Best Firefighter Boots for Men Reviewed & Rated
Being a firefighter is challenging profession. You put your life at risk to save others. However, in the process you must take care of yourself and your daily life as well. One of the most major components we tend to neglect is equipement, and most notably, the foundation of any equipment – the shoes. If you are a firefighter, you know that the long hours on the job, with the exposure of multiple hazards, can really wear you down, especially your feet. Having better protection, while complying with the protection requirements, is crucial when choosing firefighter boots.
How to Choose the Best Firefighter Boots
Usually, depending on the law in your State or country, the employer should be responsible for purchasing the right EMS boots. However, if this is not the case, you must be aware of what makes protective footwear great and what kind of fireman boots will be most suitable for your situation. In fact, if you are employer searching to purchase firefighter station boots for your employees, among complying with the requirements, you must also consider the safety and comfort of your employees as well as the overall cost of the firefighter boots and how it compares to other options.
Our Top 3 Picks
Understanding Certification and Standards
While there are different laws and requirements for each state and country, in the US the general requirements with regard to firefighter footwear comes from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. According to the OSHA Regulation 1910.136, employers have to provide their staff with boots that protect them from any type of injury, including such due to physical activity, piercing objects and even electrical hazards. OSHA further recommends the guidelines presented by the American Society for Testing and Materials when choosing the best firefighter boots.
The National Fire Protection Association also sets the standard for fireman boots. According to the NFPA, the boots designed for firefighting must have an upper with a lining, an outer sole that has a heel and an insole that also provides the wearer with puncture-resistance. Other notable specifications for firefighting boots according to the NFPA are the impact and compression resistant protection of the toe cap. Usually boots certified by the NFPA, should be perfect for your firefighting work.
Usually, EMS boots must comply with the ASTM Standard F413-05. However, you should note that this certification on footwear only means that the footwear has met the minimum requirements for design, performance, classification of protective footwear and testing. While it does meet the minimum requirements, it is safe to assume that all firefighter boots that are F413-05 certified are different to a huge extend.
- In order to be able to better compare different fireman boots, you should be aware of the rating provided by ASTM. Usually there are different digits that follow the F2413 certification. They indicate the year to which the footwear complies, e.g. 07 refers to 2007.
- I/50 and I/75 – This definition stands for the impact rating of the boot. The two most common types of measurements done are 50 and 75. Footwear, which has been rated I/50 is able to protect the toes from an impact of up to 50 foot pounds, while 75 protects them from an impact of up to 75 foot pounds respectively.
- C/50 and C/75 – Similar to I/50 and I/75, the C/50 and C/75 ratings in a footwear mean that the toes are protected from compressive loads up to 1,750 pounds with C/50 rating and 2,500 pounds with C/75 rating respectively.
- NFPA – NFPA certification is another certification that fits within the national regulation standards. NFPA stands for the National Fire Protection Association and usually they are the ones who set the standard for protective footwear.
Best Firefighter Boots Reviews Guide
In order to help you out with your choice of protective gear, we’ve decided to gather up a list of what we believe to be the top ten best firefighter boots currently on the market. Below, you will be able to read a review about each one of our choices, as well as a score provided by us with regard to five different categories, including protection, comfort, durability, price and certification. When it comes to protection we grade the boots with their protective purposes in mind. In certification, we take in account whether or not the boot has been certified and provide you with information about the certification of the firefighter boots we are reviewing at a glance. The price we discuss with regard to the quality of the boot and how it compares to other boots on the market. The comfort factor, as expected, aims to deliver a proper score on how comfortable the boot is on the wearer and the durability score shows how easy/hard the care and maintenance needed for the boot is as well as the overall durability of the boot.
Without further ado, here are our top 10 Firefighter Boots.
Top 10 Firefighter Boots for Men Reviews
1. Magnum Men's Response III 8.0
While one of the best affordable fireman shoes, the Magnum Men's Response III 8.0 Side-Zip Slip Resistant Work Boot nonetheless has a few drawbacks. One of the main drawbacks is that the boot is not certified, not only to reduce the cost of the boot, but also because it doesn't manage to offer the needed protection to get the certification. As a whole, while the boot will be perfect for walking around long hours at the fire station, it is not the best choice when it comes to emergency situations. While slightly waterproof, the boot is not flame resistant and while you won't be slipping with its slip and oil resistance technology, there isn't any other type of protection offered by the boot. All in all, if you are searching for an affordable shoe that will entice any fireman enthusiast, the Magnum Men's Response III 8.0 Side-Zip Slip Resistant Work Boot is a great choice for you. However for the working firefighter professional, you might want to look for other affordable options.
- Made of leather and nylon
- Oil and slip resistant carbon rubber outsole
- Not certified
2. A.T.A.C. SHIELD 8 Tactical Boot
Another great thing about the 5.11 Men's A.T.A.C Shield 8" Side Zip CSA/ASTM Tactical Boot with Safety Toe is the fact that the boot doesn't have a metallic shank further improving your overall mobility. What's more the boot have an antibacterial and moisture wicking lining with open cell foam cushioning so your feet will be healthy and breathing even in the long work hours at the station or in emergency situations. The full grain leather construction of the boot is further protective of your entire boot and the boots have a covert tactical pocket. The boots aim to deliver great accuracy and speed, while protecting your feet. One of the main drawbacks of the boots is the zipper, and while the boot does have a certified protective toe, it is not up to par with some of the other safety toes featured on more expensive boots. Nonetheless, these boots are some of the best EMS boots on the market today.
- Very comfortable
- Protective toe is not up to par
3. HAIX: Airpower R1 U.S., 8
- NFPA certified
4. Maelstrom Men's TAC FORCE 8 Inch Waterproof
Despite its low price, the Maelstrom Men's TAC FORCE 8 Inch Waterproof Military Tactical Duty Work Boot with Zipper do have some great protection capabilities. They are lightweight so you will be able to move quickly in emergency situations and they have a shock-absorbent cushion that manages to deliver both comfort and protection. Furthermore, the boots have a shock-absorbing molded midsole with an athletic cemented construction. Overall, they are a great affordable EMS boots choice.
- Offers great protection
- Shock-absorbing molded midsole
- Don't have any certification
5. Thorogood 9
- Composite safety toe
- Does not clear metal detectors
6. Adtec Men's 10'' Fireman Logger Boots Oil & Heat Resistant
- Fire resistant
- Don't have a steel toe
7. Magnum Men's Response III 6.0 Slip Resistant Work Boot
- Breathable upper and a synthetic sole
- Not as durable
8. Original S.W.A.T. Men's Classic 9-Inch Tactical Boot
- Full grain leather
9. Danner Men's Striker II EMS Uniform Boot
- Offers great protection
- Made of Full-Grain Leather
- Rubber sole
- Secure lace-up shaft that has a padded tongue
- The zipper does not have a solid retention
10. Danner Men's Wildland Tactical Firefighter Work Boots
- NFPA certified
- Completely fire resistant
- Very comfortable
Understanding Firefighter Boots Materials
When choosing among the best firefighter boots, you should also be aware of the materials that are used in the making of the boots. The two most common types used for the overall boot are rubber and leather. Usually rubber is considered to be a more modern option that allows the wearer to move faster and more easily. Furthermore, rubber EMS boots are usually completely waterproof. However, leather boots have their benefits as well.
In the making of protective footwear, the leather is usually combined with other resistant materials and tends to be more comfortable and to fit better. Furthermore, leather boots usually provide better ankle support, making them the better choice for the long hours on the job. On top of that, research done in both Auburn University and the University of Mississippi shows that firefighters wearing rubber boots are as much as four times more likely to get injured due to falling or slipping, compared to those wearing leather boots.
While rubber boots are sometimes the cheaper option, employers and firefighters considering purchasing EMT boots should also consider the fact that leather is also able to shed more chemicals when washed off, compared to rubber. Another reason why firefighters prefer leather boots is the fact that they are lighter than rubber boots.
Another main difference in the materials in different boots is the toe cap. Usually the two most common toe caps used in firefighter boots are steel and composite toe caps. The steel toe caps are found in most firefighter station boots, due to them being around longer. While steel toe caps are cheaper, consumers usually prefer composite toe caps, as they do not conduct heat. Furthermore, they may be 30 percent less heavy than the steel-toe caps.
General Tips when Picking a Boot
As aforementioned, usually a NFPA certified boot should be perfect for the firefighters. Usually, when you are picking EMS boots, you should look out for a few certain factors, including the boot’s durability, the boot’s flexibility, as to how fast it lets you move, and the comfort factor as well as the protection factor. Usually, as you are searching for firefighter boots, you should find a boot that protects you from fireground hazards, and one that offers you great ankle support and one that is comfortable. This will further give you agility and speed in doing your everyday emergency tasks and will also be suitable for you in the long hours spent at the fire station.
As long as the boot has an NFPA standard and is sold by a reputable dealer, you should not worry about the protective features provided by the boots. With that in mind, if the boot is NFPA certified, you should focus on the boot’s comfort features and its durability. Furthermore, you should focus on how well a boot fits your foot and if you are actually comfortable wearing the boot. If you are an employer or if you are put to the task of purchasing the firefighter boots for your colleagues, you can do further research by contacting other firefighters on other departments to ask them about their choices and the comfort and durability factor of EMS boots, as these two factors are also a major concern towards safety. Furthermore, if you are about to purchase boots for the whole department, make sure to contact the local sales representative of the company of your choice, as they might be able to send out free boot samples, which your colleagues or employees might try on, to further help you out on your task of finding the perfect boots that have NFPA certification, comfort and durability. What’s more, if you are about to purchase more than one pair, even for yourself, you might get additional discounts from the sales rep. However, Amazon is nonetheless still a great choice when purchasing one pair, as most suppliers offer great customer support through Amazon and there you will also be able to find further discounts when purchasing in bulk or even when purchasing one pair of boots.
Overall, we’ve gathered a list of the best EMS boots. Our list also contains information about the certification of your boots so even if you are purchasing EMS boots for fireman enthusiasts or if you simply want better boots for yourself that offer customer support and protection, you will be able to find them on this list.
The Biggest Firefighter Boots Suppliers
To be able to make a more educated decision when purchasing firefighter boots you must also be familiar with the different EMS boot suppliers. While there are a number of companies manufacturing and supplying boots, the biggest names in the industry are Haix, Magnum, Bates, Thorogood, 5.11 Tactical, Danner and Under Armour. We’ve given more info on each of the leaders in the industry below.
With more than twenty years of experience in the EMS boots market, Haix is one of the top choices when it comes to firefighter boots. Presenting their product as being designed by firefighters for firefighters, Haix shoes are used by fireman all around the world, Including in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Mexico City, Los Angeles and New York. Furthermore, the boots provided by Haix have been named by the TV magazine show GALILEO as the toughest boots in the world.
Magnum is another world recognized brand for protective footwear. Usually they outsource the making of their boots to third-party manufacturers, but they ensure the quality and certification in the process. Furthermore, Magnum presents their EMT boots as being the most comfortable boots for fireman.
Bates praise themselves as being the honorable US footwear. Made in the USA, Bates provides EMS footwear for firefighters that meets the national standards. While at times Bates boots are a bit more expensive, the company often indulges in charitable campaigns that show support for the US troops and help other honorable initiatives.
Thorogood are another brand that makes most of their work boots in the USA. However, they aim to deliver the best combination of great quality and affordability. With over 75 years of experience on the footwear market, Thorogood are a trusted brand among the firefighter boots community.
5.11 Tactical designs and manufactures gear especially for the workforce sector. When it comes to EMS boots, the offer some of the best options on the market. The company is well known for their innovation in materials and production process. Their Tefon treatment for example, makes the boots more resistant.
In the industry of footwear since 1932, Danner is another well-known brand that makes EMS protective footwear. Crafting their boots with extreme precision, they aim for unmatched superiority on the market. Furthermore, they indulge in rigorous testing of their boots.
Under Armour is a company that provides equipment and gear for a number of careers, including firefighters. While not strictly specializing in firefighter boots, they offer some great certified choices.
Further Tips on Firefighter Boots
The Care/Maintenance of Fireman Boots
When it comes to the care and maintenance needed of fireman boots there are a few things you should be aware of. Usually, if you are a working professional, you would be required to perform an advanced inspection and cleaning of your boots at least once per year. Usually, to clean your boots, you can use a soft cloth and warm water. To clean it, simply scrub gently any soiled areas. If you are cleaning leather boots make sure that you avoid the use of any soap or detergents when cleaning the boots, as this will reduce their water resistance.
Furthermore, if you want to remove any tougher stains, make sure that you are using silicone liquid, but also make sure that the leather is completely dry, before you apply the liquid. By performing this process at least once per year, you will further ensure that your firefighter boots will sustain you throughout emergency situations and for work throughout the fire stations for years to come. Sometimes, boot manufacturers go further by providing you with specific instructions for the cleaning and periodic inspections of your boots, so make sure to follow those, if they are available. Also, make sure to inspect and clean your boots regularly, especially if you’ve been into an incident that has involved hazards, which your boots have been exposed to.
Firefighter Boots FAQ
Q: What Makes Firefighter Boots?
A: When it comes to firefighter boots, they must comply with the standard provided by the National Fire Protection Association. Usually NFPA-Certified boots are constructed to provide the needed safety and security for firefighters needed on the job. However, some firefighter boots are not certified, as this lets the seller reduce the cost of the manufacturing process and thus make their boots more affordable.
Q: Is NFPA-Certification Compulsory?
A: Some manufacturers choose to avoid NFPA certification in order to lower the cost of the boot. There are other certifications that might apply to the boot for the provided safety and protection. However, due to regulations, usually your EMS boots should be compliant with certain standards. Depending on where you work, you might be able to purchase your own boots, but you should be careful when purchasing non-NFPA or boots that don’t have any other certification, as well as non-Certified boots, that doesn’t offer the needed protection and comfort.
Q: What Are the Protective Features of Firefighter Boots?
A: Usually, if the boot is NFPA certified, you should not worry about the protective features of your firefighter boots. The usual protective properties of an EMS boot include fire and flame resistance, as well as an oil and slip resistant outer sole and piercing protection inner sole. While there are many protective features of firefighter boots, you should be advised that even the best EMS boots with all the certification there is don’t offer full protection, even when new. So make sure to keep this in mind.
Q: How Important is Comfort with Firefighter Boots?
A: While most consider comfort to be an unimportant factor, when purchasing firefighter boots, it can further be valued as a protection factor as well. In hazardous situations, your feet must be comfortable and you must have enough agility to move quickly, without getting distracted by lack of comfort in your boots.
Q: Can Firefighter Boots be Used for other Purposes?
A: Yes. While designed for Firefighter professionals, firefighter boots may be purchased by anyone who wants better protection on their feet. Furthermore, they are a perfect gift for fireman enthusiasts.
Firefighter Boots Types
In general firefighter boots provide the needed protection on the foot that allows fireman to stand up to the different challenges and hazards presented by the life-threatening situations they are exposed to on their job. These hazards include slippery surfaces, difficult terrain, standing water, cuts and punctures, as well as high heat, abrasions and many more. This means that a fireman boot should protect the feet of the wearer from this dangers and also have the proper fit and provide the fireman with the right traction for ease in their movement and agility.
Usually, firefighter boots don’t have different types, expect coming into different categories with dependence of their certification. EMS boots who have been NFPA certified, for example, allow the firefighters to face the hazardous challenges on their job.
However, depending on the firefighting job, there are different variations in the boots. For example, firefighters who are often fighting wildland fires will need EMS boots who correspond better to challenging terrain, such as uneven ground and mountain sides. Usually, wildland firefighters choose rugged leather boots that give them a better feel on the unpredictable terrain. On the other hand, those who deal with proximity and structural fires often seek better flame protection. Below, we’ve gathered some information from the NFPA with regard to the different firefighting jobs and protective footwear, to help you better understand the firefighter boot types.
Proximity and Structural Fire Boots
Those who deal with proximity and structural fires often face large amounts of heat, so they will need boots that are designed to sustain high levels of heat. Furthermore, those firefighters often need speed and agility, so choosing a combat-style, lace-up boot that fits well on the foot, usually is the better choice. According to the NFPA standards, a boot designed for firefighters that deal with proximity and structural fires, should have the follow protection on top of the minimum required protection.
- Electricity Resistance – Footwear Must be able to pass an electrical insulation Test
- Toe Impact and Compression Resistance – This must also be found on the boot
- Bending Resistance – The Ladder Shanks of the boots must be tested for their resistance to bending
- Water Resistance – The Firefighter Boots Must Meet the minimum standard of waterproofing
- Liquid Penetration Resistance – The Boots Shall Provide the Wearer with Liquid Penetration Resistance for at least 1 Hour
- Pathogen Resistance – The Boots should also protect the wearer from any liquid or blood-borne pathogens
- Puncture Resistance – The Boots Should also provide fireman with better puncture resistance
- Flex Cracking Resistance – The boots should also pass a test of flex cracking resistance
Wildland Firefighter Boots
As aforementioned, those who are looking for wildland firefighter boots should look for boots that are sure-footed on an unpredictable terrain. These boots must also cover the standard NFPA certification, which includes a few points.
- Slip Resistance – The Boot should be Slip Resistant to Allow the Wearer to Better Go Through Difficult Terrain
- Cut Resistance – The Boot should be Cut Resistant in order to better protect the foot of the weaer
- Corrosion Resistance – If the boots have metal parts, they should be resistant to corrosion.
- Heat Resistance – The boot should have minimal heat resistance protection.
- Puncture Resistance – Similar to cut resistance, to protect the foot of the wearer, the boot should also have puncture resistance.
- Conductive Heat Resistance – The boot should not have an inside sole that is conditioning heat more than 100 F in testing.
- Sewing Thread Heat Resistance – The weight thread should also be tested for heat resistance.
Overall, the firefighter boots should provide the wearer with the right amounts of protection, flexibility and comfort. While different boots provide with different protection, the NFPA certification should be enough to cover the needed protection for firefighters. These boots should be able to protect the feet of the firefighters even in unexpected extreme and unusual conditions, including the presence of fuel, fumes and more. Usually, the design and construction of the footwear should aim to deliver a comprehensive protection, while not harming the agility and the comfort of the wearer.