Best Tactical Shoes

Tactical shoes are extremely useful and can even serve as daily wear boots, especially if you have a tough job like being in the military or part of the police force. They keep your feet safe by protecting them from anything that may accidentally fall on them. So it’s safe to say that investing in a decent pair of tactical shoes can help you avoid injuries and long medical bills.

What Exactly Are Tactical Shoes?

Tactical shoes are essential meant to provide stability to the wearer. They are suitable for any type of terrain, whether flat and smooth, or sloping and rocky and you can comfortably run or walk in them as required.

Apart from being used for specialized jobs such as military use, they can also be used for walking or hiking.

Tactical shoes offer support to your feet and ankles, protecting them from strain and injuries even if you are in an extremely stressful situation. Even if you need to do some heavy lifting, the boots will keep you stable and help you get to the finish line.

What to Look for in Your Tactical Shoes

With so many specifications and features to consider, it can be quite frustrating deciding on exactly which shoes to get. But before you look at any additional features, there are some core characteristics you need to consider before making your decision:

The Outside Material of the Shoes

It is absolutely crucial for the outside material of your shoes to be sturdy and durable. The stronger the material, the more reliable your shoes will be and the longer they will last you. Generally, tactical boots may be made of leather or synthetic materials (of course, the difference in the material will also impact the price and durability of the shoes so you’ll have to make your decision based on your budget and the type and frequency of use.

Tactical shoes are not just restricted to one or two different materials. Although you will find a range of different materials being used, it is important to read the product description carefully since different materials may be suitable for different situations/ work environments.

The Design

Some tactical shoes may seem like sturdy, large-sized sneakers and others may be boots which go a little higher up your leg. Shoes that are higher up offer additional benefits such as:

  • Providing support to your leg
  • Protecting more of your leg from potential harm.

Larger shoes are also likely to have more features such as secret pockets that are ideal for storing small items such as weapons for self-defense (this feature is particularly useful for those serving in the military). There are other features designed to protect your feet from getting blisters due to prolonged wear.

The Sole

Tactical shoes feature an anti-slip sole that makes them ideal for jobs that require a lot of movement. It means that if you need to run really fast, you will be safer and your chances of slipping or tripping will be greatly reduced.

The anti-slip sole is actually quite brilliant because it will help you maintain stability as you move, even on surfaces that may be covered in oil, some other liquid or any dangerous chemicals. If the nature of your job is unpredictable and you never know where you might land, this feature is essential when you’re choosing your boots.

Proper Maintenance for Your Tactical Shoes

Since tactical shoes are generally worn for rough, outdoor use, they are likely to get dirty faster. Regardless of whether you are wearing them on a hike or on a walk in the neighborhood park, they’ll pick up dirt anywhere.

Cleaning your tactical shoes can be a bit tricky. Tossing them in the washing machine can damage the shoes (and even the machine!). Before you clean your shoes, it is important to know the material that they are made of. Different materials require different cleaning methods.

For any tactical shoe, you will need a soft-bristled brush to remove any caked mud or dirt stuck on the shoes. If there are any scruff marks, get a shoe eraser to remove them. If your shoes still aren’t clean after this, then you will need to dampen a cloth with either a commercial detergent (preferably a mild one) or a little bit of white vinegar. This will get rid of any stubborn stains that refuse to budge.

If you are very particular about your shoes and always want them to look their very best, you can invest in a veteran boot/shoe buffer. This will make them shine and get rid of any dirt or scruff marks.

Lacing Up Your Tactical Shoes

After putting on your boots, pull your socks up in case they were pulled down or got stuck while you were putting your shoes on. Start off by putting the laces in the first two holes by the bottom of the shoe. This will create a horizontal line. Cross the laces over so that you are left with a cross.

Thread the laces in the same way through the remaining holes until you’ve covered them all. You may find that even after you’re done, there might still be a significant amount of lace left over. Join them together and wrap them around the top of the shoe (this is particularly easy if you have a pair of boots).

Once you’ve wrapped the lace, the remainder needs to be tucked under the lace you just finished wrapping. At this point, the lace ends will be facing upward and you can tuck it over inside the shoe so that it doesn’t come in the way or get stuck somewhere when you are on the go.

Our Top Picks

Lucky for you, we have put together a list of the best tactical shoes on the market and we’ve displayed all their qualities, the good and the bad so that you find it easier to make your decision.

1. The Premium Choice- Danner Acadia Boots for Men

The company has been involved in designed military footwear for nearly 8 decades, and with experience comes expertise and a knack for choosing just the right material and style to design the best tactical shoe ever.

The Acadia is designed as one of their more premium products with a considerably high price point. The investment does however provide something of high quality- the outer material is a full-grain leather with a bottom layer of nylon to prevent the shoes from getting stuffy if you wear them for too long. They are waterproof and will get you through any type of weather without soaking your feet.

The shoes are designed to survive the harshest conditions and last you for nearly a lifetime. The soles are lined with Vibram rubber which provides a sturdy grip and protects your knees even on the most rugged terrain. The shoes generally don’t have any faults or get damaged easily, but if something happens, you can send the boots to the company and they’ll take care of the repair work for you.

Why it’s Great

  • The leather is durable and weather resistant
  • The inner lining is breathable
  • The rubber sole provides a strong grip and prevents sudden sliding or jerking of the knees

What We Didn’t Love About It

The price is too high for the average user.

2. Belleville TR960ZWP KHYBER Tactical Boot

Like the previous one, this shoe also has a genuine leather exterior, but it takes things one step further by providing additional protection to your feet. This is in the form of a steel coating around the toe area. This does increase the weight of the shoe, but the steel coating makes them more durable and suitable for pretty much any type of job.

The inside of the shoe is lined with Gore-tex (a waterproof, breathable fabric) which brings the added advantage of protecting your feet from substances such as oil or lubricants. If you work in an oil mine or places where other such substances are used, these boots are a staple since leakages and spill overs are part of the job. They also feature a Vibram rubber sole for a better grip and more stability as you move.

Why it’s Great

  • The leather exterior makes them extremely durable
  • Extra protection for your toes because of the metal coating
  • Liquid-proof interior
  • Anti-slip rubber sole

What We Didn’t Love About it

  • Heavier than soft-toed boots
  • Expensive

3. Under Armour Stellar

Although tactical boots are designed for tough, outdoorsy tasks, oftentimes, their designs become too big and bulky. This Under Armour design gives you the best of both worlds- not only does it have pretty much all the core features, but it also has a sleeker, less chunky design.

They are shorter than most tactical shoes but provide the same level of comfort and stability. The exterior is genuine black leather which is both sleek and durable. The synthetic rubber finish makes them waterproof (and all other liquid-proof) and makes them breathable so you don’t feel suffocated if you’re wearing the boots for too long.

The exterior of the boots around the toes features quick-drying technology so that in the odd chance your shoes do get wet, they’ll dry in no time at all.

Apart from having a stellar design, the shoes also have a price point that is much more affordable than option 1 & 2.

Why it’s Great

  • Sleek design
  • Durable, leather exterior
  • Breathable, rubber interior
  • Quick to dry

What We Didn’t Love About it

  • Somewhat lower quality than some of the more premium options on the market
  • Lower height provides less leg support and protection.

4. Saloman Urban Jungle Ultra Tactical Boots

Renowned worldwide for being among the best tactical boots on the market worldwide, the Saloman Urban Jungle Boots have plenty to offer in a semi-sleek design and a price point that is expensive, but worth it.

If you’ve never heard of Saloman’s tactical footwear, you will at least be familiar with the brand’s range of hiking and camping equipment. Similar to the previous shoe, these ones also feature a black, leather exterior. It has a non-shiny appearance making it sleek, subtle and smart.

However, the boots are not waterproof, making them less than ideal for wet climates and limiting their overall usage. The boots will somewhat be redundant for certain jobs such as oil rigging or working with any other fluids that are likely to leak onto your feet.

The long height of the boots provides extra stability, support and protection for your feet. The nylon lining keeps the boots breathable and comfortable, no matter how long you have them on.

The shoes are designed to resemble the natural curves of your feet, making them easier to move around in. This same design helps the shoes grip onto any surface and you can walk comfortable on even the most rugged surface!

Why it’s Great

  • Durable, leather exterior
  • Semi-matte finish for a classier design
  • Additional height for more leg support
  • Anti-slip grip
  • Soft toed and lightweight

What We Didn’t Love About it

  • Expensive (not as much as the Danny’s, but still quite pricey)
  • Not waterproof

5. Tactical Men’s ATAC 1.0 Military Storm Boots, Style 12004

These boots finally feature something we haven’t seen so far in the list- an anti-bacterial drilex lining. Being out on the field or at any job requiring tactical shoes is likely to expose you to dirt and germs. These boots keep your feet clean, no matter where you are and what you are doing. They are very multipurpose and suitable for nearly any task, from military use, to firefighting to working at an oil rig.

The exterior is a mix of leather and fabric and quite durable and reliable. The synthetic sole makes them stable and prevents you from slipping. The nylon side panels provide breathability to the boots and keep them from getting stuffy. The height of the boots also provides more stability and comfort to your feet.

There is also a hidden side pocket which is great, especially if you’re in a dangerous area.

However, the sizing of the boots is not perfect and it is better to try them on in person to ensure they fit right. A shoe that is too tight will get stuffy and make your feet sweaty and slippery. A shoe that is too loose makes it impossible for you to move around quickly.

Why it’s Great

  • Anti-bacterial lining
  • Useful for any task in any environment
  • Durable
  • Synthetic sole for increased stability

What We Didn’t Love About it

  • Not a universal fit

6. Merrell Moab Work Men’s Boots

Similar to Saloman’s specialization in designing hiking boots, Merrell is known for the same. However, they’ve come out with the Work Men’s tactical boots that combine comfort with functionality to give you one of the best tactical shoes.

If you wear tactical shoes on a daily basis and you know that they’ll put be put through the wringer every time you wear them, then these ones are perfect for you.

The exterior is a mix of leather and fabric and there is even a range of color options to choose from. They feature a Vibram rubber sole that provides a strong grip and stability for the entire day.

These boots tick nearly every box on the list: they are waterproof, have a special toe cap resistant to abrasive surfaces and a nylon, breathable lining. The price is somewhat steep, but with the number of features on offer and their ability to survive in even the roughest, toughest environment makes them a worthy investment.

Why it’s Great

  • Leather and fabric mix exterior for durability
  • Comfortable in even the most extreme environments
  • Semi-expensive

What We Didn’t Love About it

  • Thick sole can feel a bit stuffy after prolong use
  • Might not provide a firm grip on slippery surfaces.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do tactical boots usually feature a steel toe or a soft toe?

While you may have come across some designs featuring a steel toe, tactical shoes usually have a soft toe. The soft toe makes the shoes flexible and lightweight which is ideal if you’re dealing with rugged or sloping terrains. However, if you’re looking for added safety and protection and don’t mind the weight of the steel toe, then there are plenty of great options available in the market such as the Belleville Tactical Boot described at #2.

What is the standard height of a tactical shoe?

There is no one height that is fixed for tactical shoes. However, the popular height is 8 inches. It provides a good amount of comfort and protects a little more of your leg when you’re out and about. However, this doesn’t discount the fact that shoes with lesser or greater height also provide protection, comfort and stability to your feet. In most cases, it is a matter of personal preference as to which height you find more comfortable for everyday use.

Are all tactical shoes waterproof?

While many people take it for granted that their tactical shoes will probably be waterproof, it is best to check the product description since not all of them feature a waterproof lining. You will find some shoes on the market that are not waterproof at all, and you will find others that are not only waterproof, but they are also resistant to other substances such as oil, lubricant and chemicals.

Do all tactical shoes have a lace-up style?

While the majority of the tactical shoes on the market feature a lace-up design, some don’t. If you are someone who cannot deal with laces, then you can opt for something known as the tanker boot. Tanker boots feature straps and were initially designed to be worn inside tankers. However, they are a little more difficult to find than lace-up boots since the lace design is more reliable and durable.

End Note

You can get your hands on your favorite pair of tactical shoes through e-stores such as Amazon, or through specialized stores in the region you live in. The best tactical shoes are comfortable and durable and can be your companion on type of land in any kind of weather. Their anti-slip feature means that whether you’re running through a rainstorm or scrambling on the side of a mountain, your foot won’t suddenly slide.

It is crucial that when you start looking at different brands and types of tactical shoes, you need to consider what is important to you, such as the type of material, the presence of hidden pockets, the height of the shoe, and so on. Ideally, it is better to spend a little extra time trying to find the right pair of shoes rather than ending up with something that you have to compromise on or replace.

The right tactical shoes will help you move faster, make you more agile, and overall just improve your performance. They’ll never be a hindrance and will always push you forward in the right direction.