11 Best Tactical Boots 2020 – Military Boots for Outdoorsmen
Are you shopping around for the best tactical boots you can buy in 2020? This guide will break down some of the important things to look out for when selecting a brand. It’ll also provide you with some examples of quality tactical boots.
Footwear is truly a branch of clothing where ‘cheaping out’ is a ridiculously bad idea. Whether you’re purchasing boots, sneakers or high heels; cheap purchase prices often mean cheap materials.
Cheap materials might be fine for a jumper, or even a tshirt. But they’re definitely not something you want to find in your footwear.
Why Can’t I Cheap Out On Footwear?
Consider this: Your shoes are the only item of clothing you wear that’s going to be consistently ground up against concrete. It will also regularly encounter tarmac and all other manner of abrasive terrain. Is that something you want made out of cheap materials?
Shoes also influence how much support your spine gets – the shape of a shoe will greatly affect your posture. Shoes that are mishapen quickly, especially at the heels, will begin to take a toll on you physically.
With that being said – you don’t need to break the bank either. Once you know what to look out for in a good quality tactical boot, you’ll know whether your money is being well spent or not.
Where Do I Start Looking?
Good quality boots can be hard to find. The market is completely oversaturated with knock-offs and poor quality products. we’ve compiled a list below of some of the best possible tactical boots you can find on the market today, with any luck they’ll last you well past the end of 2020.
Looking for these boots to serve you as part of your occupation? Are you an aficionado/collector of tactical gear? Regardless of your reasoning, you’ll be sure to find the perfect boot for you in this fairly diverse collection. It’s obvious you want to get the best quality tactical boots for a reasonable price – or else you wouldn’t be here.
You Should Know:
This guide may occasionally make reference to the United States Armies uniform guidelines. You can read up on the AR-670-1 regulations by viewing this official PDF.
Equipment that is compliant with AR-670-1 can be worn as optional wear as part of your uniform. All of the information on how to check up on a products compatibility is available in this PDF also.
As there are color restrictions on AR-670-1 boots, it’s very common to find that a popular black service boot has an AR-670-1 compliant counterpart. The Danner Tachyon, for example, comes in multiple colors – one of which is AR-670-1 compliant.
10 Best Tactical Boots For 2020
1 – Maelstrom Mil Lite Combat Boots [Service Friendly]
If you’re looking for a solid indicator of the quality of these boots, it’s this: These boots are AR-670-1 compliant and can be worn as optional wear within the military. They’re made from durable but highly breathable cow suede. The boots are waterproofed with a very durable nylon with a resistance of 1000D.
They have a comfortable high performance cushion insert that’s built for both comfort and shock absorption. This compliments the outstanding grip and flexibility of the shoes fairly well.
Aesthetically they look great, rocking an earthy tan color palette with a sleek finish, the suede segments compliment the nylon underlay really well.
2 – Danner Men’s Tachyon 8” Duty Boot [Highest Quality]
This boot is among the most popular of all combat boots in 2020. And rightly so, with a strong emphasis on function rather than form – these shoes are built to compliment the shape of your feet. They provide you with an unprecedented level of support whilst still being incredibly comfortable.
Used by cops, security guards, prison officers and all manner of service professionals across the world, the Tachyon is a great, long lasting & reliable boot of choice for a lot of people.
It has a 500d nylon upper is complemented by the waterproof + sturdy leather lining the boot. It also has a polyurethane footbed to ensure maximum comfort and durability.
The ‘Coyote’ variant of these shoes is AR-670-1 compliant, making it fit for US service usage.
3 – RYNO GEAR Tactical Combat Boots with Coolmax Lining [Best Budget Buy]
The Ryno Gear is the best budget purchase you could possibly make on a tactical boot. These boots seldom sell for over 60 dollars, but they’re easily worth double that.
They aren’t waterproof due to the zip. So you shouldn’t expect to be wading through swamps regularly.
But you can spray them with any suede/leather friendly hydrophobic spray to seriously boost their water resistance.
They’re built out of a mixture of leather and ballistic nylon, providing a great deal of comfort without sacrificing the structural integrity of the shoe. This works in tandem with the breathable mesh lining to provide you with unparalleled comfort.
The slip-resistant outer sole is lined with a useful rubber grip, the inner sole is water-resistant to allow you to walk through puddles an inch or so deep without worrying about getting soaked.
4 – Under Armour Men’s Valsetz Rts Military/Tactical Boot [Most Comfortable]
The Under Armour Men’s Valsetz seriously knocks it out of the park in terms of comfort. It honestly feels like walking on a cloud, which is a fairly impressive feat for service boots to achieve. Aesthetically, they look great too.
We recommend this boot only if you’re looking for a comfortable service boot that you aren’t planning on exposing to a great deal of wear and tear.
It’s still more durable than your average pair of kicks, but it lacks some of the toughness required for every day, intensive use.
These shoes are made primarily of fabric rather than the heavy duty leather/nylon combination we’re all used to. If you’re simply looking for the tactical boot aesthetic to go with your work clothes but aren’t concerned about durability, opt for these.
5 – Smith & Wesson Men’s Breach 2.0 Tactical Waterproof
Smith & Wesson don’t just dominate the american firearms market – they’re also pretty great at making a whole variety of tactical gear. The breach 2.0 tactical waterproof boot is a personal favourite.
Made from a tough combination of leather and nylon, this boot can survive a great deal of punishment, it’s waterproof too with a gusseted tongue to absolutely ensure your feet stay dry at all times.
If you’re looking to get some value for your money, this boot regularly sits at anywhere between ½ and ⅓ of the price of many of tt’s competitors. With the exception of the Ryno Gear combat boots.
6 – Original S.W.A.T. Men’s Classic 9-Inch Tactical Boot
The original S.WA.T Men’s Classic has some key selling points. It’s made of a combination of strong 1000D rated nylon & high quality full-grain leather. So it’s likely to hold up quite well to periods of intense use.
The inner layer is designed to quickly transport moisture outside of the boot and then rapidly dry off. This inner layer is also lined with AEGIS® Antimicrobial Protection to prevent bad odours.
The heels and toes can be polished to give them an extra sheen. The grip is slip proof and has passed the ASTM F2913-11 slip resistance test.
This shoe has been built from the ground up with first responders in mind. Whether you’re wearing these for your occupation or are looking for a reliable boot for your hobbies – it pretty much covers all the necessary bases.
Fun Fact: S.W.A.T are one of the newer manufacturers of combat boots. They were founded just months before the year 2000. Their ongoing goal is to provide outstanding footwear to law enforcement professionals.
7 – Danner Men’s Strikerbolt 8″ GTX Military and Tactical Boot
The Danner Mens Strikerbolt is a fairly high end combat boot. It has an awesome tactical black aethstetic. The black leather is polishable and coated in polyurethane to help seal the boot off against the elements – it also has a durable nylon upper.
Goretex is a brand commonly used by the British military
To top it all off, it has great arch support and an athletic design which should allow you to traverse any environment with ease. It’s cheaper little brother the tachyon still seems to provide a slightly greater level of comfort, though.
This shoe is worth the buy if you’re wearing it for fashion purposes, but if you’re opting for function over form, we’d recommend the Tachyon.
Fun Fact: Danner were founded in the 1930’s coming out of the great depression. Ran by only a handful of people, they manage to secure a contract to produce boots for the government during World War 2. This contract allowed them to purchase larger facilities and greatly ramp up production.
8 – 5.11 Tactical Men’s ATAC 2.0 8″ Leather Black Combat Military Side Zip Boots
5.11’s ATAC 2.0 provides you with the option of adopting a serious update from its predecessor. It’s lighter & comfier than ever before but has not remotely compromised its intended durability.
This boot sees widespread use amongst some of the worlds most impressive emergency services and first responders. 5.11 haven’t achieved this result through sheer luck either, serious time and consideration has been put into the design of these boots and it really shows.
It’s primarily made out of a tough, polishable, full-grain leather that’s designed to withstand frequent, rough usage. The upper is made out of a tough nylon material to better protect against the elements.
The tongue has been designed to promote airflow and keep your feet from overheating. It even has an ortholite footbed to assist in this process whilst keeping your feet dry and comfortable too.
Care has been taken to ensure your heels have enhanced flexibility, with the development of the “achilles heel flex zone” you’ll likely notice a difference in the range of movement you experience in these boots vs other boots.
It has a hidden knife pocket, where depending on your local laws, you can store a knife for self defence or survival purposes.
It even has an Agion antimicrobial coating lining the inside of the shoes to fight off bad smells and bacteria preemptively.
Fun Fact: 5.11 was the first ever brand to develop tactical cargo pants. These quickly gained popularity amongst S.W.A.T units and FBI agents alike. It wasn’t long after this upsurge in popularity they began selling a variety of products to countless service professionals across the globe.
9 – Magnum Men’s Stealth Force 8.0 Side Zip Waterproof I-Shield Military and Tactical Boot
Magnum are a top selling brand for tactical footwear, and they didn’t earn that title for no reason. They’re frequently regarded as a manufacturer of the best tactical boots.
These tough, flexible and comfortable boots have a variety of key features that set them aside from a lot of the competition.
They don’t compromise on looks either, magnum boots have a tendency to look incredibly aesthetic whilst still retaining a huge level of functionality.
The Stealth Force 8.0’s are the latest generation of Magnum’s line of tactical boots. Ten different design technologies went in to developing the x-traction zone outsole alone, granting it incredible grip. Magnum’s design philosophies have resulted in this boot being incredibly lightweight and flexible whilst simultaneously rugged and durable.
It has a leather upper, setting it aside from the industry standard of nylon uppers. It does have nylon mesh for inlays though. These inlays provide you with a reasonable amount of air flow to keep your feet from overheating.
The tongue & collar are both supported by heavy padding. This padding works great in conjunction with the heavy duty EVA midsoles designed to absorb kinetic energy and protect your feet.
Fun Fact: Magnum was founded in England. It was originally a part of an outdoor footwear company called Hi-Tec Sports. Their shoes became very popular amongst professionals in the FBI and a huge upsurge in demand caused them to develop an entire seperate brand known as Magnum.
10 – Rothco 8″ Forced Entry Deployment Boot
The Rothco forced entry deployment boot has a fairly unique design. Basically everything below the bottom of the zipper is built like a running shoe. It can provide you with a great deal of mobility whilst still retaining the professional aethstetic and durability of a tactical boot.
They’re built from a solid mix of leather and synthetic mesh. They have a comfort collar around the top of the boot to ensure you don’t chaffe up or encounter any other difficulties. This is particularly useful if you have to spend a considerable amount of your time on your feet.
Rothco even do another variant from their ‘Forced Entry’ line of boots in coyote brown. The coyote brown variant is of course AR-670-1 compliant.
11 – Tactical A.T.A.C. 8″ Storm Combat Boot (5.11)
The A.T.A.C Storm is an exceptionally great combat boot. They’re incredibly hard wearing and look amazing to top it off.
Sealed off well from the elements, you’re unlikely to encounter issues traversing muddy terrain. It’s fairly easy to clean them too, due to the fact that they’re largely made of leather.
Tieing the laces tight and you’ll discover it doesn’t matter if they’re zipped or unzipped – they’re not coming off. The zip just ads an extra layer of protection and security.
We feel it’s worth mentioning that this boot has an anti-bacterial drilex lining. This prevents the build up nasty bacteria that can lead to horrible smells and even infections!
They’ve got great grip and decent durability too. Even if you’re shopping for tactical boots purely for the aesthetic, this is a solid purchase that’s bound to last you well over a year.
Tactical Boot Buyers Guide
So you’re looking to be able to source a quality pair of tactical boots on your own. There’s a few key qualities you’ll have to look out for whilst shopping around for the correct boot. These are as follows:
Durability – How durable is the boot? Don’t just take the manufacturers word for it. Check out reviews from amazon and other suppliers to see what the common consensus is. If 98 people have a positive experience with the shoe but 2 don’t, it’s probably a safe purchase. if 50% of all the reviews state that the boot is falling apart within weeks, you should steer well clear.
Material – What materials are involved in the manufacturing process? Good quality shoes will partner up with high quality manufacturers of materials such as GoreTex to ensure waterproofing. The type of materials used will also dictate how you care for your boots too. Suede boots require a different cleaning routine to leather boots.
Anything Else To Look Out For?
Color – Color is massively important if you’re shopping around for boots that are AR-670-1 compliant. Getting the wrong color could mean you’ve just wasted your money. Be cautious: even if a seller claims the boot is compliant, double check the reviews first to see if the boot as actually arriving as the colour it’s advertised as.
If you’re purchasing boots for law enforcement or other general uses then it’s always safe to pick black – you can polish them that way.
Price – The easiest way to evaluate the price of a boot is to judge it based on how much longetivity you expect to see out of it. If it’s common to see a particular boot fall apart in 6 months but the price tag is several hundred dollars – you’re being swindled. You’re getting a bargain if you spend $120 on boots that last a year, that works out as $10 a month!
Tactical Boot Maintenance Guide
If you’ve purchased tactical boots, it’s likely because you’re expecting to have to expose your feet to some harsh conditions.
The boots are designed to handle these conditions, so it’s totally fine to expose them to the elements. But you should have the necessary knowledge to clean and care for your boots in order to ensure their longetivity.
The longer you can go without having to buy a new pair of boots, the happier your wallet will be.
The type of care your shoe requires is dependent entirely on the materials comprising your shoe. Leather, Nylon & Suede all require different levels of care.
Cleaning Your Leather Waterproof Boots
Waterproof boots made of leather are pretty common for all manner of career usage. If your boots have been exposed to a fair amount of mud and dirt, the most important thing to do first is dry them off.
Once your boots are dry, you can remove any loosely hanging mud by banging the heels together firmly. This should cause smaller flakes of mud to fall off so be sure to have something underneath to catch them.
Once you’ve gotten all the mud off you possibly can from this approach, locate a horsehair brush. Go over the boots with the brush removing as much dirt and mud as you possibly can.
Once the majority of the dirt is gone, you can use a damp (not wet) cloth to go over the boots once again and remove any dirt still hanging on.
Waterproof the boots again with waterproofing conditioner and allow them to dry. Apply polish if necessary and then you’re good to go!
Tip: If you are having issues with road salt getting stuck to your shoes in winter, vinegar is an absolute lifesaver for getting rid of the stuff. Dip a clean cloth into a cup containing two thirds water with one third of white vinegar. This solution should allow you to remove the roadsalt fairly easily with the cloth.
Cleaning Synthetic Fibre Boots
Synthetic fibres generally require much less effort to maintain & take care of. That’s kind of the whole point of them. Still, if your boots are a hybrid of synthetic fibres and leather (this is most likely the case), you should know how to clean both.
Always bang the shoes together to dislodge loose dirt first. This will stop you rubbing dirt further into the fabric.
Take an old toothbrush dip it in a mix of some baking soda & hydrogen peroxide. Scrub firmly to remove lodged in dirt from the fabric. Be careful not to use too much hydrogen peroxide and stain your boots!
Cleaning Suede Boots
Allow the mud to dry as usual, and bang the heels together. You need to take particular care to let the mud dry with suede as damp/wet mud will lodge it further into the fabric when you try to clean it up.
A common hack for removing stains from suede shoes is the usage of dawn dish soap, it binds to stains allowing you to pull them out when scrubbing.
Always be sure to use the right tools for the job, suede boots require a different type of brush than Nylon/Leather boots. You can buy specialised brushes for suede online.