It’s quite obvious that combat boots are the military boots designed especially for soldiers so that they can handle military missions and the combat training in the best way possible. We’re not talking about the boots worn on parades and ceremonial activities, but about the ones that have other defining qualities.
The best combat boots give a good grip, ankle stability and protect the feet in any rugged environment. Typically, they are made of hardened leather and only sometimes they are waterproofed. Military boot manufacturers use Gore-Tex nylon side panels, for instance, to give tactical boots breathability and comfort.
There is a great variety of tactical boots. The best military boots may be jungle boots, desert boots and cold weather boots just as well. Don’t get surprised when you find tanker boots or jump boots on the market, since the specific uses have a say in the making of the boots.
A little know-how on tactical boots
When you take a look at the military boots market, you can easily see that there are so many types and styles. This is because each country has its own military, and therefore different kinds of boots just as well. There are military high cut boots and low cut boots. Keep in mind that not all countries make military boots, but you can find tactical boots made in the UK, France, Spain, South Africa, Germany and some others.
On the other hand, fashion got into the combat boots and, all of a sudden, hip people make fashion statements by wearing tactical boots. We need to admit that one can look good when wearing some military boots, though!
But the real tactical boots are not those worn on the catwalk, but rather those that work all year long. Some black leather Gore-Tex boots made in the USA are both waterproof and breathable. Waterproofness gets you through the rain and snow, whereas breathability keeps your feet dry and comfortable through the hot summer.
Army boots… breaking them in
As most of the best army boots out there are made of leather, they may give you some blisters in the beginning, needing some time to be broken in.
It’s better to break in your military boots at least two weeks before you need to work in them. Of course, it’s absolutely possible to break them in on the job, but… better be safe than sorry. The last thing you want to think about when on field, is how that blister bothers you!
There are two main methods to break your boots in: the wet method and the dry method.
Putting your wet military boots on sounds a little bit awkward, but, as uncomfortable as this may sound, this makes your feet accustomed to your new tactical boots rather fast. Avoid this method if you have high-gloss boots, or if the temperature outside is below zero. This method requires some specific steps and you can find the detailed method online.
The dry method takes a bit longer than the wet one, but it works on all boot types and during cold weather as well. Simply put two pairs of socks on and give it a week of wear for the combat boots to break in. Work the boots that week by climbing stairs, jogging, hiking- these activities help shape the boots to your feet and accustom the various pressure points of your feet to the boots.
Keep in mind that leather boots don’t break in that easily with the wet method and you need to always use dry socks.
You need to pay attention to your military boots especially when they’re made of leather. Never use water for suede boots, but brush them with a suede brush or a metal-bristle brush instead. Avoid heavy strokes or scrubbing motions as you might damage the leather.
In the case of stains, use a spot removal solution, rubbing it carefully with a toothbrush. Soak up gently the treated spot with a dry, clean towel and never ever rub the towel!
…conditioning your military boots
Only full-grain leather boots need conditioning as they tend to crack and flake if left unconditioned. Apply leather conditioner until leather doesn’t absorb anymore and work the boots with your hands. Bend, twist and flex the boot until the conditioner is fully absorbed.
Final step… waterproofing your combat boots
Many combat boots are already waterproofed, but it’s better to apply some waterproofing solution every once in a while. Go for a waterproofing gel on full-grain leather and rub it into your boots, let it dry partially and then wipe away the excess gel.
Don’t use gel on suede, nubuck or rough-out leather but instead apply a spray-on for waterproofing.
Always treat the military boots in their entirety and keep in mind that the waterproofing might darken the shade of your tactical boots.
Practice makes perfect
Once you get your military boots, you will have to find the best ways to take good care of them. The weather and environment conditions, the frequency of wearing the boots play the most important part in you learning how to keep your boots in the best shape for a long time.
The Top 5 Tactical Boot Reviews
1) If you want to go safe, go with the 5.11 ATAC 8 Inches Men’s Boot as your military mission might need some good tactical boots that work amazing mostly in the spring/summer time.
These tactical boots are made of leather and fabric and feature a synthetic sole. They have many qualities, and here are the pros:
- they come with heavy duty YKK zippers on the side
- they are made of full-grain leather and rugged nylon
- there is antibacterial& moisture wicking lining
- the boots have shock Mitigation system
- they have a toe reinforcement and semi rigid heel
- the cushioned insole and polished leather toe bring comfort on the move
- the boots are easy to clean, feel lightweight and are waterproof
- they work great on any rugged terrain, feeling sturdy
- they give great arch and ankle support
- there is good grip and efficient traction in these boots, no matter how slippery or rocky the trail gets
- the hidden pocket in the upper part of the boots is a nice and helpful detail
- the boots are well made and come in nice colors
- the price seals the deal, for sure
As many as these pros are, there are some minor issues related to these boots. Our cons are:
- the boots have no steel toes
- they are a bit stiff at first and need to be broken in
- the boots feel a tad tight around the toe area
- they perform great on difficult trails, but they are not as durable as you’d think
All in all, these are still great tactical boots, breathable and versatile.
2) Another great option for the warm weather is the Magnum Men’s Elite Spider 8.0 Boot. These are made of a waterproof leather upper and nylon.
There are many things we fancy about these boots, so here are our pros:
- they have a composite shank
- there are web-like overlays at sides and notched lace-up shaft
- the boots have spider mesh lining with moisture control, keeping your feet dry no matter how hot it gets outside
- the Vibram outsole is slip&oil resistant
- the contoured, removable sock liner is efficient
- the boots feature well cushioned collar and tongue, giving you comfort on the move
- the breathable aero mesh lining adds up when it comes to comfort
- the toe box is roomy and the heel cup keeps comfortable your heel
- the boots feel lightweight and are easy to clean
- it’s easy to tighten up the boots and the laces remain put
- the boots need no time to break in and they are flexible and comfortable right from the beginning
- they give good ankle support and take well any kind of rugged terrain
These boots are well made and keep your feet cool in the summer and there are only few downsides to mention:
- the toe area wears faster than the other part of the boot
- the eyelets could be of better quality
- the boots wouldn’t hurt more cushioning
- it’s better to go down a size or put on double socks for a better fit.
As you can see, these are minor issues and the boots are a good buy anytime.
3) Whenever you want to get the comfort of sneakers while wearing tactical boots, try these Danner Men’s Tachyon 8″ Military Boot.
They feel lightweight and have many things to like about:
- they come with an EVA foam midsole and abrasion-resistant toe cap
- the boots are flexible and give a good ankle support
- they work great in the summer
- the upper part of the boots is completely synthetic for superior weight savings
- the speed lacing and 3-layer comfort give a snug, comfortable fit
- the boots are shock-absorbent and make the rocky trails be easy-peasy
- they feature just the right amount of padding
- they have metal breather holes and metal lace loops all the way up
- they come with simple, but efficient insoles
- the boots give a true fit and run true to size
- the tow box is very roomy
- the boots work amazing in all kinds of outdoor activities, including running
- they feature a minimalist tongue
- they have a tachyon slip-resistant outsole
These boots are worth every penny, but there are some things that could be improved. Our cons are:
- the boots need some time to break in
- they could use more padding in the upper laces portion
- they might give some red spots in the toe area
- they are not very long lasting
Despite these issues, these Danner boots are very good tactical boots that give flexibility on the move, no matter how hot it’s outside.
4) A fair priced military boots is the Maelstrom Men’s LANDSHIP 8 Inch Military Tactical Duty Work Boot with Zipper.
They have a polishable leather and nylon upper and are well made boots. There are many good things about these boots and here are the pros:
- the boots come with a rubber sole
- there is a breathable moisture-wicking lining that make these boots a great option for the spring/summer time
- the rubber outsole is slip/oil resistant and make the boots sturdy on all kinds of rugged terrain
- there is a removable, high-performance, shock-absorbent cushion insert, giving you comfort on any rocky trail, all day long
- the boots feel lightweight and the shock-absorbing molded midsole provides more comfort
- the boots have YKK heavy duty zippers with closure for fast on and off
- they come with a one-year warranty from the manufacturer
These boots give good traction and a good grip on difficult trails, but there are some flaws. Our cons are:
- they run narrow and short so sizing might be off
- the heel cup pinches a bit
- the quality of the materials could be improved
- the boots might not be very long lasting
All in all, there are more good things to mention than bad things, so you don’t get a lemon if you buy these boots.
5) Last to present for you is the Rocky Men’s C4T Tactical Boot, a military boot made of leather and fabric that comes with many qualities and some downsides, just as well.
Here are the pros:
- the boots are water resistant and fast drying, making them a great choice for the summer time, over the puddles and watery trails
- they come with speed eyelets and NATO hooks
- they are provided with 550 cord laces
- they are designed with round hiker toe
- the upper part is synthetic and features faux Molle straps
- the molded EVA brings more comfort to the feet
- the boots feel lightweight and are flexible
- the sole is soft, flat and wide and pretty grippy
- they give no blisters and the break in period is very short (only 2-3 days, if so)
- they are as comfortable as a pair of tennis shoes
- the boots are breathable and very well made
There are some things that don’t make these boots our no. 1 choice, but still a good choice anytime. Our list of cons:
- they are not for the heavy duty trails
- they are a bit noisy in the beginning, but the noise dissipates after the boots are broken in
- the boots feel a tad tight over top of the feet
- the seam where the tongue starts on the inside is quite large, causing lots of pain
- the boots are the high price side
All in all, these are military boots that work well especially in the summer time, on light trails.