SHOES & BOOTS

Best Tactical Boots: For Superior Agility and Traction

tactical boots featured
Mark Foster
Written by Mark Foster

As many people would say, you’re only as good as your boots will allow you. Whether you are in law enforcement or a hardcore outdoor enthusiast, do you agree that your feet deserve the best type of boots? A pair that will protect your feet from extreme stress? If so, then it sounds like you could use a pair of the best tactical boots.

The word “military-grade equipment” has always been regarded as a stamp of product excellence guarantee among not just those in the law enforcement line of work, but also outdoor enthusiasts. Tactical boots offer all that and more, which is why every veteran outdoor enthusiast knows that they should have at least one pair of these boots in their arsenal. But how does one shop for a pair of tactical boots? Lucky for you, we got the answer to that question!

In this article, you will not only find a comprehensive list of the top 8 tactical boots available on the current market as well as an explanation on why we believe you can entrust your (or the civilians’) safety to them. Before we get to the core of the article, however, we would like to take a minute to explain the things you need to look for in tactical boots so you can make an informed purchase decision. Let’s take a look!

Product NameAvailable Sizes Upper Soles Price
Ryno Gear Tactical6 D(M) US to 14 D(M) USLeather and ballistic nylonRubber outsoleCheck price on Amazon
Maelstrom TAC FORCE Tactical7 D(M) US to 15 D(M) USLeather and nylonRubber outsoleCheck price on Amazon
Under Armour Valsetz8 D(M) US to 14 D(M) USSynthetic leather and textileRubber outsole, Micro G foam insoleCheck price on Amazon
5.11 Taclite Tactical4 D(M) US to 15 D(M) USLeather and textileEVA insole, synthetic outsoleCheck price on Amazon
Original S.W.A.T. Metro Air 4 D(M) US to 16 D(M) USLeather and nylonEVA insole, leather outsoleCheck price on Amazon
FREE SOLDIER Tactical6.5 D(M) US to 12 D(M) USLeather and scratch-resistant nylonEVA insole, rubber outsoleCheck price on Amazon
Beleville TR102 Tactical 7 D(M) US to 14 D(M) US1000D Cordura nylon and grain-out leatherEVA insole, VIBRAM rubber outsoleCheck price on Amazon
Bates GX-8 Ultra-Lite 7 D(M) US to 15 D(M) USLeather and nylonEVA insole, rubber outsoleCheck price on Amazon

Things to Consider Before Buying

Tactical boots aren’t cheap. They are usually made from high-quality materials such as leather and nylon, so it’s natural for them to be more expensive than your average boots. But in the end, the quality of a product doesn’t only depend on what it was made from, but also how it was made. Therefore, you’ll have to take some other things into consideration:

Durability

Durability is largely determined by the materials used in the production, but more than that, it also depends on whether the seams are properly stitched or sealed, whether the quality of the materials is maintained all over or just in a small part of the boot, and whether there is extra protection such as a safety toe cap or not.

Nylon and leather are the two most common materials used for the upper of the boots due to their impressive capacity to withstand wear and tear.

tactical boots

Textile is also a great choice due to its ruggedness, but it’s usually less breathable than nylon. Textile can also feel scratchy and stiff, so you’ll need to spend some time breaking it in. Once you’ve gotten it under control, however, textile is usually quite pliant. You’ll be able to exercise your natural foot movements in these boots comfortably.

Water-Resistance

Water-resistance is an important factor especially if you are a fan of river trekking or going outdoors during the rainy season. But even if you only plan to wear these boots in urban areas, you shouldn’t neglect water-resistance because trying to walk in a pair of squelchy, soaked socks ensconced in water-logged boots is never fun.

Leather isn’t generally known as the most water-resistant material, but it can be improved with a waterproof coating. Some boots come all polished, waxed, and coated so you’ll be good to go out in them during the rainy days, but even for those that haven’t been prepped against water, you can improve its water resistance using a special waterproofing leather production compound—though you’ll have to buy these separately.

tactical boots in mad

Now, even if the boots you’ve got your eye on aren’t completely waterproof, don’t cross them off the list immediately. Some boots are quick-drying, and others come equipped with a sock-liner that will keep your socks relatively dry even if the outer part of the boots is soaked.

Breathability

No one wants their feet to get all hot and sweaty, which is why breathability is important. Mesh-lined boots naturally have superior breathability, but even those that don’t come with this feature can be quite comfortable if they come with sweat-wicking inner linings.

What materials the upper is made of matters too in terms of breathability. The combination of leather and nylon will generally offer better ventilation than the combination of leather and textile.

Grip

It is very important that you go for boots that offer great grip and traction especially if you plan to wear them on your next outdoor adventure. Great grip could save your life if you often have to scale slippery rocks and jump over crevices in the landscape.

new tactical boots

Most tactical boots come equipped with a rubber outsole. Rubber is both durable and non-slip, so this is the obvious option. Some tactical boots are lined with a leather outsole. These look and feel luxurious, so they are perfect for urban use, but not so much for outdoor use since leather can get quite slippery.

Comfort

When it comes to comfort, you’ll have to consider mostly the inner construction of the boots. Are they nice and cushiony? If the midsole is made of EVA foam, then the answer is most probably yes. But that’s not all.

Also, consider the arch and ankle support of the boots. Without them, your ankle, knee, and waist will get tired quickly. Worse—your feet could be in serious pain by the time you reach the top of that mountain.

tactical boots on grass

It’s best if you could avoid boots that don’t provide adequate arch support, but if the interior is quite spacious, you can fix this problem by adding another layer of padding inside. Some boots also come with a removable insole, so you can replace it with another one that suits you better.

Best Products on Today’s Market

Now that you know what to look for to pick out the pair of tactical boots that suit your needs best, it’s time we take a look at the top products available on the current market:

Ryno Gear Tactical Combat Boots Ryno Gear Tactical Combat Boots

Price: $35 – $40

Weight: 3.6 pounds

Dimensions: Not specified

Specific features: Removable insoles, water-resistant lining, rubber outsole, mesh lining, padded collar, mix of leather and ballistic nylon

Best use: Indoors, light trekking

Description: The Ryno Gear Tactical Combat Boots is a great choice for many because these boots are available in a wide range of sizes. If you usually have trouble finding boots that fit you, then these boots could just be the ones that you’ve been looking for.

The padded collar offers security by ensuring that your feet will stay in, while at the same time keeping any unnecessary elements such as the cold winds and water out. The water-resistant inner lining makes sure that even if water does manage to get in, you’ll still be able to continue trekking or working with no problem.

Although the boot openings are cinched quite tightly, no need to worry about your feet getting all sweaty because the mesh lining offers great breathability. Add that to the shock-absorbing removable insole and rubber outsole, and you will have yourself a pair of very comfortable tactical boots.

Ryno Gear ensures their customers’ satisfaction by offering a 100% guarantee deal. If there’s anything you’re not satisfied with, you can return these boots for free. But naturally, you can’t do that once you’ve worn the boots past their reasonable lifespan—which might come around quicker than you’ve imagined because these aren’t the most durable boots available out there.

PROS:

  • Available in a wide range of sizes
  • Great resistance to the elements
  • Breathable and comfortable
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee

CONS:

  • Not very durable, especially if you wear them during fieldwork or for rough trekking

Related: A pair of tactical boots deserves to be worn with a pair of tactical pants. CQR Men’s Tactical Pants are a favorite of many not just due to how comfortable they are, but also because they come with many handy pockets and they are really durable.

Check the price on Amazon

Maelstrom TAC FORCE Tactical Boots Maelstrom TAC FORCE Tactical Boots

Price: Approx. $60

Weight: 6 pounds

Dimensions: Not specified

Specific features: Stitched toe, molded midsole, padded collar, removable insole, rubber outsole, moisture-wicking lining, mix of leather and nylon, shaft measures around 7 inches from arch

Best use: 3-season work boots, hiking boots

Description: The Maelstrom TAC FORCE Tactical Boots are made of high-quality materials. The combination of leather and nylon make for a very durable pair of boots that should be able to withstand everything you’ve got to throw at them.

Although they come with padded tongue and collar to keep the elements out and secure the foot in, they are quite breathable and won’t make your feet sweat. Even if your feet do sweat, the moisture-wicking inner lining will keep your feet encased in a cocoon of dry comfort.

These boots are not exactly waterproof, but due to their enhanced durability and reliability, you can wear them in the rain or while trekking through muddy areas. However, they are not the best choice if you’re looking for a pair of winter boots.

These boots fit a bit small, so you’ll want to take that into consideration when purchasing a pair. Other than that, you can purchase these boots with confidence. They will not fail you anytime soon—perhaps only after one to two years of very rough use.

PROS:

  • Breathable and moisture-wicking
  • Good resistance to the elements
  • Very durable and reliable

CONS:

  • Run a bit small
  • Not waterproof

Related: Now that you’ve found a great pair of tactical boots, are you also in need of an awesome tactical belt? TRU-SPEC Belt is a big contender. The non-metallic buckle allows you to get through any security checkpoint quickly without getting held back. It even comes with a small hidden pocket you can use to store very important things.

Check the price on Amazon

Under Armour Valsetz Tactical Boots Under Armour Valsetz Tactical Boots

Price: $100 – $200

Weight: 5 pounds

Dimensions: 11 x 6 x 14 inches

Specific features: Micro G foam, synthetic leather and textile upper, UA ClutchFit ankle technology, rubber sole, OrthoLite sock liner, lifetime guarantee

Best use: Indoors, light trekking

Description: You can’t go wrong with Under Armour Valsetz Tactical Boots. They are already amazingly well-made on their own thanks to the combination of synthetic leather and textile used for the upper, but they even come with a lifetime guarantee.

Yes, it means all you have to do after you’ve worn your boots to oblivion is contact Under Armour for a replacement, and one will arrive at your doorstep soon. And no, Under Armour would not weasel out of the promise like many other companies. They most likely wouldn’t even include any additional charges.

These boots are quite the expensive pair, but we believe that considering you have to pay that price just once as the initial investment, they are well worth it. The inclusion of UA ClutchFit technology for better ankle support and element resistance, Micro G foam that offers impressive shock-absorbing capacity, and a rubber outsole that promises great traction make these boots an even better value for money.

One important caveat you’d want to note is that these boots tend to rip along the seams rather quickly. That means you may have to hold the company up to their lifetime guarantee promise rather often. If you think that’s too much of a hassle, you might want to look for another pair.

PROS:

  • Reliable boots and guarantee
  • Very comfortable
  • Good-looking
  • Run true to size

CONS:

  • Not very durable

Related: If you love Under Armour’s products and how the company stands by their goods, you might be interested in purchasing these Under Armour Storm Tactical Pants as well. Made of 100% polyester, these pants are as waterproof and lightweight as they come.

Check the price on Amazon

5.11 Taclite Tactical Boots 5.11 Taclite Tactical Boots

Price: Approx. $130

Weight: 5.5 pounds

Dimensions: 12 x 8 x 4 inches

Specific features: EVA ankle padding, integrated side vents, OrthoLite moisture-wicking sock liner, zonal lacing, shaft measures around 5 inches from arch, synthetic sole, leather and textile upper

Best use: All-purpose, tactical use

Description: The 5.11 Taclite Tactical Boots promise a nice and comfortable wear thanks to the EVA ankle padding support, great breathability due to the integrated side vents, and the moisture-wicking technology offered by the OrthoLite sock liner that keeps your feet dry.

The zonal lacing ensures a secure hold on your feet, although when it comes to fit, you might want to go around half a size smaller because these boots run big and wide.

The synthetic sole offers good traction. The combination of leather and textile for the upper make for a durable pair of boots. Oh, they will show wear and tear after around a year or so of hard use, but at least they won’t fall apart at the seams.

These boots are not waterproof, but the inner lining will keep your socks and feet reasonably dry.

If you’re looking for an all-rounder that will get you through most situations these boots will serve you well. However, if you’re looking for an extra rough pair of boots for some serious trail-climbing or hard trekking, the soft toes on these boots might not keep you well enough protected.

PROS:

  • Breathable and moisture-wicking
  • Comfortable thanks to the EVA cushion
  • Good traction
  • Reasonably durable

CONS:

  • Not waterproof
  • Not rugged enough for hardcore use

Related: You can enhance the moisture-wicking capacity of the 5.11 boots by wearing these 5.11 Tactical Level Socks inside. The combination of two sweat-wicking apparel will keep your feet dry and comfortable no matter what kind of exertion you put yourself through.

Check the price on Amazon

Original S.W.A.T. Metro Air Tactical Boots Original S.W.A.T. Metro Air Tactical Boots

Price: $85 – $100

Weight: 2 pounds

Dimensions: 12 x 8 x 4 inches

Specific features: Nylon shank, EVA midsole, leather toe, double-stitched leather and nylon upper, heel air cell, leather sole

Best use: Urban, summer hiking

Description: The Original S.W.A.T. Metro Air Tactical Boots are light as a feather. They work well as long-distance travel boots because not only do they offer great ankle and heel support, they are also built to be airport-friendly. Meaning they won’t set off any metal detectors for when you have to go through security.

The EVA midsole and heel air cell provide a comfortable enough padding on their own, but if you need some extra, the roomy interior of these boots allow you to put in another layer of padding for added support.

The leather sole provides great grip and traction on dry ground, but you’ll have to watch out for muddy areas or when trekking through the rain because it can get quite slippery.

Look no further if you desire durability. The double-stitched leather and nylon upper will hold through any kind of strain or pressure you pile on it. The only thing we’d like to mention is that these boots could probably stand to be a bit more breathable, but even if they got smelly after a while, all you really have to do is clean them, and they will be good as new.

PROS:

  • Durable
  • Roomy interior that supports extra padding
  • Airport friendly
  • Comfortable

CONS:

  • Can be rather slippery on wet grounds
  • Can get a bit smelly after a while

Related: Whether you work in law enforcement or you love yourself a good hike at the height of the summer, you can pair these boots with this Rothco AR 670-1 Coyote T-Shirt for extra comfort and flexibility. It boasts a simple design that works. It can be worn as a part of your uniform, and it also looks great as casual wear.

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FREE SOLDIER Tactical Boots FREE SOLDIER Tactical Boots

Price: Approx. $50

Weight: 2.3 pounds

Dimensions: Not specified

Specific features: Removable insole, EVA insole, rubber outsole, fast-drying, leather and scratch-resistant nylon upper, gusseted tongue, safety toe cap

Best use: Sandy areas

Description: The FREE SOLDIER Tactical Boots are impressively lightweight and comfortable. The removable EVA insole not just makes every step feel like you’re walking on air, but you’ll also be able to easily take it out and wash it or replace it with a new one if you need to.

The upper is made of leather, but unlike most leather, you don’t have to worry about unsightly scratches or markings with this one as the material is finely mixed with scratch-resistant nylon, which also adds to the boots’ durability.

The gusseted tongue makes these boots perfect for trips to sandy areas. Not even the finest grain of sand will be able to pierce through the protective layer that keeps the interior nice and clean.

These boots are not waterproof, but they are quick-drying. They also come with a safety toe cap for added ruggedness and stability.

The one thing we’d like to gripe a bit about with these boots is that the insole doesn’t offer enough arch support. It lays flat as a board, but luckily there’s enough room in there to add another layer of padding so it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.

PROS:

  • Comfortable and breathable
  • Lightweight
  • Durable thanks to the scratch-resistant nylon
  • Gusseted tongue that keeps sand and dust out
  • Quick-drying
  • Rugged thanks to the safety toe cap

CONS:

  • Not enough arch support

Related: A trip to sandy areas wouldn’t be wise to undertake without a long-sleeved T-shirt. Rothco Long Sleeve T-Shirt is a good choice not just because of its fashionable looks, but also because it’s a comfortable blend of breathable cotton and waterproof polyester.

Check the price on Amazon

Beleville TR102 Tactical Training Boots Beleville TR102 Tactical Training Boots

Price: Approx. $150

Weight: 3 pounds

Dimensions: Not specified

Specific features: Padded achilles support, unlined upper, VIBRAM rubber outsole, single density molded EVA insole, compression molded EVA midsole, 1000D Cordura nylon, grain-out leather

Best use: Urban, hard trekking

Description: You can rely on the Beleville TR102 Tactical Training Boots if you tend to be hard on your boots and you need a pair that won’t give up on you. Made of 1000D Cordura nylon and grain-out leather, this is a pair of boots that will last you through many outdoor trips and tactical combat situations.

However, these boots exhibit a common problem found in many rugged footwear. You’d think that boots that boast two different types of EVA soles would be naturally soft and cushy, but you will actually have to exert some effort to break into these.

They are stiff, and the soles can be quite unyielding. But once you’ve gotten them to be a bit more pliant, they offer impressive flexibility and lend for quite a comfortably wide range of natural foot movements.

The VIBRAM rubber outsole ensures great grip and traction, whereas the padded Achilles support keeps your ankle and heel secure and comfortable. Overall, this is a great choice for those who prioritize reliability over ease of use.

PROS:

  • Very rugged and durable
  • Comfortable after you’ve broken them in
  • Reliable
  • Great traction and grip

CONS:

  • Takes some time and effort to break in

Related: The Beleville combat boots are quick-drying, but not waterproof. However, simply by adding a layer of this Atsko Sno-Seal Beeswax Waterproofing Leather Protection on top, all your water-related problems will be solved. Beeswax is a prime choice when it comes to waterproofing leather because it doesn’t mess with the breathability yet it’s as effective as they come.

Check the price on Amazon

Bates GX-8 Ultra-Lite Boots Bates GX-8 Ultra-Lite Boots

Price: $100 – $152

Weight: 2 pounds

Dimensions: 12 x 8 x 4 inches

Specific features: Rubber outsole, EVA midsole, leather and nylon upper, waterproof

Best use: River trekking, muddy areas

Description: Of all the tactical boots we’ve mentioned in this article, the Bates GX-8 Ultra-Lite Boots is the winner when it comes to waterproof capacity. If you live in cold, snowy areas, you can’t go wrong with these boots—as long as you keep the snow-trudging to a reasonable minimum, that is.

These boots are not specialized snow boots, but they are quite warm, and if you tend to stay indoors instead of challenging the frozen outdoors, they will serve your needs well. Those who love river trekking or traveling during the rainy season will find these boots more than appropriate as well.

The combination of leather and nylon for the upper equal rugged durability. You don’t have to worry about comfort either because the EVA midsole comes with a pleasant arch that promises impressive ankle and knee support. Add to that the fact that these boots are some of the lightest work boots we’ve seen, and you have yourself a winner.

The only thing we’d like to warn you about is that they run small, so be careful about the size especially when purchasing online.

PROS:

  • Waterproof
  • Comfortable
  • Durable
  • Great ankle support and grip

CONS:

  • Run small

Related: On those long wintry months, it tends to get quite dark and cloudy even during the day. So you wouldn’t lose your way, you should keep this QuiqLiteX Pocket Concealable Flashlight. The unique design allows you to mount this flashlight to your shirt for a convenient hands-free usage.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

Finding the best pair of tactical boots for you isn’t an easy task. There are so many options out there, and these boots can be quite expensive so you’d want to pick very carefully. But if you know what you need and you pick the right one, it’ll be a one-time investment.

tactical boots

The best tactical boots are durable enough to last you through many years of hard use, comfortable enough that you won’t want to take them off, and keep you securely tethered to the ground no matter how steep or slippery it is. Both the great wilderness and law enforcement can be dangerous. Your life is priceless, so be sure to pick a pair of boots that understand that.

Do you intend to wear the tactical boots for law enforcement purposes or hiking trips? Did you find the boots you were looking for in the list above? Or perhaps you’re searching for something really special that wasn’t mentioned in this article. Tell us all about it in the comments section below! 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Foster

Mark Foster

Mark Foster loves to push his limits when it comes to survival in the wilderness. He might go for a 30-days adventure without any food or equipment except for a survival kit and a knife. We should mention that his survival kit has 122 items in it, so he know what he is doing. Mark is working on his book to share with the world all his experience gained during those brave adventures.