Written By Car Bibles Staff
Published Jan. 20, 2020

Often known as combat boots, army boots are essential gear that you need in your wardrobe if you’re planning on traversing rugged terrain. These boots are designed to hold strong against the elements and provide essential support and cushioning for your feet. While associated with the military, people who work in tough conditions can benefit from these boots as well. We’ve rounded up some of the best high-quality army boots and compiled a guide to help you shop for them.

The Best Army Boots

Our Best Choice selection goes to the Under Armour Men’s Valsetz RTS Military and Tactical Boot. Under Armour is a brand that’s synonymous with quality outdoor and athletic gear, so it’s no surprise that it would win in the army boot category. This boot is lightweight, thanks to the synthetic leather and textile upper, but it comes with a host of other features that make this a premium option for anyone looking for a sturdy shoe.

You’ll like how this army boot comes with full-length Micro G foam, which is designed to give you enhanced cushioning when you land on your feet and also help you jump higher. The ClutchFit technology provides solid support for your ankles, with a firm grip that won’t cause discomfort. For extended wear, you’ll appreciate the water-repellent and moisture-wicking properties. 

Key Features
  • ClutchFit technology offers enhanced ankle support
  • Upper constructed of synthetic leather and textile
  • TPU toe cap
  • Ortholite toe sock
Specification
  • Brand Under Armour
  • Model UA1250234-290
  • Weight 5 pounds
PROS

Moisture-wicking and water-repellent

Lightweight for reduced fatigue

Full length Micro G foam provides cushion and support

CONS

Fabric upper may tear easily

Fabric upper not ideal for dirty or muddy conditions

Upper may detach from the sole

You shouldn’t have to skimp on a supportive pair of army boots just because you’re shopping on a budget. Our Best Price pick is the Buffer Zone Men’s 9-Inch Tan Military Tactical Boot with Zipper. For a very modest price, you get an army boot designed with military specifications in mind. It features a 9-inch height—which is military regulation—as well as a real suede upper and a Panama lug rubber slip-resistant sole designed to withstand oil. 

You’ll like that the collar features extra padding for enhanced comfort around your ankles. The moisture-wicking lining will keep you dry and keep your army boots breathable. The lightweight construction won’t weigh you down as you wear these boots, and you’ll appreciate that you can quickly put these army boots on or take them off, thanks to the side zip. 

Key Features
  • Suede upper construction
  • 9-inch standard military height
  • Panama lug rubber slip-resistant sole
  • Padded collar for extra support
Specification
  • Brand Buffer Zone
  • Model M2091Z
  • Weight 6 pounds
PROS

Moisture-wicking lining

Features side zip and laces

Lightweight construction

CONS

Fit can run large

Tread can wear out quickly

Upper materials can split quickly

We know that people use army boots for a wealth of reasons that have nothing to do with being a part of the military. If your work requires that you spend long stretches of time on your feet through a range of temperatures, then the Bates Men’s Eight-Inch Tactical Sport Side Zip Industrial Shoe is a smart choice. The leather upper and breathable construction will stand up to hot and cold temperatures, while the water-resistant properties make these shoes ideal for work in the rain or snow.

You’ll like that these army boots run true to size and the lightweight construction makes them comfortable to wear without adding to any fatigue your feet might experience throughout the course of a normal day. Best of all, the side zipper makes putting these boots on or removing them a breeze. 

Key Features
  • Leather upper
  • 8-inch tall army boot
  • Water-resistant
  • Breathable construction
Specification
  • Brand Bates
  • Model E02261-MEDIUM
PROS

Runs true to size

Side zip for ease of use

Lightweight construction

CONS

Can be uncomfortable on your ankles

Issues with quality control

Tread can wear out quickly

If you’re looking for a pair of army boots that can stand up to whatever you throw at them but don’t take forever to break in, then look no further than the Smith & Wesson Men’s Breach 2.0 Tactical Side Zip Boots. The leather and nylon upper features a sturdy construction that’s meant to last for years. These shoes are designed for use outdoors thanks to the gusseted tongue that keeps dirt and dust from getting inside the shoe. 

The slip-resistant outsole has a thick tread that will give you serious grip whether you’re walking on slippery floors or hiking on the trail. The reinforced toe will give you added protection against falling objects, while the side zipper makes getting in and out of them easier. And finally, you’ll like that it doesn’t take forever to break in these army boots.

Key Features
  • Leather and nylon upper construction
  • Gusseted tongue to block dirt and debris
  • EVA midsole for enhanced support
  • Slip-resistant rubber outsole
Specification
  • Brand Smith & Wesson
  • Model SWB11011-100-5
  • Weight 3 pounds
PROS

Reinforced toe

Easy to break them in

Side zipper

CONS

Coating can peel prematurely

Upper can begin cracking after minimal use

Heel may separate from the upper

If you need an alternative yet budget-friendly army boot, the Ryno Gear Tactical Combat Boots with Coolmax Lining should be at the top of your list. These army boots feature a leather and ballistic nylon upper that’s designed to stand up to whatever your feet might encounter. If a traditional height army boot isn’t comfortable, you can opt for a lower profile with three height options, including 4.5 , 6, and 8 inches.

You’ll like the padded collar that provides more comfort around your ankles. The breathable mesh lining, water-resistant interior, and slip-resistant sole makes these ideal for wearing over longer periods of time, and in wet conditions. You’ll also like the shock-absorbent insoles, which can be removed if need be.

Key Features
  • Leather and ballistic nylon upper
  • Choose boot height from 4.5 to 8 inches
  • Padded collar for enhanced comfort
  • Breathable mesh lining
Specification
  • Brand Ryno Gear
  • Model N/A
  • Weight 3.6 pounds
PROS

Removable shock absorbent insoles

Slip-resistant rubber sole

Water-resistant inner lining

CONS

Poor quality control

Heel insole can fall apart quickly

Tread on soles can wear out quickly

We’re rounding out our list of army boots with the Danner Men’s Tachyon 8-Inch Coyote Military and Tactical Boot. This median-priced boot is ideal for someone looking for comfort and support but who doesn’t necessarily need some of the other features found on other boots within this product category. The synthetic upper and removable insole help to keep this boot lightweight to prevent premature fatigue. 

The fast-drying exterior ensures that you won’t walk around with wet or damp feet. Meanwhile, the rubber outsole features thick tread for enhanced traction and more control whether you’re working in the rain or on a slippery trail. Also note that the sole is made of true rubber rather than composite rubber materials. 

Key Features
  • Synthetic upper
  • Open cell polyurethane footbed
  • Removable insole
  • Speed lacing
Specification
  • Brand Danner
  • Model Tachyon 8
  • Weight 10.1 ounces
PROS

Lightweight

Dries quickly

Rubber outsole designed to enhance traction

CONS

Unlined

Lacks side zipper

Not suited for heavy duty use

Best Army Boots Buying Guide & FAQ

Army boots are a common item that people use whether they’re in the military or not. Often, the rugged construction is perfect for people who work on their feet all day, especially outdoors or in rough terrain. Army boots can give you the support that you need without adding to any fatigue you would normally experience. 

Another reason people opt for army boots is because they also offer protection and comfort by way of water resistance and breathability. No one wants to work all day in sweaty or waterlogged shoes, and army boots come in a range of styles to keep feet dry and comfortable.

Why Do You Need Army Boots

Army boots are a critical piece of gear that military personnel wear—and for good reason. One of the most basic features is that they allow service members to work or walk in extreme conditions for extended periods of time without suffering from premature fatigue or discomfort in their feet. While you still need to pick the right type of army boots that best suits the terrain and conditions you’ll face, in general these boots offer more protection, cushioning, and support if you have to stand or walk for long periods of time. 

Depending on the type of army boot you select, you might pick a pair that offer additional features like a steel toe. Although it’s not necessary for everyone, this can be a lifesaver if you’re working around heavy items that could potentially fall on your feet. While a regular boot with a softer toe construction won’t be of much use if you drop a heavy object on your foot, a steel toe can protect you from breaking a bone or causing any other serious injuries.

Finally, one of the biggest benefits from owning a quality pair of army boots is that they often come with enhanced features to improve your comfort. This can range from moisture-wicking options that help to reduce sweat in hot weather to having actual holes drilled into the sole to help improve breathability. Again, the options you choose are going to be dictated by conditions you think you’ll experience. 

Benefits

  • Improved comfort for long distance walking
  • Provide enhanced protection in potentially hazardous environments
  • Waterproofing and moisture-wicking to keep your feet dry from sweat or wet weather

Types of Army Boots

Army boots come in a variety of configurations. In order to find the best option to suit your needs, you need to know the most common versions that are available, how they differ, and how they can benefit you. While all army boots offer an enhanced degree of protection and comfort over a traditional work boot, they are not all equal. Below, we outline the most common types of army boots and their specific benefits. 

  • Tactical Boots

Tactical boots are designed to be lighter, thinner, and more flexible. This is so that you can move quickly and frequently without feeling weighed down. Tactical boots have a thinner sole, and are also designed out of a thinner leather. Tactical boots are not designed for heavy-duty activities and aren’t designed to last as long as traditional combat boots. 

  • Combat Boots

Combat boots are what most people think of when they picture army boots, and are the style most frequently worn by military personnel. These boots are made from a heavier leather and are designed to be worn for long periods of time. Depending on the terrain conditions, combat boots can be further categorized into groups such as jungle boots and desert boots. Combat boots are typically waterproof and feature an inner, mid, and outer sole. The inner sole is built for shock absorption and can be replaced when it wears out. 

  • Parade Ground Military Boots

Of the most common army boots you’ll find, these are most likely not going to be high on your list. As the name implies, these boots aren’t designed for heavy activity like basic training or even for tactical missions. Instead, they were originally designed as a lighter army boot specifically for use during marching or simple drills. You might consider these boots more aesthetically pleasing than a combat or tactical boot since the toe caps are designed to be polished to a high shine. While it’s not a shoe that’s just for show, this type of army boot is often reserved for military events. 

What to Look for When Buying Army Boots

Army boots are one of the few clothing and accessories categories where function trumps fashion. While you might like the idea of a slick-looking pair of army boots, what’s more important is how they hold up for your intended activities. Picking the wrong pair of boots could have you limping at the end of the day, or having to replace them faster than you expected. Always take your environment and activity level, the boot’s materials, and their comfort features in mind when you shop for a pair of army boots. 

  • Environment

This will be one of the most important features you need to consider when shopping for a quality pair of army boots. As we outlined above, not all army boots are equal. If you expect to cover rough terrain and need to cross long distances by foot, tactical boots wouldn’t be ideal while combat boots would be better suited. Consider picking your army boots based on how you plan on spending the most time while using them. Always check the product description, as this is where recommended terrains and activities will be listed for the boot you’re planning to buy.

  • Materials

After you’ve determined whether or not a boot is suitable for your planned activities, look at the construction. Army boots can be placed into two categories — those that are made from natural materials and those that are synthetic. Natural materials include leather and textiles, which tend to be more durable. Synthetic materials offer a lighter weight experience, but can wear out faster. In some cases, you can find an army boot that combines synthetic and natural materials for a durable construction that won’t weigh you down. Therefore, you’ll need to pick the right army boots that meet your functional needs but won’t need to be frequently replaced. 

  • Comfort

By many standards, comfort should be the most important qualifier for picking the right pair of army boots. Obviously, these types of boots are meant to be worn through heightened levels of activity, or for longer periods of time. With that in mind, you want to select a pair of boots that will provide proper cushioning and support so that your feet avoid fatigue and injury. Look for options like cushioned insoles and supportive ankles to keep your feet in place no matter what your activity level. 

Part of this can include the process of breaking in your army boots. These are sturdier boots that will take more than a day or two to break them in so that they feel like a cozy pair of older shoes. To ensure that you’re breaking in your army boots properly, and aren’t risking blisters, always follow the manufacturer’s directions. 

Tips for Buying and Using Army Boots

Army boots are ideal for extended periods of activity in varying terrains and weather conditions. Over time, these boots grew popular with people outside the military. Whether they were worn by outdoor enthusiasts or by those working in settings that required a sturdier shoe, the army boot was a smart go-to option. But for military personnel, their choices are limited to the approved brands and styles of their respective military branch. 

For the rest of us, these tips can make the transition to army boots easier. Whenever possible, try these shoes on before buying them to ensure a proper fit. You can also test the added weight and see if it’s manageable. Unless you absolutely need a heavier boot, opt for a lighter-weight boot. Army boots are heavy, so if you don’t have to pick the heaviest model, this will make wearing them easier and more comfortable. 

Finally, look for army boots with side zips along with laces. This isn’t just about aesthetics—side zips are easier to use. Original army boots only offer laces, which is annoying if you have to tie your laces every time you wear them. A side zip makes this process infinitely easier. 

  • Wherever possible, try before you buy.
  • If conditions permit, opt for lighter-weight boots. 
  • Side zips can be a time saver. 
  • If you’re in the military, always get approval before purchasing your boots.

Best Army Boots FAQ:

If you’re new to the world of army boots, it’s easy to be overwhelmed as you try to understand how to compare styles and look for the most authentic pair of boots. We’ve outlined a few of the top considerations to keep in mind such as toe protection designations and specifications set forth by the military. 

Q: Why should I care if a boot is “Berry compliant?”

Army boots marked as Berry compliant are designed with materials from primarily American businesses. This is important if you believe in buying American-made products. 

Q: How can I figure out the toe protection of a pair of army boots?

Toe protection is designated by the initials ST, CT, and AT. ST stands for steel toe, CT for composite safety toe, and AT for alloy safety toe.

Q: I want a military boot. Which army boot is considered standard issue?

There is no “standard issue” army boot that all military branches use. Instead, look for a Berry compliant boot, since this meets Department of Defense manufacturing regulations for the military. 

Our Top Pick

If you’re focused on getting the best army boots that offer the most features, versatility, and longevity, then our Top Overall Pick, the Under Armour Men’s Valsetz RTS Military and Tactical Boot should be in your shopping cart. These boots offer moisture-wicking, water resistance, and a slip-resistant sole, along with enhanced technology to comfortably grip your ankle and provide effective support throughout the insole.

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