What are Tactical boots: and what are they used for?
Read on to discover what tactical boots are used for, and what makes them unique from other footwear-
What actually are tactical boots?
There is no hard and fast definition for tactical boots, but generally they refer to boots that were originally designed for use by the military or law enforcement. These boots:
- Combine support, protection, and ease of movement to provide comfort all day long
- They’re also extremely durable and able to stand up to the tough conditions of an active-duty lifestyle
While style may play a role, generally speaking, tactical boots are not for looks, but are purpose-driven for function and performance.
Tactical Boot Features
The upper construction on tactical boots is designed to be rugged enough to protect your feet from the elements, while remaining breathable. Usually, tactical boots have leather or a leather-variation as the base of the upper, with mesh panels to aid in breathability.
Good tactical boots should be able to keep sand and dirt from getting in but let air easily flow through.
They should also be moisture-wicking and fast-drying. And don’t forget to take a look at the laces your boots come with, and make sure they’re strong enough, and the right length for your boots learning how to lace your tactical boots properly.
Materials used in upper construction:
- Synthetic leather: boots made with synthetic leather are often extremely lightweight and inexpensive, but they are prone to breakage and they wear out much fast than other kinds of leather
- Full-grain leather: boots using full-grain leather are naturally more waterproof, and they’re resistant to wear and tear. They are rugged and sturdy, but they take longer to dry out and are less breathable than other kinds of leather.
- Suede leather: Boots made with suede leather and incredibly durable, flexible, and abrasion resistant. They’re also breathable, and more lightweight than full-grain. This leather is used in most Garmont boots.
Insoles, or footbeds, in your boots are incredibly important because these are where the majority of your arch support comes from. If your feet feel tired at the end of the day, chances are that your arches could use some more support. Luckily, insoles in most tactical boots are designed to be replaced as they wear out, so they’re easy to remove and customize if needed. You’ll also want to make sure that your insoles are moisture-wicking, so sweat has somewhere to go. Garmont uses Ortholite®Ultra footbeds, which are designed for cushioning and breathability.
The midsole, the part of the boot in between the insole and the outsole, is where the majority of the cushioning comes from in a pair of tactical boots. A good midsole should be soft but supportive, with high shock absorption to protect your ankle and knee joints from impacts.
Materials used in midsoles:
- EVA (Ethylene-vinyl acetate): EVA is extremely wearable and comfortable. It is lightweight and water resistant, and easily shields against impacts and sharp objects.
- PU (polyurethane): PU is another great option that offers firmness, comfort, and remains lightweight for the wearer.
Outsoles vary greatly depending on the purpose of the boots. Nearly all outsoles on tactical boots are made from rubber, which is grippy on mixed terrain, but also flexible and lightweight. But the traction patterns on outsoles differ depending on what they’re designed for. Most will have a combination of deep lugs (for soft ground) and broad pads (for hard, flat terrain). For tactical boots designed for cold climates, you may see other patterns that are specifically designed to find traction without letting snow and ice build up on the bottom of the boots.
The bottom line
When it comes to tactical boots, the materials and features will vary greatly depending on what they’re designed for. The most common tactical boots are “desert boots” which are designed for hot, arid climates, but there are also “jungle boots” for hot and humid climates, insulated boots for cold climates, waterproof boots for wet climates, among so many other options.
If you’re in the Armed Forces, then you’ll also want to make sure that your boots are compliant to your branch’s requirements as well. You can read more about how to find the perfect tactical boots in our article, “How to choose military boots: a guide.”
What are tactical boots used for?
Military & Armed Forces
The original users of tactical boots, and still by far the biggest consumers today; those in the Armed Forces are required to wear tactical boots as part of their daily uniform. Though originally issued tactical boots by the military, today’s servicemembers are able to choose among dozens of different models and brands to find boots that meet their needs and regulations. There are tactical boots designed specifically with each branch of the Armed Forces in mind, and servicemembers are sure to find boots that are both protective and supportive throughout training and while out in the field.
Law enforcement officers, otherwise known as police officers, will often wear tactical boots while on patrol. Since they never know what type of situation they might be called to, it is in their best interest to wear footwear that is designed to handle anything. Police can also be on their feet for many hours a day, and need boots that won’t cause pain or strain while on duty.
Emergency Medical Services (EMS) may also wear tactical boots, for similar reasons to law enforcement officers. When EMS are dispatched to the scene of an emergency, they can never be quite sure what they’re going to find, and need to have boots that are prepared for anything. EMS are also on their feed for long hours, going between emergency scenes and the ambulance, and they need boots that will support their feet, provide traction on different surfaces, and protect them from whatever they might encounter.
Security Guards & other safety personnel
Security guards, bodyguards, armored car drivers, and other safety personnel will also often choose to wear tactical boots, again for similar reasons to law enforcement officers. When you’re unsure what you might be facing while on the job, tactical boots are a great choice to make sure your feet are prepared and protected.
While many hikers will opt for traditional hiking boots, there is a growing movement of people who choose to use tactical boots instead! Many tactical boots are specifically designed for soldiers hiking through the mountainous regions of the Middle East. The properties that make tactical boots excellent for those military purposes also make them an outstanding choice for hikers embarking on challenging multi-day hikes.
Rucking is an athletic pursuit that originated out of the military activity of ruck marching, or walking long distances with weight on your back. While many people who participate in rucking are active duty or veterans who want to stay in shape, there are also civilians who participate because it is a great form of exercise! Though you can ruck in many kinds of footwear for rucking, tactical boots are a great and highly favored option, because they’re designed with this activity in mind.
From movers to truck drivers to hunters and many, many others, there really is no limit to the uses for tactical boots. Because tactical boots are crafted to be some of the most supportive and protective footwear available, they’re a great choice for nearly any situation.
GARMONT'S TACTICAL COLLECTIONAt Garmont, we appreciate the many different uses of tactical boots, which is why we offer such a wide variety. Whether you need boots designed to keep you agile and quick on your toes, or to help you carry heavy loads across rocky terrain, or to keep your feet warm and dry in cold and wet conditions, we have the boots for you! And across all of our boots, you’re guaranteed to find unparalleled comfort and protection. No matter what situation you find yourself in, if you have a pair of Garmont boots on your feet you’ll be ready for anything.