Tactical and police boots are something many people don’t put much thought into. Grab something that looks vaguely like a combat boot or maybe a just a work boot with a fancy marketing campaign and call it good. Yet the stark reality is that tactical boots are more than just a rugged looking boot with the name “tactical boot” or “police boot” slapped on it. These boots should be designed with the unique needs of police and security professionals and will differ from other boots on the market. Sure, just about any boot could do the trick, but if you are spending up to an entire day in these boots, do you want something that isn’t designed for tactical or police use? We sure don’t, and in our never-ending quest for truth, justice, and really nice gear, we took it upon ourselves to find out just what made the best tactical boots and the best police boots reviews.
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5.11 ATAC 8 Inches Men’s Boot
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Magnum Men’s Elite Spider Desert Color
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5.11 A.T.A.C Storm
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Best Tactical Boots Reviews
1. Danner Acadia
So the editor gave us limited space for each boot review, which means we cannot extol the virtues of these fine boots enough. American made? Oh yes. Leather? Yup. Heavy Vibram sole? Check. Eight full inches of support? Bingo. The list goes on and on and on. In short, these are really nice tactical boots, but like all brilliant things, they are not for everybody.
These are boots for search and rescue personnel, rangers, and all the men and women who make their office in the woods and dirt and mud of America. This means if you are a city cop or a security guard on an urban beat, these might be too much boot for you. They are built for hard duty, and may not be the ideal fit and comfort for somebody who wears a boot almost as an afterthought to the rest of their uniform. A fine boot, but not for everyone. Choose wisely.
2. 5.11 ATAC 8 Inches Men’s Boot
The 5.11 Atac boots were designed to meet the strict demands of military, law enforcement, and tactical operators around the globe. They deliver comfort and performance for every professional. The upper side of the boot allows your feet to breathe while offering stability, and the toe is made out of full-grain leather offering a sturdy, yet polished appearance. These boots are made to support you when things heat up. They feature a molded Phylon midsole, a non-metallic shank, and a cushioned insole. Using the patented Shock Mitigation System and a slip and oil-resistant outsole, the boots offer you enhanced speed and superior traction, while the lining keeps you cool.
These boots are better than any government-issued model. They are well made and fit extremely well. They have a slight disadvantage because they are not steel-tipped, but what they lose from this, they gain in comfort. Unlike safety boots, you can wear these all day long without hurting your toes, making them one of the most comfortable tactical boots on the market.
3. Magnum Men’s Elite Spider Desert Color
This tactical boot is pretty much geared towards those living in arid climates and private contractors in the Mideast. The desert tan color, of course, is highly suitable for those who require boots that blend in with arid environments or even want to enjoy footwear that won’t get as hot in the sun as heat-absorbing black boots. However, they do not appear to be built for very hard duty, but rather as a sort of everyday knockabout boot, which is fine if you need that sort of footwear.
We’ve always held that sometimes it doesn’t make sense to buy a higher-end product than you actually need. Overall, though, these nicely made leather boots are comfortable, affordable and fill the entry/mid-level boot niche rather well. Go into these with both eyes open and don’t plan to go to war in them, and you’ll love them as much as we did.
4. 5.11 A.T.A.C Storm
Now, this is a pretty decent set of boots. We rarely have any problems with anything 5.11 and sometimes it looks like a 5.11 gear junkie gathering around here, which we generally consider superior to days when everyone shows up in clown suits, but I digress. What we have here is a pretty stand set of lace-up, side zippered boots. While these boots are not are hard work boots suitable for footwear destroying environments as some purchasers have found out.
Buy these if you spend more time in your vehicle than walking about, and understand that these are a sort of a cross between tactical footwear and police boots. It can be considered one of the best tactical hiking boots. We’d rate these most suitable for security and law enforcement who mainly need comfortable footwear and won’t be putting much physical wear and tear on them. Overall a solid, and affordable set of boots, if you understand the pros and cons, you’ll be quite pleased with them.
5. Bates GX-8
Right off the bat, we know that Bates has been getting some bad press lately. Long the go-to brand of boots for hard-working men and women in any boot-wearing profession, there have been claims of reduced quality as they moved production overseas. However, like all such generalizations, this should be taken with a grain of salt. Bates makes good boots, and the GX-8 is no exception.
With a comfortable leather upper, waterproof construction, and a stout rubber sole, you can take these tactical boots almost anywhere. These are most suitable for security and law enforcement professionals who spend a lot of time in rural or off-pavement locations. They are designed to squelch through mud and tromp through forest underbrush and come out perfectly fine at the end. Unless you are overly concerned about Bates’ recent manufacturing changes, you’ll have no problem with these boots.
What Makes a Good Tactical Boot?
Think of the best tactical boots as the best combat boots, only nicer and made for people who choose their own gear instead of having it made by the lowest bidder and issued to them. Here, we are trying to help choose the best fashion combat boots:
- Tactical boots need to stand up to all manner of terrain from urban streets to mountain trails. People wearing tactical boots may walk or hike great distances, and they may do it carrying a heavy load.
- Tactical boots may extend well above the ankle and will likely be designed to withstand extreme abuse and work. We find that these sort of boots will be used by the more discerning private citizen who spends a lot of time outdoors or prepares for natural disasters, or by security and law enforcement personnel who work in rural and semi-rural settings. Tactical boots will differentiate themselves from other kinds of boots by offering extra support for the feet, possibly waterproof, often lace-up in design, and usually, steel-toed for added protection and safety.
- A good tactical boot is a boot that fits your unique mission profile. However, this varies from person to person, which the market sometimes struggles to fill. Do you need a lightweight, yet highly rugged waterproof boot for walking long distances outside? Or are you a professional door kicker and looking for something to protect your feet on an intense SWAT raid where the last thing you need to worry about are your boots?
- On top of it all, the health and condition of your feet play a role in boot selection. One of us has something of a weak ankle on one foot that can roll and sprain easily. A tall, well-supporting boot cures that problem, while the same kind of support may be excessive for others.
What we look for in a tactical boot is first and foremost quality and high ratings by qualified websites like pickaboot.com. Anything less is simply not worth looking at. We wanted a balanced set of boots ranging from the low to high end that will fulfill all tasks without being repetitive. Waterproof construction is a plus but not always required. Heavy vibration-absorbing soles are an absolute must, as is stout leather construction, and whenever possible American made. We want boots from companies with a good reputation and a long-established presence in the footwear market. Names like bates should evoke quality and performance before even seeing the boot.
Ultimately we want a boot that is both stout and rugged, while somewhat light and provides extensive foot and ankle support. The treads should be aggressive and provide firm traction and support on pavement or in the woods or outdoors. They really are nothing more than fancied combat boots that are made nicer for people who buy a pair of boots out of pocket. Leather construction is a must, the soles should also reduce impact and vibration from walking and running, and almost assuredly should also have steel toe reinforcement. Side zippers are nice, but we are split on how important those are. Look for them if you like ’em.
Five Proven Tips to Find the Most Comfortable Tactical Boot
1- The best tactical boot better fits right and everybody’s feet is different. Sometimes you even have two different sets of needs for your feet. Right off the bat, we like to find boots with good ankle support. Nothing ruins your day and possibly puts your life at risk by having your ankle roll on you. Good ankle support shouldn’t just stop at the top of the ankle, it should extend upwards several inches, and offer full 360-degree padded support. After all, the ankle you save from spraining could, in fact, be your own. Don’t settle for nominal ankle support, there is simply no reason to.
2- Number two on the list is arch support. Now that is something between you and your podiatrist, but any good boot should include some sort of built-in arch support that you can supplement with inserts if needed. You may be standing on your feet all day or walking in rough, uneven terrain, or simply have feet that require extra support. Regardless of the reason, your boots won’t be comfortable if your feet aren’t comfortable. Finding the most comfortable boot may require trying them on, or at least making sure they are built a high level of quality.
3- Coming up with number three, we want waterproof construction. Nobody loves a wet, damp boot, and wearing wet footwear can even pose a health hazard depending on how long you are wearing it. Waterproof footwear is an absolute must-have for anyone who needs good tactical boots. The last thing you want hiking through the woods to find a lost camper or pursuing a suspect through alleyways with puddles of questionable liquids is to have some of that come through your boot. At best it is an inconvenience. At worst in invites hypothermia, trench foot or fungal infection. Remember folks, a dry foot is a happy foot.
4- Number four is pretty obvious. We are looking for the quality of the soles. Soles that are too thin, or wear too easily are worthless. We want soles that stand up to regular use, won’t wear out or wear down too regularly and are vibration and impact-absorbing, which minimizes the shock on feet when walking or running. Next, you want a good, aggressive tread that will provide stability on any surface from pavement to sand to forest mud. After all, a boot is all but worthless if you cannot get good traction with it.
5- The fifth and final thing to look for in the best tactical boots is what it’s made of. We prefer leather. Not only is it traditional, but it’s also durable, long-lasting, easily waterproofed, can be readily repaired or even rebuilt, and is comfortable to wear in almost any sort of weather. The leather is popular for boots because it is still nearly impossible to find a synthetic material that is as affordable, yet utterly rugged and good looking as leather. Insist on leather boot construction, and see for yourself the difference it makes for you.
Best Police Boots Reviews
Many people consider that tactical and police boots are the same things, but professionals all over the world know the difference. While the tactical boots might keep your toes comfortable and safe in all sorts of different tactical scenarios, they might not be comfortable to wear on paved roads for a long amount of time. On the other hand, the best police boots might be comfortable to wear for a long time, but they might not offer you the appropriate traction in a forest or on the sand. Furthermore, some tactical boots might not pass some dress regulations. They come in various designs and some of them can easily pass dress codes, while others will simply fail. Did you ever see a policeman with sand-colored boots? Did you ever ask yourself why not? It’s because his dress code won’t allow it. We made a list of the top 5 police boots on the market, so you can decide which to buy easier.
Maelstrom Men’s Tac Force 8 Inch Zipper Tactical Boot
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Thorogood Men’s 8″ Side-Zip Jump Boot Gen-flex
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Bates Men’s Ultra-Lites 8 Inches Tactical Sport Side-Zip Boot
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5.11 Men’s A.T.A.C. 6″ Side-Zip Tactical Boot
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Danner Men’s Tachyon 8″ Military Boot
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1. Maelstrom Men’s Tac Force 8 Inch Zipper Tactical Boot
2. Thorogood Men’s 8″ Side-Zip Jump Boot Gen-flex
Thorogood’s Jump Boots are built with superior craftsmanship. They provide durability and comfort. The upper side is made out of high-quality leather and you can either lace the boots or use the side zipper to fasten them on and off. The leather is oil-tanned and features a high-shine polished toe cap and heel counter, as well. The footbed features a custom cushion for more comfort. The mesh lining of the boot allows your feet to breathe while keeping the water out. The boot’s platform measures close to one inch. The sole is made out of rubber.
These boots look great, they really stand out. A slight disadvantage of this enhanced look is the fact that you have to polish them regularly if you want to keep them looking nice. Another slight disadvantage is the fact that only thin padding stands between the zipper and your leg, and the zipper can rub your ankle. Not the most comfortable tactical boots on the market, but good for their price.
3. Bates Men’s Ultra-Lites 8 Inches Tactical Sport Side-Zip Boot
4. 5.11 Men’s A.T.A.C. 6″ Side Zip Tactical Boot
The 5.11 A.T.A.C 6 inches boots were developed with special tactics teams and law enforcement in mind. These boots offer superior durability and performance while maintaining a nice, professional look. The side zip allows you to quickly put them on or take them off, minimizing prep time and eliminating the laces. The toe is made out of full-grain polished leather and it’s high-shine. The upper side is made out of nylon and offers resistance and support while allowing your feet to breathe and stay comfortable for a long period of time. The outsole is made out of an oil-resistant no squeak material, for superior stealth.
These boots feature the patented Shock Mitigation System that provides increased compression and rebound, increasing your speed and traction on every surface. A slight disadvantage of these boots is the fact that they are not waterproof, more like water-resistant. A huge advantage is the heat dissipation system. It will keep your feet cool in hot temperatures and warm in cold ones. This makes them one of the most comfortable tactical boots on the market.
5. Danner Men’s Tachyon 8″ Military Boot
Danner’s Tachyon boots were engineered to be the lightest and the most flexible developed for special operations or training. They weigh at only 26 ounces. In order to reach this level of weight, the experts at Danner have removed any useless features and replaced the necessary ones with lightweight pieces, without neglecting either comfort or performance. The upper part is entirely made out of synthetic material for lighter weight and a faster dry-time.
The boots have laces and a 3-layer comfort system that creates a comfortable, snug fit. These boots have a rubber outsole that is able to withstand a lot of abrasion and traction. The open-cell polyurethane footbed creates a perfect environment for your feet, allowing an optimal airflow to reach inside while keeping all the moisture outside. These boots are really comfortable and lightweight. You will feel as if you’re wearing sneakers but still have the extra protection a boot offers. You can wear these boots all day without losing any bit of comfort.
Police Boots Buying Guide
Many people don’t know this, but most of the Police Departments around the country do not issue footwear as a standard kit. But if every newbie wanted some advice from the veterans of the squad, their answer would vary largely. Some might say that the best feature in a police boot is to be highly breathable, allowing you to wear them for an extended period of time. Others might say they need to be durable because you’re supposed to spend hundreds, maybe even thousands of hours wearing them, and you don’t want to spend money on a new pair every other month. We collected information from a lot of sources and came up with this buying guide, so you’ll know what to look for when you want to buy a pair of police boots.
Durability is one of the most important features when you’re looking for a pair of police boots. Buying a pair of highly-durable boots might seem like a larger investment on your part, but you’ll actually save money in the long run. You need to be able to wear the boots for many hours over a long period of time. This means they will probably get to see all types of environments, from the arid sun in the summer, when you can fry an egg on the side of the road, to the bitter cold of winter, when you can take a step without thinking you’ll fall. This is why having a durable pair of boots from the start is mandatory.
- Low Durability – The boot is only as durable as its weakest component. In most cases, the weakest component of a police boot is either the lining or the glue that attaches the upper side to the sole. If you have a weak connection between these two components, the boot as a whole will be weak. Most models that have low durability won’t have stitches connecting the parts between them, but glue. Modern glues stick well and last a long time, but you have to keep in mind that these boots are made by the thousands every day. It’s normal to have some that present with factory issues. If you have the bad luck to find one of those, you should try to get a refund with the limited lifetime warranty the manufacturer usually provides.
- Medium Durability – Boots that have medium durability usually come with stitching that connects the upper side with the sole of the boot. But the stitching itself might be superficial and might tear up on the first bump or when you try to slide down a ramp. Another problem you might encounter is with the lining on the upper side. Most of the models come with nylon made the upper side that’s able to keep your feet cool in the summer and warm in the winter. But if the lining gets loose, all the insulation goes to waste.
- High Durability – Highly durable boots are well made. All the stitching and the lining are high quality and they will keep fast for a long time, no matter the conditions.
Traction is very important for a police officer, especially when you’re going on patrols. Patrols regularly go through tough conditions. It’s either very hot, or rainy, or freezing. In order to complete your patrol and eventually be able to outrun and catch the bad guy, you need good traction.
- Moderate traction – Moderate traction boots offer better traction than most sneakers. They handle well on asphalt or concrete when they’re dry, but if they’re wet or frozen, you’ll have a tough time turning corners.
- Improved traction – Models that come with improved traction are able to handle really well on wet or slippery surfaces. You can easily turn corners and you are able to really put force in your sprint because you know the boots won’t let you slip.
Comfort is essential for every police officer. You can’t spend hour after hour wearing a pair of boots you’re not comfortable in. That doesn’t work, it’s torture. In order to make you feel more comfortable, manufacturers developed all sorts of technologies.
- Medium Comfort – Medium comfort boots fit very snug. They have the outsole made out of rubber or oil-resistant material. The toe can be made out of leather and the upper side can be made out of leather or nylon. The lining allows your feet to breathe so you’ll be comfortable wearing them for an extended period.
- Improved Comfort – Boots that have improved comfort features have a shock-absorption system that protects your feet on hard surfaces. They also feature a cushioned footbed and are usually lighter
4. Laces or Zipper
Most models either have laces to fit the boots on your feet or a zipper, but there are some models that come with both laces and a side zipper, so you can choose which to fasten.
- Laces – Laces have been used for police boots for an extremely long time. The reason is that they are reliable and they get the job done. You can tighten them as much as you like, and they rarely break. They have the disadvantage of taking a long time to tie or untie.
- Zipper – The zipper’s main advantage is that it is quickly fastened and unfastened when you want to put on or take off your boots. The main disadvantage is that the zipper can hurt your legs if the barrier between them and it is damaged. It can act as a chafing agent.
- Lace and Zipper – These models take the best and the worst of both systems. Their main disadvantage is that in order to fit both on a boot, manufacturers place the zipper on the side, where the skin is tenderer. That makes it act as a chafing agent sooner.
5. Leather or Nylon Upper Side
Both materials have been used by manufacturers for many years now, and both have advantages and disadvantages.
- Leather – Leather’s main advantage is that it looks better. But leather is worse at insulating, so you might get cold feet in the winter.
- Nylon – Nylon might look worse than leather, but it offers great insulation. It can also have added features that allow your feet to breathe and be more comfortable.
Any Difference Between Tactical and Police Boots?
While most people consider tactical boots to be the same as police boots, they are wrong. It’s true that some similarities exist between the two, but there are differences, as well. The first difference is an obvious one, but not of little importance.
- Police boots have to be black or dark blue. There is no Police Department around the country that doesn’t have this particular specification. Whilst police boots have to fit in those colors, tactical boots can have any color the buyer wants. There are indeed some that come in those colors, but a good number of them come in other colors, such as the desert tan, gray, or green.
- Another difference is that the shoelaces must also be blue or black on a police boot, while they can be colored differently on a tactical one.
- Tactical boots are specially designed to be used in different types of terrain, not only on concrete and asphalt. This is why they usually feature a tougher, less flexible sole. The outsole is made out of rougher, thicker rubber and it has special dents to ensure good traction on uneven terrain. Police boots also feature a rubber outsole, but they have a thinner, lighter one. The sole is designed to ensure good traction on smooth walking surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt. Their sole has the role of protecting the feet for a long time, so it’s lighter.
- Another difference is the fastening system. Police boots can feature either a lace, a zipper or a combination of both. But a tactical issued boot will only feature a lace system. It’s the only regulation that will allow because it’s the most reliable. You can’t deploy troops on a mission and have them stop every 300 yards because the zipper is not closing properly or is sliding open. Another reason for preferring laces over zippers is the fact that laces don’t rust. Special troops often find themselves in different environments, and these environments might include puddles, lakes or rivers. You don’t want a zipper that might rust and make the boot tough to take out.
- Another difference between the boots is the materials they use to make them. Police boots can feature an upper side made out of leather or nylon. The reason behind this is the fact that a pair of police boots should be worn for a long period of time, no matter the conditions. They should be able to keep the feet warm in the winter and cool in the summer. On the other hand, most tactical boots are made to be worn in a certain situation or environment. They are used in a lot of different scenarios and they are specially built to last and perform in those scenarios. That’s why you’ll find cold weather boots, jungle boots, or desert boots. No matter how advanced the technology, a single pair of boots won’t be able to perform at the highest level in all those scenarios, so having a universal pair similar to the police boots isn’t an option.
Best Tactical and Police Boots Comparison Chart
|5.11 A.T.A.C STORM||$$||Leather/Fabric||Synthetic Sole||Black|
|BATES GX-8||$$||Leather/Synthetic||Rubber sole||Black|
|DANNER ACADIA||$$$||Leather and cordura||Vibram sole||Black / Black Polishable Leather|
|MAGNUM MEN’S ELITE SPIDER DESERT COLOR||$||Leather||Outsole||Desert Tan|
|5.11 ATAC 8 INCHES MEN’S BOOT||$||Leather/Fabric||Synthetic sole||Coyote Brown / Black|
|MAELSTROM MEN’S TAC FORCE 8 INCH ZIPPER TACTICAL BOOT||$$||Leather and Fabric||Rubber sole||Black and Tan|
|THOROGOOD MEN’S 8″ SIDE-ZIP JUMP BOOT GEN-FLEX||$$$||Leather||Rubber sole||Black|
|BATES MEN’S ULTRA-LITES 8 INCHES TACTICAL SPORT SIDE-ZIP BOOT||$$$||Leather and Fabric||Rubber sole||Black / Sage|
|5.11 MEN’S A.T.A.C. 6″ SIDE ZIP TACTICAL BOOT||$$||Leather and Fabric||Synthetic sole||Black|
|DANNER MEN’S TACHYON 8″ MILITARY BOOT||$||Fabric||Rubber sole||Black / Sage Green / Tan / Sage|
If you’re part of the Police Force and you want a pair of boots to last you a long time, do yourself a favor and pay the extra penny. Don’t be cheap and buy whatever you find the fastest. Do your research and buy the best police boots for you. If you don’t have the necessary time to do the research, just read our buying guide well prepared by tacticals.org editors and our police boots reviews and make an informed decision. No matter what you do, don’t get tricked into buying the best tactical boots on the market. They might not be the best choice for you and might cost more than they deserve. Choose a nice, comfortable pair with high reviews that will last you a long period of time. Whatever tactical outfit you are searching for (tactical vest or pants, tactical backpacks, tactical gloves) you keep looking for a good investment, and sacrifice neither durability nor comfort in this order.