The Best Tactical Boots

Having a good pair of boots is an absolute must for anyone who spends a lot of their time outdoors. Avid outdoors-men and women know that without the right footwear, you’re going to be hurting a lot sooner than you expect.

Another group of people who know this well are military personnel and police officers. In these professions, you spend countless hours on your feet and that means you need a good pair of boots that can not only take some serious abuse but be comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

This means you can’t just go down to the local department store or jump on any shoe or boot website and buy the first thing you see. You need a tactical pair of boots that will truly provide the protection and comfort you need for your feet.

Think protection and comfort 

Tactical boots are what the avid outdoors person, military personnel, or officer need.

Even if you’re off-duty or no longer a member of the military or police force, the right pair of tactical boots can help you more easily get through your day, depending on your activities and profession. Security guards, warehouse workers, public safety workers, and anyone who spends long hours on their feet can benefit from the advantages these boots offer.

Uniquely versatile footwear

It’s the versatility of these boots that makes them so special. Yes, they’re great as military and police boots but they also work for hunters, hikers, and more. They’re designed to take on anything you can throw at them, and that makes them very useful in a wide variety of situations.

The bottom line is that if you plan on spending a lot of time on your feet and you’re going to be outdoors, then tactical boots are the way to go. With that said, you don’t just want to buy any pair of tactical boots. Like firearms and other tactical gear, there are varying degrees of quality, comfort, durability, and style. You don’t want a pair of junky tactical boots, you want the best tactical boots out there.

Our Top Pick (Best Overall):

Of all the tactical boots out there, these Coyote Military and Tactical Boots from Danner are the best. They feature an eight-inch height. Leather and nylon upper, rubber sole, a removable insole, and a nylon shank.

The Danner Tachyon boots also feature an open-cell polyurethane footbed that provides extra comfort even when wearing them for a long time. The rubber sole features good tread, but it’s not overly aggressive, making these boots have excellent traction on a wide variety of terrains.

Our testers were impressed with the build quality of the boots, though it was clear that some of the material on the side of the boots was pretty thin. Wherever there was leather, though, they provided ample protection. We have no reason to assume that the thinner material wouldn’t hold up well, but found it worth mentioning.

One of our testers reported some broken laces, but that’s likely an anomaly, and you can also replace the laces with something extremely strong. Our best guess is that you wouldn’t need to. These boots come highly recommended by military personnel and law enforcement officers alike, and Danner is known for being one of the top names in the tactical boot space.

Pros

  • Strong and lightweight nylon shank
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Feather-light overall weight
  • Open-cell polyurethane footbed
  • High-levels of comfort for hours on end
  • Fast-drying

Cons

  • Some material is thin and can be damaged
  • Not waterproof
  • Laces could be more durable

If the Danner boots are up your alley but just not quite what you’re looking for then, you should check out these Smith & Wesson Men’s Breach 2.0 Tactical Side Zip Boots. They offer a similar nylon upper paired with leather construction with a rubber outsole and a zipper on the side of the boot for easy access.

The boots also offer some top-quality features like an EVA midsole, a gusseted tongue, and a more aggressive tread pattern for added grip on loose terrain. The Smith & Wesson name is well-known and is trusted and respected by law enforcement and outdoor enthusiasts all over the world.

The zipper design might exclude this from being a military option, but we’d think even many military personnel would acknowledge the quality here, too, even if it doesn’t meet military regulations.

Our testers noted the all-day comfort, though they did say that on high-temperature days, the boots can be hotter than some of the other options listed here. This is likely due to the waterproofing of the boots. The tag says they’re waterproof. However, over time, our testers found they did allow some water and moisture in.

Despite these minor annoyances, these are a good option and there are few complaints beyond what’s mentioned above and the fact that they don’t wear in an attractive manner. They hold up well over time, but they look a little rough after long periods of use.

Pros

  • Well-made
  • Water-resistant construction
  • Tough nylon and leather construction
  • Slip-resistant rubber sole with aggressive tread

Cons

  • Not fully waterproof
  • Can be hot
  • Can look rough over time

Best For Law Enforcement:

5.11 Men's ATAC 2.0 8" Tactical Side Zip Military Boot, Style 12393, Dark Coyote, 8.5 W US
  • The A.T.A.C 2.0 Side Zip Desert boot features a full-length dual durometer Ortholite foot bed with...
  • This tactical boot has a shock mitigation system, strobal construction with lighter weight upper...
  • The Slip and Oil Resistant Outsole with SlipSteam waterproof BBP membrane keep your feet dry and...

Are you a law enforcement officer and not enamored with the Smith & Wesson or Danner options shown above? Well, lucky for you there are plenty of other options out there.

One of the best are the 5.11 ATAC 2.0 Tactical Side Zip Military Boots. These boots, like the Danner option, have an eight-inch height. Also, like the Danner option, they come in Coyote.

The 5.11 boots, though feature a side zipper entry for easy access. Pair this with the Ortholite footbed with an Achilles heel flex zone, and you have some easy to put on and extremely comfortable tactical boots.

The sole and overall construction offers good support and a light overall weight.

The oil and slip-resistant sole also comes with a good amount of tread that’s somewhere between the Danner and the Smith & Wesson boots. These boots are ideal for long days and a wide variety of terrains.

They’re built for any and every environment, making them ideal for law enforcement.

Our testers were impressed by the fact that these were water-resistant and that the insole was extremely comfortable even after hours of wearing these boots.

Our testers also noted that these boots run a size small, so it might be smart for you to size up when purchasing.

Pros

  • High levels of durability
  • Good support and a comfortable footbed
  • Water-resistant
  • Side zipper for easy access
  • Medium level tread makes for good all-around use

Cons

  • Boots run a size small
  • The side zipper can be difficult sometimes
  • Not as lightweight as top tactical boots

Best Budget:

Maelstrom Men's TAC FORCE 8 Inch Military Tactical Duty Work Boot with Zipper, Black, 10.5 M US
  • For every pair of Maelstrom boots we sell, we donate 1 dollar to the Boot Campaign, a non-profit...
  • Boots are available in multiple colors (black, tan) and styles (side zipper, waterproof, insulated)....
  • Polishable full grain leather and nylon upper for a professional look. Breathable, moisture wicking...

Are you operating on a pretty tight budget but need some good tactical boots? The Maelstrom Men’s Tac Force Military Tactical Work Boots are one of the best options you’ll find. These boots combine high-levels of value and quality into a pretty enticing package.

A tactical work boot

The boots have a textile and leather construction with a synthetic sole, an eight-inch shaft, and a removable and shock-absorbent cushion insert for comfort.

These boots are more of a work boot than an extreme tactical boot, but they also will get the job done for many law enforcement-style activities.

Quality components

The full-grain leather material on the boots is polishable and the upper nylon can be easily cleaned and is thick and durable. The boots are also water-resistant, which is a huge help out in the field. There’s also a side zipper for easy access with a Velcro strap at the top.

Our testers found that these boots were a wonderful value for the price. They’re comfortable and tough. The moisture-wicking sock liner does a good job of keeping your feet dry, though they can get hot in warmer weather. They might not hold up as well over time as higher-priced boots and our testers noticed the Velcro strap quit working after a few months of use. Overall, though, they’re an excellent option if you don’t have a lot of money to spend.

Pros

  • Extremely affordable
  • Water-resistant
  • Moisture-wicking lining
  • Shock absorbent sole adds comfort
  • Synthetic sole provides ample traction

Cons

  • Can be hot in warm weather
  • Durability isn’t on-par with higher-priced boots
  • Velcro strap will wear out

Best Tactical Boots For Hiking:

Under Armour Men's Valsetz RTS Military and Tactical Boot, Coyote Brown (220)/Coyote Brown, 8
  • UA ClutchFit technology wraps your ankle with a lightweight "œsecond skin" for powerful support &...
  • Synthetic leather & textile upper with welded, abrasion resistant film around the perimeter of the...
  • Full length Micro G foam turns cushioned landings into explosive takeoffs

Do you need supreme comfort for hiking out in the wilderness? If so, Under Armour has you covered with its Valsetz Rts Military and Tactical Boots. These boots have a synthetic and textile construction that features a rubber outsole with the company’s ClutchFit technology for the support of your ankle.

The boots also feature an abrasion-resistant film around the perimeter of the foot for added protection when you’re busting brush and hiking through extreme terrain. The Micro G foam cushioning makes for one of the most comfortable footbeds of any tactical boot out there.

Our testers noted that one of the downsides to these are that they are not waterproof or water-resistant. That said, they do breathe better than many of the other options out there. If you regularly hike in dry, hot weather, then these will be perfect for you.

It’s important to note that our testers also found these boots to run narrow when compared to other tactical boots. If you have wide feet, you need to take advantage of the wide options, which the company does offer. This will ensure they are as comfortable as possible.

Pros

  • Under Armour’s ClutchFit technology
  • Micro G foam for comfort
  • Breathable design
  • Good traction and a rubber sole

Cons

  • Not waterproof or water-resistant
  • Runs narrow
  • Not leather

How to Choose the Best Tactical Boots

Choosing the best tactical boots has become more complicated in recent years. There are now more retailers and manufacturers selling tactical boots than ever. Some of these options are really good, but some of them are not worth your money.

Price (and quality) matters

We want to make a quick note on the price of tactical boots. If you see some boots out there for an extremely low price, there’s likely a reason for it. You can find wonderful boots between $50 and $100.

If you go lower, you’re bound to only find sub-par products. If you go higher than that and you may find some great options, but there are no guarantees. Some very expensive pairs of boots are no better than the reasonably priced pairs out there. We’re not going to tell you exactly how much you should spend, but it makes no sense to spend more than you need.

When choosing the best tactical boots, you need to think about several factors. These factors include comfort, construction, usability, and style. Of all of these, style should be at the bottom of your list of concerns.

Comfort and construction are key

Tactical gear is built for utility not style. With that said, aesthetics play a role in any purchase. These boots definitely have a sense of style, but don’t get hung up on how a pair of boots look.

Of all things you need your boots to be, you need a well-constructed boot that’s of high-quality and will last, and those boots have to be comfortable on your feet.

Solid construction means quality materials

When it comes to construction, you’ll notice that most good pairs of boots marry ballistic nylon and leather together to make a pair that’s both lightweight and durable. This combination makes for the best option, though there are some synthetic leathers and other materials – such as gore tex that can work just as well if not better than natural materials.

Also, when it comes to the sole of the boots, you want a synthetic or rubber outsole that provides ample cushioning while also giving you plenty of traction while out in the field. You’ll be encountering all kinds of terrain out there, and you need a sole that works in any environment.

Comfort is key. The last thing you want is to be out in the field somewhere and have sore, blistered, or otherwise damaged feet. Depending on the situation, it can be a real hindrance and possibly even dangerous. The right pair of boots make all the difference, and it’s important for you to ensure you buy a pair of boots that is up for going the distance. This means for miles of hiking or hours and hours walking, jogging, and running.

To help you on your mission of finding the best pair of tactical boots, we’ve pulled together a list of the five best options out there right now. These boots are our choices after taking a good hard look at the available options and seeing which have performed best and which are lagging behind.

Any of the boots on the following list will be a good pair of tactical boots for you, but we’ve identified what makes each one of them stand out and provided reasons for you to purchase them.

Conclusion

With the Danner boots taking the top crown, it should be clear what pair of tactical boots you should buy. It’s lightweight, durable, and trusted by military and law enforcement personnel all over. With that said, there are plenty of reasons you might choose one of the other options here.

We’ve tried to provide several choices at a variety of price points so that no matter your budget you can find an excellent pair of tactical boots for your needs.

The budget option we’ve identified is still a very good pair of tactical boots. If you decided to spend less money on your boots, there is no shame in going with the Maelstrom boots. Likewise for any of the other options listed here.

Having an excellent pair of tactical boots will ensure that you have the best time possible outdoors and don’t need to worry about your feet while you’re out there. The Danner boots are the best, but any of these boots will be better than improper footwear.

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MICHAEL CRITES is el jefe around here. He writes about guns and gear.

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