How to choose military boots - Garmont Tactical

One of the most important pieces of your uniform is your military boots. Not only do they need to meet the regulations required by your branch of the Armed Forces, but they also need to provide support for your daily activities and keep your feet comfortable all day long. Looking at all of the different options for boots can be overwhelming, but we’re here to help!

Read on and discover the key parts of a boot to look for, how to select your size, and learn the requirements and how to choose military boots for each Armed Forces branch.


Boot Features

When reading through descriptions of boots online, you’ll start seeing specific footwear terminology. Below we break down some of the most common terms, and why they’re important.


The upper of a boot refers to the part of the boot that is above the sole and which covers most of your foot. The upper of a military boot is often made of leather and nylon or polyester. Garmont uses suede leather with polyester inserts for enhanced durability.


The insole (or footbed) is what your foot rests on when you’re wearing your boots. These are typically removable and replaceable if you need additional support and cushioning, or if your insoles wear out over time.

Garmont uses an Ortholite® Ultra footbed that provides all-day comfort, shock-absorption, and breathability.


The midsole is located between the insole and the outsole and helps to provide structure and support to your boots. The midsole is usually where you’ll find the main cushioning for your feet. It can be difficult to see the midsole from the outside of a boot, but it may be seen as a slightly different colored section between the bottom of the boot and the upper.


The outsole of a boot is located on the bottom. The is one of the most important factors to look into because outsoles come in many different designs and provide different levels of traction and flexibility.

If you’re looking for a boot to help you support heavy loads over far distances, or provide increased grip on unsteady terrain, you’re going to want a more heavy-duty outsole, like the VIBRAM® Bifida outsole used on our T8 boots, like T8 Bifida and T8 Bifida T.A.A.

If you’re looking for a boot to aid you in running and training, you’ll want an outsole with increased flexibility, like the outsole used on our T8 NFS, which has a cleat-like design inspired by athletic shoes and is made of 100% rubber.

Boot Height

The height of a boot refers to how high a boot is on your leg from the bottom of the heel. Height is important because it can offer additional ankle stability. Most military boots are 8 inches tall.


The toe is the part of the boot that protects your toes. There are many different styles including soft toe, which doesn’t have additional reinforcements, or composite or steel toe boots, which have a composite or steel reinforcement in the toe area.

Composite and steel toe boots are also called “safety toe” boots and are required for certain branches of the Armed Forces.


The heel of a boot is the back part that supports your heels. Garmont boots provide additional heel reinforcements on all of our 8-inch models.


How to choose military boots - Garmont Tactical


Other features to keep in mind for your military boots

Now that you have the terminology down, there are still a few other key features to keep in mind when selecting a military boot. 


Hot weather boots are some of the most common, designed with lightweight uppers and material to help your feet breathe in warm climates.

Garmont’s T8 Bifida and T8 NFS are excellent hot weather boots, ideal for keeping your feet comfortable despite the heat. There are also jungle boots, which are designed for hot and wet climates.

On the opposite end, you have cold weather boots, designed to keep your feet warm, dry, and protected from the elements. Garmont’s T8 Extreme GTX has a GORE-TEX® Extended Comfort waterproofing membrane to keep out rain and snow, while the T8 Extreme 200g Thinsulate has a 3M™ Thinsulate™ 200-gram lining to keep your feet warm even in freezing temperatures. 


Sizing can vary by brand, so it’s always best to use a Brannock device, the metal tool that you may have seen in shoe stores, to measure your feet. You can go into a shoe store to be professionally measured or order the device online to measure at home.

Make sure to measure both while sitting down and standing up, as the arch of your feet might flex differently when you put weight on it. The device can also measure width, so check and see if you need wide width boots.

Garmont uses standard Brannock sizing, but make sure to account for the socks you prefer to wear.

Try them on

Once you’ve received the boots you think will work best for you, you’ll want to try them on and see how they feel. Wear your preferred socks and adjust the laces all the way down the boot to make sure they fit comfortably and provide the support you need. Walk, run, and move around for 15 minutes or so to test out how the boots feel. But make sure that if you’re trying your boots on at home and not in a store that you test them on a carpeted surface to protect the sole from scuffs or damage just in case you need to return them for a different size. 

Breaking them in

Military boots, like all shoes, take some time to break in. Make sure that you purchase your new boots with enough time to break them in before you take them to training or wear them out on a mission.


Branch Requirements for military boots

Different branches and units of the Armed Forces have different requirements for their servicemembers’ boots. The chart below breaks down some of the common requirements, but make sure you always check the specific regulations for your unit.


How to choose military boots - Garmont Tactical


Garmont’s Tactical Collection

Our Tactical Collection, created specifically for the Armed Forces, was designed to withstand tough terrain and demanding field conditions without compromising on comfort. Whether you need boots to support you across vast terrain, keep you quick and agile on your feet, or protect you from the elements, we have the ideal boot for you!

Our T8 boots in Coyote are all AR 670-1 compliant and are sure to keep your feet in fighting shape!



Garmont T8 NFS 670