Although they’ll hold their own in a firefight combat boots aren’t just for use during combat. They’re also ideal for law enforcement officers, emergency responders, corrections officers and anyone who wants to adopt a bit of an edge to their look. Also called “tactical boots” these high performance, high durability boots help you make the most of your natural abilities and keep you safe, warm and comfortable while doing so. All great combat boots share similar core characteristics: flexibility, durability and support. Beyond that feature sets vary and include everything from waterproofing to quick lacing. Below are the best combat boots on the market today.
The Best Combat Boot
What makes newcomer Under Armour’s Men’s Valsetz Tactical Boots so impressive is their winning combination of light weight and outstanding support. The UA ClutchFit technology installs firm but forgiving support under your arch and heel and absorbs shocks all day long so you don’t lose that spring in your step even toward the end of a long day on patrol. They also feature the company’s Ortholite molded sockliner. This is comprised of memory foam over a PU base and it give the boot a custom-style fit that’s both unexpected and welcome.
Like a lot of the best army boots the Valsetz isn’t just for night duty at Shindand Air Base. It’s for those responding to tornado swarms, those conducting foot patrols in urban areas, SWAT team members, corrections officers and even for a bit of light hiking on the weekend. The rubber sole provides excellent grip, ankle support is good to very good and the abrasion resistant skirt around the base of the boot protects your feet from nuisance injuries while keeping it looking good.
Genuine rubber sole.
UA ClutchFit Technology.
Strong yet forgiving TPU midsole.
Micro G foam cushioning.
2 part Ortholite sockliner.
Faux leather upper.
- BrandUnder Armour
- Weight12 ounces
Handsome boots that are durable and performance oriented without being too heavy or stiff.
The vulcanized rubber soles provide outstanding grip on a variety of surfaces.
They’re light enough to wear all day long without becoming anchors on your feet.
They epitomize what a combat boot should be: versatile, tough, light and protective.
These desert combat boots are not waterproof. So be aware of that.
These Ryno Gear Tactical Combat Boots are a bit heavier than some competitor’s boots. But because of the way they hug your feet and the sure footing they provide on virtually any surface you don’t really notice. The upper is comprised of genuine leather and a breathable mesh and protects you from biting winds and low level environmental hazards while retaining its breathability.
Much to their credit they have a water resistant lining that means you don’t have to be concerned if it starts raining or if you have to trudge through wet terrain on the way to help storm victims. The padded cuff prevents them from chaffing your lower calf which would otherwise be a concern on such high collar boots. In addition, the outsole is fashioned from slip resistant rubber to keep you upright when you’re navigating that wet terrain.
Slip resistant genuine rubber outsole.
Leather and synthetic upper.
Water resistant inner lining.
Removable shock absorbing insoles.
Coolmax lining with padded collar.
Outstanding traction on mixed surfaces.
- BrandRyno Gear
- Weight3.6 pounds
Some of the most comfortable military and police boots we tested without question.
They’re very breathable which helps them stay nice and cool even on red hot days.
You’ll appreciate the support on those days when you’re pack is full and the trial is rough.
The ankle zipper eliminates the need to re-lace every time you put them on.
Not that it’s a big deal but we’d like them more if they had a reinforced toe.
If foot patrols are on the menu the Magnum Men’s Elite Spider X tactical boots will answer the call time after time. We love the way these boots feel when they’re full laced up. They provide a firm, reassuring hold and feel like they belong on your feet. When you stand with your full pack they seem to propel you upward the way a truly good tactical boot should.
The boots feature a half bellows tongue, a padded cuff, Aero Mesh integration throughout to keep the air moving through and a stiffened toe box. While it’s not a steel toe it is nonetheless a significant step up from the toe box of most tactical boots. Also inside is a removable EVA contoured midsole that you’d do well not to remove (except maybe to air the boots out on occasion). And there’s a hardened heel box to enhance stability and protect from day to day hazards.
Leather combat boots.
Compression molded midsole.
Cordura AFT 3D fabric for breathability.
Durable Vibram rubber sole.
Rustproof hardware throughout.
Dependable YKK side zipper.
Lightweight and comfortable.
- ModelElite Spider 8.0 Boot-M
- Weight2.12 pounds
They grab hold of and seem to become an extension of your feet.
The composite shank provides control while the EVA midsole absorbs shocks.
The Aero Mesh breathable fabric provides outstanding breathability from arch to calf.
The boot uses a running shoe chassis that allows for more natural gait on any surface.
Water resistant but not waterproof so try and avoiding dunking your feet in streams or deep puddles.
Light, comfortable, durable and breathable the Original SWAT Men’s Metro Air Tactical Boot is designed with indoor security personnel in mind. But while they will certainly appeal to airport security and corrections officers along with others in similar positions, their appeal is not limited. Those operating heavy equipment, driving trucks, doing light construction related work (electricians note there is no metal toe) as well as those who want a bit of edge to their personal style will also find a lot to like here.
The upper is comprised of full grain leather interspersed with highly durable 1000D nylon. Unique to the Metro is an airbag in the heel the soaks up impacts like a sponge. It’s not something you’ll necessarily notice right off the bat, but rather at the end of the day when you’re not experiencing spirit crushing cramps and quad fatigue. The YKK ankle zipper is robust and dependable, even if you’ve been naughty and got it all mucked up with dirt, mud and other debris.
Heel air bag absorbs shocks.
Tough 1000 denier nylon upper.
Dependable YKK side zipper.
Slip resistant non-marking sole.
Molded nylon shank.
Highly breathable upper.
Polishable toe and sole.
- BrandOriginal S.W.A.T.
- ModelMetro Air 9
- Weight2 pounds
They absorb shocks well without being too springy.
A tall, well-made if visually unremarkable tactical boot that’s all day comfortable.
They’re very well made toe to cuff and should last a good long time.
They’re designed fairly narrow which reduces lateral stability just a hair.
They’re a bit all over the place from a visual standpoint.
If you’re a fan of more restrained design the Garmont T8 Bifida Tactical Boot is right up your alley. These are no-nonsense lace up combat boots with a coyote brown finish that can be worn with your operational camouflage pattern uniform, or your jeans. Whichever applies at the moment. They’re durable and comfortable as well as being water resistant. So they’ll serve you well whatever the call of duty on a given day.
The genuine Vibram Bifida sole from which the boot takes part of its name is highly slip resistant and provides outstanding traction on dirt, rock, mixed terrain and snow. The metallic eyelets feature a zero optical refraction finish to prevent blinding glare and the midsole is firm enough to withstand the rigors of parachuting, should that be on the agenda. That level of impact protection isn’t easy to achieve nor should it be taken for granted. Not every tactical boot will provide it.
Suede leather upper.
Vibram Bifida outsole.
600 Denier nylon webbing.
Durable polyurethane insole.
Refraction free hardware.
Canvas and Texon lining.
- Weight1 pound
The Vibram Bifida sole grabs hold of any terrain and doesn’t let go.
The genuine suede upper is comfortable, durable and attractive.
The boot breathes well so even on hot days it rarely gets too hot.
Sizing is not always precise.
Laces are not just old school their out of date.
Oakley makes some of the most attractive sunglasses on the market and has for well over 2 decades. So it’s a bit surprising that their Mens Light Assault Boot would be so aggressively un-attractive. Perhaps the designers were trying to create a new design standard working under the guise of the well-worn notion that all original and/or beautiful work appears looks ugly at first. If that’s the case we’re sorry to say they missed the mark. Because even after plenty of consideration they still have a face only a mother could love.
The good news is that their lack of pulchritude doesn’t in any way diminish the fact that these are very versatile, effective and durable army boots. They’re light, comfortable and fashioned from 1000D cordura nylon and cow hide. They have a molded EVA insole that provides robust support all day long and the speed lacing system adequately compensates for the lack of a side zipper, such as you’ll find on most combat boots. They’re also fully compliant with the army’s AF 670-1 specs.
Slip resistant rubber outsole.
Speed loop lacing system.
Upper of leather and 1000 denier nylon.
Rugged braided nylon laces.
8 inches to top of cuff.
Molded EVA midsole insert.
- Weight4 pounds
Ideal for long distance treks in the Hindu Kush or the state park.
The removal midsole shouldn’t be removed because it provides outstanding support.
The speed loop lacing system is a real time saver and necessary in the absence of a side zipper.
Perhaps the ugliest highly effective tactical boot on the market.
Minimal padding in the cuff can lead to irritation on hot sweaty days.
The Danner Mens Recon 200 Gram Uniform Boot is the polar opposite of the Oakley Light Assault Boot in that it’s handsome enough to wear on a night out. Fortunately, it’s also tough enough to lace up for your next extended patrol. It has a Vibram sole that provides outstanding grip on varied surfaces, a full grain leather upper that’s as comfortable as it is attractive and a lightly padded cuff that takes the sting out of the high profile.
Unlike many other lace up combat boots the Recon 200 is also 100% waterproof with a Gore-Tex lining that’s breathable but keeps moisture outside where it belongs. In addition the designers have thoughtfully included 200 G Thinsulate insulation which means you won’t have to think about changing boots when the mercury dips below freezing. These 2 features alone justify the somewhat higher price you’re going to pay for these boots.
Full leather upper.
Grippy Vibram rubber sole.
200 G Thinsulate insulation.
Genuine Gore-Tex lining.
Narrow fit with lightly padded cuff.
- ModelRecon 200 Gram
- Weight2 pounds
Think of them as Doc Martens without the punk pedigree.
One of the few truly waterproof black combat boots on the market.
Toss in the Thinsulate insulation and you’re talking an excellent all-around outdoor boot.
Handsome and comfortable full grain leather combat boots with a Vibram sole that provides rock solid traction on a multitude of surfaces.
Like high-end Doc Martens they’re going to cost a pretty penny.
The Mens GSG-9.2 Training Shoe from Adidas is just that; a training shoe that doubles as a light duty day to day shoe. If features a full grain leather upper that’s reasonably breathable and which has been subjected to the company’s proprietary waterproofing treatment. As such it will keep your feet dry on most rainy days when you’re splashing your way through shallow puddles. But don’t expect to stay dry if you’re standing in ankle deep water for an hour.
That said the main attraction of the GSG-9.2 is its combination of light weight and outstanding flexibility. Should you need to break into a run you won’t feel like you’ve got a couple of cinder blocks attached to your feet holding you back. The GSG-9.2 even looks (a lot) like a high top sneaker because, essentially, it is a high top sneaker that has undergone a bit of re-engineering to make it more durable and waterproof.
100% leather upper.
Durable rubber sole.
Lightweight and comfortable.
Water resistant treatment.
Grippy Adidas Traxion lugs.
Antimicrobial Ortholite liner.
- Weight2 pounds
Essentially police boots for training and everyday use.
The impact absorbing material in the heel effectively reduces shock fatigue.
The sole provides excellent traction particularly on mixed terrain.
They’re comfortable and provide reasonable waterproofing although look out for deep puddles.
The glorified sneaker laces aren’t going to win any durability contests.
These handsome, tough, comfortable, waterproof Thorogood military boots are easy on the eye and will likely win you over the minute you lace them up and start walking. They have all the features you want to see including waterproofing (via the BBP X-Stream Waterproofing system), outstanding support (thanks to the poly footbed) and a durable grippy Weinbenner outsole.
The Gen-Flex 2 army boots live up to their name by featuring first class flexibility which allows you to maintain your natural gait. The composite shank provides plenty of support through the mid-foot and the rugged heel cup prevents lateral sliding that can compromise your stance when you’re carrying a full pack.
Removable polyurethane midsole.
Features BBP X-Stream waterproofing.
Flexible Gen-flex 2 outsole.
Slip resistant outsole.
Stedair linings resist blood-borne pathogens.
1000 denier panels for flexibility.
Heavy duty YKK zippers.
- Weight5 pounds
Handsome well-made military boots for patrols, work or play.
Some of the most effective waterproofing we tested all the way up to the cuff.
They promote a nice, natural gait that reduces fatigue on long hauls.
They’re not the lightest but you won’t care when your feet are dry and everyone else’s are soaking wet.
They’re very comfortable but they can be a bit noisy as you walk. Not great for stealth.
The final entry on our list of best combat boots is the ATAC 2.0 Waterproof Mens Military Boots from 5.11. This is another pair of handsome purpose built black combat boots that are going to find favor with those whose duties are mostly of the outdoor variety. As opposed to corrections officers or airport security personnel who ply their trade indoors most of the time.
The YKK side zipper is robust and reliable and allows you to slip in and out without having to relace. The Ortholite injection molded insole provides good support through the arch and prevents too much force from coming to bear on the toe box. And the moisture wicking capabilities of the leather/nylon mesh upper will serve you well on the hottest day in the Middle East theater.
Leather and fabric upper.
Discrete side pocket.
Durable reliable YKK side zippers.
Oil resistant sole.
- ModelATAC STORM 8In Boot-U
- Weight2 pounds
The combination of waterproofing and warmth make them outstanding hiking or jungle boots.
The waterproofing is reliable even when you’re pushing it a bit.
The non-metallic shank and lack of steel toe means you’ll glide through airport security.
They absorb shocks well and stay comfortable all day, even with a heavy pack.
Remember that ‘waterproof’ means that if water gets in over the top it’s not going anywhere for a while.