Rick is a former news reporter who decided that the corporate world wasn't for him and took off to travel the world. He's been to every continent (yes, even Antarctica!) and has tried out a multitude of outdoor gear along the way. From tents to hiking boots, he's probably tested it all. Now, he's one of our full-time product testers and experts.
Bryan is one of our leading experts since he's got a vast expertise in practically everything connected to the outdoors. He's been hiking since he was a young boy, was an organizer of kayaking tours which later led to another passion of his - kayak fishing. Now, he's a part-time expert consultant involved in our multiple product tests and topic research.
Last updated: March 08, 2022
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For the longest time, tactical boots were especially worn by soldiers or persons involved in law enforcement. While they may have been originally designed for boot camp, the best tactical boots are now a must have for anyone planning on walking in rugged environments. Sure, you can also wear them simply to make a fashion statement judging by how stylish some of these boots are, but you’ll be doing them a disservice. These all-purpose boots are crucial as seen by the level of foot protection and ankle stability they provide.
But how will you know which ones to pick? When it comes to tactical boots, the one-size-fits-all rule doesn’t apply. A look at the major features like the shoe upper and sole materials is needed to pick the right pair. These features along with the shoe height and whether they’re waterproof also need to be taken into consideration. Only then can you pick the right boots suited for your purposes.
How did we come up with our list of recommendations? A lot of thorough research took place so we could provide you with this in-depth guide. We went through countless reviews to get opinions of customers with firsthand experience of using these boots. We then included a detailed product review of each product so you can decide on the best tactical boot for you. After going through these reviews and the buying guide, we’re certain you’ll be in a better position to make an informed decision.
Extra features: made up of 400 grams of Thinsulate, speed lace fastening system
Top of our list are these men’s Striker Torrent boots from Danner which we’ve voted our best all- around tactical boots. Weighing only 400g, for such a sturdy boot it’s pretty lightweight. And that’s one of its major selling points. Not only are they light, but versatile too meaning if you pick these you’ll be ready for almost any scenario; from hunting to camping.
Made of full-grain leather and a 1000 denier nylon upper, you can tell these boots are built to last. It helps that they’re also breathable and waterproof. You can easily venture into humid conditions and your feet will be kept dry in the process.
These boots aren’t only for wet conditions but can also be used in colder environments thanks to their insulation properties.
Moving on to comfort, you’ll appreciate the cushioned insole which is also removable. The outsole is designed in a manner that allows for effective gripping in all directions making the boots suitable for any terrain.
We must mention that a few users have found them to be slightly stiff especially around the ankles. But they do get more comfortable with continued use. Also, they might not fit very well if you have larger calves because there’s no folding cuff in the front. So be wary of that.
Back to the positive aspects, taking them on—and off—will be a breeze thanks to the speed lace fastening system. And the lace garage is designed to prevent any tripping.
Given the nature of some terrains, stability is crucial when embarking on these outdoor adventures. The manufacturer understands this and decided to incorporate a nylon shank for added stability and maximum support.
Extra features: slip & abrasion-resistant, rubber outsole with MDT, removable flexible insole
The NORTIV 8 Men’s Waterproof Hiking Boots incorporate a couple of different components that make hiking in them a joy. Starting from the bottom, this includes the Ethylene-vinyl acetate rubber sole, which is highly regarded in terms of shock absorption.
Additionally, this component is designed with multi-directional traction, which might come in handy when going uphill, downhill and provide more stability on slippery surfaces. There’s also the aspect of the rubber toe cap and a reinforced heel. These two components have two purposes: to add to the shoes’ stability and to give your ankles an extra layer of protection.
The sole attaches to leather and mesh membrane components which are both waterproof. Their job is to keep your feet cool and dry. The membrane is particularly noteworthy because it has a water-repellent outer surface while still maintaining breathability. Consequently, you can wade through up to 4” of water without worrying about your feet getting wet.
Inside the shoe, you find a top-of-the-line midsole before you even encounter the inner sole. Both these components provide an extra layer of shock absorption and cushioning in addition to reinforcing your foot’s natural arc. The result is comfort while the shoes are on your feet and less fatigue by the time you take them off.
Ultimately, these boots will work well as your daily work boots or for outdoor adventures such as hiking and camping.
Extra features: 3-layer comfort system, speed lacing
For a slightly lower price you can own this pair of men’s tactical boots, also from the manufacturer Danner. Though cheaper than the Torrent Strikers reviewed above, these boots are still a good buy. They’re also lightweight without compromising on comfort and quality which also makes them the best tactical boots for running.
What will immediately catch your attention with these Danner boots is the attractive light coyote color. Though they appear to be heavy duty boots, actually they’re quite light thanks to the synthetic upper sole. The same feature also means they’ll dry faster when exposed to wet conditions.
By picking this brand you can expect a snug and comfortable fit. Even though they allow for a snug fit, using them will be a joy thanks to the speed lacing system.
These boots are designed to withstand most forms of abrasion thanks to the superior abrasion resistance and traction properties found on the outsole.
Made using a combination of 100% leather and textile, they’re definitely built to last. Like most tactical boots, the insole on this pair is also removable.
We’re only disappointed that they aren’t waterproof. It also doesn’t help that the top part of the boot has no padding and the ankle support isn’t of the best quality.
Extra features: side zipper, oil and slip-resistant sole, cushioned removable insert, padded tongue, moisture-wicking mesh lining, also available in brown
We’ve rated these Bates boots as the best tactical boots for law enforcement because they were specifically designed with uniformed personnel in mind. Bates has been manufacturing tactical boots for the past 15 years and its products are well known for their quality & durability. Made with a combination of superior leather and denier ballistic nylon, you’re guaranteed longevity.
You’ll be impressed by how flexible these boots are thanks to the flexible athletic construction. The manufacturer didn’t want to depart from the traditional style associated with tactical boots as evidenced by their classic design and black color.
As the name implies, these men’s Ultra Lites are super light, so you can wear them anywhere from the woods to the streets.
Other features you’ll appreciate on these boots are the cushioned inserts which are both removable and replaceable. The boots’ padding—together with the breathable lining—pretty much take care of your comfort concerns
The sole isn’t only oil, but also slip resistant so you won’t have to worry about falling.
What makes these Ultra Lites different from the rest? Unlike most tactical boots, these come with a side zipper which also makes them easier to wear.
Moving on to the downsides, you’ll have to bear with a slight squeaking noise—especially if you walk on linoleum floors. Also, for a work boot, it doesn’t come with a composite toe, though this is not uncommon in ultra-light tactical boots.
In case you’re looking for tactical boots designed for women, the Reebok Women’s Sublite Cushion Military & Tactical Boots fit the bill, and they seem designed with comfort and functionality in mind. Worth mentioning is that they work well for the general workday and outdoors, but they’re not waterproof.
They feature rubber soles with full-foot flex grooves. As a consequence of their design, they promote forefoot flexion and comfort, which is why they’re well suited for walking applications. That said, this design isn’t great for everyone, e.g., they might exacerbate the condition for women with forefoot pain.
Another inclusion is the sublite foam midsole. Like the flex grooves, this component is meant to enhance comfort and does the job perfectly. The upper section of this tactical boot incorporates a leather and mesh combination, with the leather taking the lion’s share.
The full-grain leather is incredibly durable, and part of this is because of the minimal processing. Additionally, it’s more breathable. That said, the mesh features a higher level of breathability hence why you can spend your whole day in these shoes without your feet feeling hot.
Also, they have a MemoryTech Massage footbed. It’s meant to adapt to the contouring in your feet. Lastly, we noticed they might not work so well for women with thinner feet. However, if you have wide feet, they’ll work just fine.
Why is it special?
Provide enough traction for a wide variety of surfaces
Extra features: oil and slip-resistant sole, hidden knife pocket, also available in black
Looking for a stylish pair of tactical boots? The ATAC Jungle boots for men are the ones to pick. ATAC is known for its durable products and these boots are no exception. Made of real full grain leather and strong nylon, these boots will last you a long time. Because they’re also wear-resistant largely contributes to their durability.
We love versatile boots and these multi-purpose boots provide you with just that. Whether you want to use them as hunting or combat boots, you can take your pick.
These boots come in a variety of colors and sizes to pick from. You’re bound to find one that suits your preference.
These boots feature a high cut for optimal ankle support, so you can wear them for long periods without experiencing any discomfort.
Still on comfort—you’ll appreciate the Ortholite foam for better cushioning and a more customized & comfortable fit. The breathable tongue design also ensures maximum airflow which makes the boots breathable.
The manufacturer thought of everything and included a hidden knife pocket for your added safety. This way you’re prepared for anything.
Unfortunately, they aren’t waterproof which is rather disappointing.
While some find the thick ankle padding comfortable, a number of users feel it’s just too thick and can restrict your mobility.
Extra features: oil and slip-resistant, Shock Mitigation System for maximum compression and rebound, antibacterial and moisture-wicking lining, rugged suede toe, full-length dual durometer Ortholite foot bed with Achilles heel flex zone
These tactical boots are made from strong cowhide leather. The 840D nylon in the shaft area gives the footwear strength and a certain flexibility. A reinforced Strobel construction and the padded shaft ensure a comfortable fit on long days with a weight of only 700 grams per shoe.
One-time tying of the lace is enough because the zipper is provided for putting on and taking off in seconds. The tactical boots are ideally suited as security shoes for property guards and hunters who have to run a lot at work. In their free time, hikers, campers, and dog owners are happy that their feet stay warm and dry in these ankle-high boots on muddy paths.
The smooth lining keeps the feet warm enough even when standing still for a long time thanks to good moisture transport; in summer it has an air-conditioning effect, thanks to the new airflow tongue with breathable construction.
It has strong laces and bronze eyelets, like the thin sheet steel midsole, make a decisive contribution to safety. The non-slip profiled PU sole withstands puddles of oil and petrol, as is a prerequisite for work shoes.
They are useful when patrolling or driving replenishment supplies, but without a steel toe, the boot is only partially suitable for field service.
Since the boot is half-height, it is also suitable for tactical sports such as airsoft and paintball, but the soft boots also support the ankles when hunting, during intensive hiking and when training on strenuous trimming paths.
Extra features: quick-dry design, DWR-treated leather
If you’re a fan of the brand Under Armour, then these are the boots for you. Under Armour is known for its high quality but simple product designs. And the minimalistic design featured on these men’s Stellar Military boots is proof of that. When you venture into wet conditions, you can expect your boots to dry quickly thanks to the quick-dry design.
Made of DWR treated leather and 900D nylon upper, these boots are quite durable. Though tough, they’re also very comfortable and light. And we appreciate that they’re pretty easy to shine too.
What stands out about this pair is the anti-odor technology that’s applied to the molded sock liner. As a result, you don’t have to worry about any stench coming from your tactical boots. This same technology is designed to stop the growth of odor-causing microbes.
You’ll enjoy added protection and support thanks to the EVA midsole which features a reinforced TPU shank.
Note that they’re not insulated, so remember that if you plan on wearing them in colder environments. You’ll also have to exercise extra patience when wearing and removing them because it’s not the easiest of tasks.
In terms of quality, we do have a couple of concerns. Firstly the toe material scratches up easily. And some users have reported that the sole starts peeling off after a couple of uses.
Still, it’s a sturdy, good looking boot that many consumers love.
Extra features: highly resistant to abrasion, non-slip sole, cooling OrthoLite insole
The Fast-tac boots are the brand to pick if you’re looking for a product that offers both performance and quality. What impresses us with this pair is the rock solid yet cushioned design which allows for a comfortable fit.
You can literally feel the cushioning each time you wear this boot. This is thanks to the ortholite foot bed which is designed to give you a cooler and drier platform. Because of this functionality, we’ve decided they’re the best tactical boots for hot weather.
The nylon upper has a denier rating of 840D which makes it strong enough to withstand and resist abrasion even in the most intense environment. It essentially means by picking this brand, you’ll have a long lasting product on your hands.
These boots are also designed to keep you stable and steady in slippery & uneven terrains thanks to the slip and oil resistant sole.
The Fast-tac boots exhibit a professional appearance and are also easy to polish. Though they come with an 8” height lace-up, putting these boots on and removing them will be a breeze.
You might find them a bit snug considering they’re wide boots and as a result the seams are likely to dig into your feet. So you can consider opting for a size up to avoid disappointments. But since they’re wide, we’ve decided they’re the best tactical boots for flat feet.
Other than that, they’re quite lightweight and definitely worth considering.
Extra features: side zipper, slip-resistant sole, mesh lining, shock-absorbent insoles (removable)
Last on our list and also our budget pick is the tactical combat boot from Ryno Gear. These boots come in an attractive beige color that’s ideal if you’re interested in lighter shades.
In terms of construction, these boots are made using a combination of leather and ballistic nylon. These two materials guarantee you some level of durability.
For your comfort concerns, these boots feature a padded collar so you can wear them for hours on end without experiencing any discomfort which makes them the best tactical work boots. The breathable mesh lining also plays a role in adding to your comfort.
These boots also have removable insoles which are shock absorbent for your added stability and they will prevent extreme fatigue.
Are you fascinated by the intricate details on a product? Then you’ll be impressed by the contrast stitching detail found on this boot.
The rubber outsole is slip resistant for added grip. And if you like exploring areas in wet climates, you’ll appreciate the inner lining which is water resistant. But we’ll quickly point out that they’re not water proof. You can always spray them with a waterproof spray to help with that.
These boots do run big but it’s nothing a full sole gel insert won’t fix.
Why are we impressed?
What negatives must you be aware of?
Things to Consider
So how do you pick the right tactical boots for you? In our buying guide, we’ll go over a few major features you must focus on before making the final purchase.
Advantages of owning a pair of top-quality tactical boots
To enjoy the full benefits that come with tactical boots, ditch the low quality boots and opt for a high quality pair. Some of the advantages you can look forward to include:
Most manufacturers of quality tactical boots are big on comfort. They go all out to ensure the boots are well padded to make them as comfortable as possible.
Another factor that contributes to the quality is how heavy—or light—the boots are. The quality boots are extremely lightweight to give you enough speed and agility.
The top quality boots though solid in their construction, are usually quite flexible allowing you to move around in them with ease.
Imagine having to replace your boots after a couple of uses because they’ve worn out. Put simply; quality is associated with durability. If you expect a long lasting product, then opt for top quality tactical boots.
Most top quality boots will have extra features that provide optimum performance like slip and water resistant properties. The same features may not be present in the lower quality boots.
Who are they good for?
Having mentioned all the benefits, the question is who are they good for? Tactical boots were specifically designed for those in law enforcement and the military. But due to their resilience, persons—both male & female—with tough, heavy duty tasks as part of their jobs will find them useful too.
Generally, any person with a job that requires a lot of walking and working in tough conditions will find a pair handy.
Features to consider when choosing your tactical boots
So what exactly must you look for when deciding to buy a pair of tactical boots? At a casual glance, these boots appear almost identical save for the colors and sizes. But there’s much more to this shoe shopping! For this reason, it’s important to know which features to inspect so you make the right purchase where performance is concerned.
The first thing you need to inspect is the upper material used in the construction of the boots. This is because the material(s) in more ways than one directly affects the following:
We’ll give a few examples of the most common materials used on the upper part of the boots and their respective capabilities:
Full grain leather: You must have probably noticed some of the products on our list are made of this material such as the 11 ATAC Jungle Boots for Men. This is one of the best options because it’s well known for its abrasion and water resistance properties. Boots made of full grain leather are also quite durable but note that they often lack breathability.
Split- grain leather: Made using a combination of leather and nylon, this type is considerably cheaper & lighter. But it won’t hold up well in harsh environments
Nubuck leather: This material is more of a buffed leather and strongly resembles suede. Nubuck leather is also durable and strong but you’ll have to sacrifice on flexibility.
Synthetics: Here we’re talking about polyester, nylon and of course synthetic leather. These materials are much cheaper and are designed to dry faster. But the down side is the boots won’t last you long.
After the exterior, it’s time to inspect the interior—particularly the type of lining used. Does it have moisture-wicking properties? Opt for brands like the Ryno Gear boots which have water resistant linings designed to keep your feet nice and dry in most conditions.
You need to take a close look at the material the sole is made of because it largely determines grip, comfort and flexibility. When we talk about soles, we’re referring to both the mid and out soles.
Mid soles: The purpose of the midsole is to provide your foot with that much needed cushioning and act as a shock buffer. This cushioning ultimately determines how stiff or comfortable the boot will be. Two materials that make up the midsole in most tactical boots are EVA and polyurethane. EVA is the most commonly used material because it’s lighter and excellent at absorbing shocking. Polyurethane is however firmer and more durable than EVA. The only downside is it’s more expensive.
Out sole: The outer sole of most tactical boots are made of rubber. What you need to enquire is whether the sole is oil or slip resistant as found in the Bates Men’s Ultra-Lites boots to avoid slipping. Generally, the sole should be tough but not too stiff and also allow for a steady grip regardless of the terrain.
Waterproof / water-resistant
If you plan on heading towards wet environments, it’s in your best interest to invest in tactical boots that are either waterproof or water-resistant. Good examples of such brands include the Danner Men’s Striker Torrent boots. This way your feet are kept dry at all times thereby minimizing any discomfort.
Type of closure
Does it have a lace up system or a zipping method?
Boots with a zipper –particularly a side zip—are much easier to wear and remove.
The scenario is likely to play out differently with boots that you have to lace up. But ultimately, the system you pick is a matter of preference.
These tactical boots are available in different heights ranging from 4” to 12”. Whether you pick the low or high boots will be determined by what—or rather where—you want to use them. Will you be entering hot or cold environments? Higher boots are ideal for colder climates and the opposite is true too.
Boots with longer shafts will provide your ankles with better support and protection to avoid any bruising. The longer boots are also likely to give you better support and stability.
Do you have wider than average feet? Then picking a suitable pair of boots may prove to be a challenge. Here you have to take into consideration the foot width of the boot so you get the right fit. Make sure the boots don’t run too narrow or snug.
Still on feet, you must also consider the foot support the boots provide. Ideally the boots must have arches to give your feet the necessary support.
If you happen to have flat feet, then purchasing boots with arch support is non-negotiable to avoid any pain and discomfort.
This is especially true if you’re going to be on your feet the whole day.
As mentioned before, the weight of the boots is very important as it largely determines performance. It’s a good idea to opt for lightweight boots so you can move about with ease. Heavier boots will only slow you down and are more likely to be uncomfortable.
The two things you need to invest in are a suede cleaning brush and suede spray. You first wipe them down to remove any dust. After that you must go in a well ventilated space and apply the spray. Give your boots 5 to 10 minutes and you’re good to go.
Yes, there are some that offer support for plantar fasciitis but chances are they won’t be specifically designed to deal with that particular issue. The best thing you can do is to get yourself some orthopedic insoles to give you the necessary support.
To break in shoes, you can consider spraying a combination of alcohol and water via a spray bottle to lightly mist the interior of your boots. This mixture is known to relax the fibers of the leather. Alternatively, you can wear your boots indoors as often as you can. Either that or consider stuffing two rolled towels tightly into each boot when not in use.
Based on our ratings, the Danner Men’s Striker Torrent tactical boots are our best pick. We’re impressed by how light they are while not compromising on performance. They also provide a comfortable fit and are built to last.
Second is the NORTIV 8 Men’s Waterproof Hiking Boots designed to be durable, comfortable, and to handle just about any hiking terrain you can encounter. The sole, for instance, offers multi-directional traction that grips slippery surfaces in addition to having shock absorption features.
Last but not least, we’re impressed with the Danner Men’s Tachyon Coyote Military and Tactical Boot. Firstly, we like the stylish light color. Secondly, we appreciate the solid construction made of 100% leather which makes them a durable pair. Plus, the boots are easy to wear and remove which minimizes prep time, so you get on with the business of the day.
But that’s just our opinion of the best tactical boots around – which boots do you prefer?