boots!
Tactical Boots Reviews
These are different options we think you should consider now that you know more about the top features to look for.
These trustworthy military boots use a mix of leather, fabric, and 1200-denier nylon to construct a sturdy upper. The boots deliver the perfect mix of support and comfort with their padded shaft. The triple stitching makes the boots durable and reliable.
You can ensure a tight fit with the seven eyelets, and wear the boots all day long without any discomfort thanks to the soft collar and tongue. You can use the side zipper to remove them quickly. The manufacturer uses a waterproof treatment to seal the shoes.
The product features an anti-bacterial lining that makes the boots easy to clean. The wide toe box is ideal if you are on your feet all day or need mobility.
There is a convenient side pocket you can use to hide cash and other essentials. The anti-slip synthetic sole has a deep lug pattern and a supportive arch that delivers traction and stability.
The toe bumper grip is a feature that helps you get up quickly from a prone position by improving traction. It’s also a feature that will come in handy if you use the product for hiking or climbing.
- Triple stitching
- Wide toe box
- Padded tongue and collar
- Anti-slip soles
- Not ideal for hot weather
- Fabric panels might let some water in
- Fabric panels reduce protection
These Under Armour tactical boots deliver an excellent mix of comfort and performance thanks to their lightweight construction. We like the protective leather panels and breathable fabric elements.
The boots have plenty of padding, and the insole feels soft and comfortable. You can customize the fit by using the four hooks along the collar of the boots.
The 1.5-heel feels slightly elevated and helps you improve your posture. The elevated heel can relieve fatigue and back pain if you need to be on your feet all day, and it can also promote better posture when you run.
The high-top design feels supportive, but the shaft is not as high as what other manufacturers offer. This feature makes the shoes suitable for warm days or tasks that require you to retain a wider range of motion.
The athletic design of these boots makes them versatile. The geometrical pattern of the lugs provides optimal traction on hard or muddy ground, and the protective synthetic panels prevent injuries in the toe and side areas.
- High-top design
- 5-inch heel elevation
- Athletic fit
- Synthetic leather construction
- Textile panels don’t protect you from puncture
- Less supportive than boots with a higher shaft
- Other boots hade larger lugs
The wide toe box and roomy design of these boots are perfect for outdoor activities and demanding jobs. The additional padding keeps you warm, and the wide fit is perfect if you need to wear thick socks. We think these tactical boots would be an excellent choice if you have to work outside during the winter or live in an area with damp weather.
We like the reinforced soles and heel. The 6-inch shaft helps with support and fatigue, and the soles provide optimal arch support. The outsole grip is a noteworthy feature since it can make a difference when you run, hike, or climb.
The platform soles can insulate you from rocky terrain or cold ground. The sturdy upper makes the shoes durable, and the breathable side panels enhance your mobility.
The boots feature a composite toe that will protect you from falling or rolling objects, making the boots ideal if you are shopping for safety footwear.
- Roomy fit
- Additional padding
- Reinforced soles and heel
- Composite toe
- Boots can feel bulky
- Side panels aren’t waterproof
- Uses double stitching while some boots use triple stitching
These shoes are an athletic take on the tactical boot design. They’re perfect if you want lightweight shoes you can wear to run or if you need to be quick on your feet.
The upper construction features a wide protective surface with some breathable side panels that reduce the weight of the shoe. We like the supportive shaft and collar, and the three hooks will help you adjust the lace closure system for a comfortable fit. There is a side zipper you can use to save time.
The 900-denier nylon and leather construction creates a lightweight and comfortable shoe. The manufacturer uses a water-repellant treatment to make the shoes waterproof. The shoes have the right amount of padding for comfort without making them bulky.
The boots have a shallow lug pattern compared to other products, but they feature more lugs with a smaller design. It’s an ideal lug pattern if you need traction and speed on hard surfaces like pavement. The design of the soles is also ideal if you want to reduce noise.
- Athletic fit
- Lightweight tactical boots
- Excellent value
- Lug pattern is ideal for hard surfaces
- Not suitable for muddy surfaces
- Not suitable for cold weather
- Limited protection
The wide and sturdy fit of these tactical boots will improve your footing and balance in a wide range of challenging situations. The construction remains flexible thanks to the use of small textile and leather panels on the upper.
You can secure the boots with the four eyelets and three hooks. The 1.37-inch heel elevation provides the perfect support and will help you adopt a stronger posture.
The deep lugs of the outsoles are ideal if you need boots you can wear outdoors. The soles feature textured lugs on the sides to improve your grip and traction on different surfaces. The boots are suitable for hiking and climbing thanks to the sturdy lug pattern.
They are slip, oil, and abrasion-resistant, and the sturdy construction makes the boots protective. The 6-inch shaft is slightly lower in the back to avoid restricting your movements.
The shoes feature cushioned insoles and a breathable lining with moisture wicking that will keep you dry. You can choose between black and brown, and you can also get these boots with a suede finish if you don’t like the classic leather look.
- Wide design improves stability
- Deep and textured lugs
- Cushioned insole
- Flexible design
- Suede finish requires more maintenance
- Not waterproof
- Limited toe protection
These full-grain leather boots are one of the best options available if you want reliable and durable footwear. We highly recommend these ankle boots because their durable upper and reinforced soles are virtually indestructible.
These shoes are versatile. They have a sturdy construction that makes them suitable for hiking and other outdoor activities. You can wear them for a job that requires tactical footwear thanks to their protective upper, and you can also use these boots for working in an industrial setting.
The EVA footbed provides you with comfort and reduces fatigue. There is plenty of padding, and the roomy design of the boots makes them ideal if you have to be on your feet most of the day or need to walk for long distances. The waterproof construction and limited use of stitching make the boots ideal if your job is physically demanding.
The rubber sole features deep lugs that increase stability and traction on any surface. There is a rubber toe bumper that delivers additional protection and reduces wear-and-tear on that part of the shoe. You will find two small textile panels on the sides of the shoe. These panels improve the flexibility of the shoe and make the boots less restrictive.
The small heel elevation is a feature that will reduce fatigue and help you improve your posture when you walk, run, or lift heavy objects.
There are six color options to choose from, which is more than what most tactical boot manufacturers offer.
- Roomy design
- Reinforced sole
- Comfortable EVA footbed
- Sturdy and reliable product
- Lack of breathability
- Limited ankle support
- Design can feel clunky
We like these tactical boots because they have features of protective footwear and characteristics of athletic shows. The leather and nylon construction create a protective upper with breathable side panels. The smart design of the boots protects vulnerable areas like your heel or the top of the shoe, but the manufacturer didn’t sacrifice flexibility or breathability.
You will find that the boots deliver a comfortable fit, thanks to their EVA midsole and padded collar. There is enough padding to make the boots comfortable for all-day wear, but the padding won’t add any weight to the shoes.
The rubber outsoles have indented lugs designed to improve speed and traction. The lugs might not be deep enough for outdoor areas with mud, but they are perfect for hard surfaces. You will find wide lugs on the sides of the sole that make the boots more responsive when you perform quick movements.
The boots have a built-in steel shank that prevents perforation, and the torsional rigidity of the shaft will help reduce fatigue if you need to be on your feet for long hours.
The nine eyelets allow you to lace the boots all the way up for a comfortable and supportive fit. There is a size zipper you can use to put on and remove the shoes quickly.
Overall, these boots are a wide choice with their sturdy construction, protective features, and lightweight feel!
- Excellent value
- Choose from two colors
- Athletic and lightweight feel
- Built-in steel shank
- You might prefer a lower shaft
- Limited padding
- Limited protection on the sides
These synthetic boots from Reebok feature a roomy design and a wide toe box. The 1.25-inch platform sole provides sufficient insulation from cold or hard surfaces, and will also protect you from electrical hazards.
The boots have reinforced panels on the side of the soles. These panels increase durability and reduce the risks of perforation. There is a composite toe cap that will protect your feet from crushing injuries, and the boots meet the ASTM F2413 testing standards for safety footwear.
The 7.5-inch shaft delivers a supportive fit, and the back of the shaft is slightly lower than the sides to ensure good posture and avoid restricting your movements.
You can use the eight eyelets to adjust the fit, and there is a side zipper to help you save time.
The sole design is what makes these boots a comfortable and versatile choice. The soles provide excellent arch support, and the multi-directional lug pattern improves the feel and responsiveness of the boots.
- Excellent option if you need safety footwear
- Platform sole
- Multi-directional lugs
- Supportive feel reduces fatigue
- Limited padding
- The suede finish requires more maintenance
- You might prefer boots with a lower shaft
We recommend these hiking boots if you’re looking for a lightweight and durable option. The rugged design makes the boots a durable investment.
We like the mix of comfort and durability. The shoes have a lug pattern with deep indentations designed to help you navigate outdoor environments, but it provides excellent traction on any surface.
You will find additional padding on the tongue and sides of the collar for comfort and to promote a healthy ankle posture. The shoes use lightweight materials to keep the padding and cushioning breathable.
This product delivers ideal arch support if you’re on your feet all day. The rubber anti-slip sole has a platform design and measures 0.50.”
The boots feature a pull loop to help you put them on quickly, and the lace closure system is durable and provides the right amount of tightness. There are two hooks on the collar that you can use to secure the boots.
The upper uses waterproof full-grain leather as well as suede and textile panels. You can order this product in wide sizes and half sizes to find the perfect fit! You will also find some original color options.
- Lightweight and durable
- Full-grain leather upper
- Waterproof boots
- Anti-slip rubber soles
- Lack of safety features
- Limited ankle support
- Mesh panels might not be waterproof
The traditional military design of these boots ensures a snug and comfortable fit. We think this product is an excellent option if you’re looking for lightweight tactical footwear because you have a job that keeps you active all day.
The boots feature leather and textile panels. The textile panels keep the shoe lightweight, flexible, and breathable.
There is a polyurethane footbed that feels soft, absorbs shocks, and reduces fatigue. The boots come with an insole that you can remove if the fit is too tight.
The 6.5-inch shaft fits snuggly thanks to the three hooks and features the right amount of padding if you’re on your feet all day without feeling too warm or restrictive.
We like the sole construction because it features square lugs on the sides to enhance grip, speed, and responsiveness while the middle of the soles uses smaller lugs that prevent slipping and improve traction.
There is a built-in nylon shank that will protect your foot from shocks and insulate it from hard or rocky surfaces.
We recommend this product if your job keeps you active throughout most of the day or if you need lightweight and breathable tactical footwear you can use in hot weather.
- Snug fit
- Athletic style
- 5-inch shaft
- Flexible design
- Not waterproof
- Other boots have more padding
- Lack of protective toe cap
These outdoor boots are ideal for working outdoors during the winter. We like their sturdy design, and the soles are perfect for improving your stability and grip on snowy or icy surfaces.
The shoes feature a slightly elevated toe cap to help you get a better grip on the ground. This feature makes a difference when climbing, negotiating rocky terrain, or walking on icy surfaces.
The boots have a soft and comfortable feel thanks to their cushioning and EVA midsole. The material does a great job of insulating you from humidity and cold temperatures.
The waterproof construction of the boots is a must-have feature if you have to spend long hours outside in the winter months. The waterproof mesh upper and membrane will keep humidity out and dry quickly.
The padded collar delivers excellent ankle support, and there is a reinforced heel that can help with posture and fatigue. There is a rubber toe cap that provides you with additional protection.
In spite of their sturdy soles and cushioning, the boots feel light. We think they’re perfect if you want tactical footwear you can use for hiking or need to work outside in cold weather.
- Waterproof design
- Sole design is ideal for working outdoors
- Reinforced heel
- Insulation from cold temperatures
- Mesh upper is less durable than leather
- No built-in shank
- Might be too warm for working indoors
Oakley offers a performing and lightweight product with these military boots. The product uses a traditional military design that improves flexibility.
We recommend these boots if you need tactical footwear with an athletic feel. The lightweight design is ideal if speed matters or if you need to wear the boots for long hours.
The textile construction is durable and feels comfortable. It improves flexibility and won’t restrict your movements.
The thick platform soles are a standout feature of the product. They absorb shocks well, reduce noises, and insulate you from hard surfaces. The thick soles also help with reducing fatigue if you need to walk or run for long periods. The EVA midsole adds to the comfort of the boots.
The boots use textile panels for comfort and breathability. The shaft will cover your ankle and the base of your calves to provide you with the support you need and to help improve your posture.
We like the wide heel design because it improves stability and helps you keep your balance when performing quick movements like changing direction when running.
- Flexible design
- Textile panels make the boot breathable
- Athletic fit
- Thick sole
- Not waterproof
- Not as protective as leather boots
- Lack of protective toe cap
These durable leather and nylon boots are an excellent choice if you need tactical footwear for a cold or humid environment. We like the built-in Gore-Tex lining that keeps humidity out and preserves warmth.
The boots use a mix of leather and nylon elements to create a protective and comfortable upper. The leather upper will protect your toe box while the sides of the boot feature breathable nylon panels that enhance flexibility.
The 8-inch shaft helps with keeping cold and humidity out, and you will find that the padded collar makes the boots more comfortable. The shoes feature a side zip and a reinforced heel.
We like the lightweight sole design. There are textured lugs on the sides to help with stability and control, and wider lugs in the middle to prevent slipping and deliver excellent traction.
The EVA midsole delivers a comfortable fit, and the cushioned feel of the boots makes a difference in cold weather.
- Excellent option for cold weather
- Gore-Tex waterproof lining
- Padding and cushioning
- Lightweight sole design.
- Lack of steel toe cap
- Might be too warm for some settings
- Only one color available
These boots are a versatile and rugged option if you need work boots or tactical footwear suitable for hot and humid environments.
The wide construction of the boots enhances stability and can reduce fatigue and back pain if you’re on your feet all day. We like the platform design of the soles because it absorbs shocks and supports your arches.
The boots use nylon mesh panels to improve breathability. You will find these panels on the tongue and sides of the shoe. The construction also features durable suede panels. The triple stitching used to assemble the different panels enhances durability.
The padded tongue and collar feel comfortable without making the shoes too warm or heavy. The boots have built-in liners that reduce moisture and odors.
We like the lug pattern design because of the side openings that drain water. The lugs are wide enough to handle a wide range of surfaces, whether you work indoors or outdoors.
You can adjust the fit thanks to the eight eyelets and choose to leave the collar open if you want the shoes to feel more breathable.
- Perfect for hot or humid weather
- Breathable and lightweight
- Odor control lining
- Versatile and comfortable option
- Not waterproof
- Limited protection
- Uses more stitching than other boots
We recommend these boots if you want tactical footwear with an athletic feel. Under Armour uses a proprietary foam material to create a lightweight and waterproof cover for these shoes.
The foam cover is a noteworthy feature because it keeps water out while letting sweat evaporate. It has a soft and comfortable feel and will reduce pain and fatigue.
The boots provide excellent arch support. We like the rubber soles because the sharp indented lugs provide you with secure footing no matter where you stand. The lugs are close together for optimal grip and traction.
The boots have a high-top design that improves mobility. There is enough padding for the shoes to feel supportive, but the high-top design feels more lightweight and less restrictive compared to other tactical boots.
The EVA midsole is soft and supportive, and the shoes have a built-in protective plate in the sole. You will also find a rubber toe cap that absorbs shocks and insulate you from the ground if you have to kneel.
- Athletic design
- Lightweight feel
- Foam overlay
- Not rated for electrical hazard protection
- No steel toe cap
- Limited ankle support
These tactical boots have a classic design and use leather and nylon elements to create a flexible fit. The mid-calf rise is ideal if you want tactical footwear that is protective and supportive.
The shoes feel durable and sturdy thanks to their leather upper and rubber toe cap. The synthetic platform soles insulate you from the ground and deliver optimal grip and traction thanks to their wide lugs. The soles also provide excellent arch support.
The slight elevation of the heel and breathable heel panel improve flexibility and movements. The shoes have a rounded toe box that enhances stability thanks to its wide design.
There is a foam insole that reduces fatigue thanks to its rebound effect, and the foam layer makes the boots feel more comfortable.
The nylon side panels help make the shoes more breathable and improve flexibility. You can secure the boots with the lace closure system and the seven eyelets.
- Wide design enhances stability
- Mid-calf support
- Arch support
- Heel panel
- Not waterproof
- No hooks on the collar
- Uses double stitching instead of triple stitching
Are you wondering which boots are the best investment? Here is the tactical footwear we recommend in three categories.
Best Athletic Tactical Boots
Investing in athletic tactical footwear makes sense if you have a job that requires speed and mobility. We like the Under Armour Men’s Valsetz Military & Tactical Boot because this product is sturdy and lightweight.
The synthetic leather and textile upper is durable, and the shoes feature plenty of padding. The snug athletic fit is supportive and enhances speed. The rugged soles and side lugs will help you gain speed and perform fast movements on a wide range of surfaces.
Best Outdoor Tactical Footwear
We recommend the Free Soldier Outdoor Men’s Tactical Military Combat Ankle Boots if you work in a challenging outdoor environment.
These tactical boots use a smart design with small textile panels that enhance flexibility and movements. The rubber toe cap and platform soles create a layer of insulation between your foot and the hard ground.
We like the snug and supportive fit, the comfortable cushioning, and the lug patterns that use a mix of square and round lugs to provide you with the traction you need.
Tactical footwear can be expensive. One of the best tactical boots and investments you could make are the Smith & Wesson Men’s Breach 2.0 Tactical Side Zip Boots.
There are more expensive and durable boots on the market. However, these boots deliver unmatched durability and quality in the entry-level price range. You can get a pair of tactical boots that are comfortable, durable, and protective on a budget and decide to spend more later once you have a better idea of which features are essential for your job.
You can’t go wrong with these three products, but remember that the best tactical boots depend on the unique challenges of your job. Take the time to compare different products and features to choose boots that are adapted to the conditions you work in.