Best Combat Boots Reviewed & Rated for Performance
Combat boots have grown in popularity as everyday wear in the past years. It’s not uncommon to see them worn in labor-intensive work environments, and even as fashion, believe it or not. These were initially created for soldiers and military personnel but have become quite the trend in general because of their versatility. In addition to combining the functional aspects of many types of footwear, they are also a style option for those who like their rugged look. Their ability to provide stability, traction, protection, ankle support, comfort, and durability simultaneously has made them a go-to choice for many.
The popularity of this style has created a market demand that is served by numerous companies. If you decide to get a pair, you won’t lack options. The problem is sorting through these options to find the very best. That’s where we come in. We’ve done the hours of testing and researching so you don’t have to. You need something that provides adequate features, is comfortable, functional and has the quality to last. The functionality of these options should not be overlooked, even if style is also a consideration. A quality pair will help reduce fatigue when worn over long periods of time, encourage increased blood flow in the feet, prevent accumulation of moisture that could lead to bacterial infections, provide ample cushioning and provide ample foot protection from external debris.
- Ryno Gear CoolMax
- Zipper Closure
- Shock Absorbing Insole
- Garmont T8 NFS
- Vibram Outsole
- Canvas Upper
- Original S.W.A.T. Classic 9
- Phylon Midsole
- Thermoplastic Heel Counter
It will take hours to look up and compare the countless available options; time that you may not have. We understand, so we’ve done the research and included all the info on the best pairs in one place! After thorough and extensive research, comparing thousands of reviews and applying our criteria, we’ve come up with a list of the top ten products on the market. This list is constructed based on stringent criteria that include the best characteristics this style can offer and wear tester reviews, containing a variety of options for both men and women.
10 Best Combat Boots
1. Ryno Gear CoolMax
The upper of the Ryno CoolMax is both comfortable and durable, and makes these shoes a good choice for those looking for something breathable, lightweight and that allows for a wide range of motions. The side zipper ensures easy on and off for a hassle free experience.
The inner lining is designed with water-resistant fabric that ensures that the feet are kept warm and dry. The insoles are removable and provide unique shock-absorbent properties that keep the feet well protected from rebound force, preventing fatigue and pain that may happen after hours of standing or walking.
Cost and Value
With a price that's quite low, perhaps the lowest on this list, the Ryno CoolMax is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an affordable pair of combat boots to wear wither on a daily basis, or for rugged outdoors wear during hiking excursions. Do note, however, that these may not meet all standards that are required of uniformed personnel.
Leather and Nylon Upper
Moisture Wicking Lining
Good Shock Absorption
Runs Slightly Large
2. Garmont T8 Bifida
Vibram is a strong and durable material that stands up well to abrasion, which is why it's so popular in footwear made for uniformed personnel and rough sports. The T8 Bifida features hard wearing soles that'll last quite a while, and will even outlast the very durable upper.
The materials of this style are made to be quick drying. It has excellent ventilation with mesh inserts and the suede and leather upper will also dry out quickly. This is a perfect choice of footwear for traveling the backwoods and marshy areas.
Cost and Value
With a mid-range price, the Garmont T8 Bifida is an affordable option for most. For the small investment, you are getting a pair of shoes that will work as hard as you do, last a very long time, and will dry out well. It is available in 2E width for those with wider feet.
- Wide Widths Available
- Vibram Outsole
- Suede & Leather Upper
- Nylon Mesh Inserts
- Weak Laces
3. Original S.W.A.T. Classic 9
The collar on the Classic is padded with foam to prevent ankle rubbing and blisters which are common with similar footwear. The inside of the boot is treated with antimicrobial protection that prevents odors, and the lining wicks away moisture, so that the health of your feet is put first.
These boots feature a custom made phylon midsole, similar to those you would find in certain running shoes. It absorbs shock and prevents it from traveling to your joints and muscles. Additional comfort features include a removable EVA foam insole, a steel shank for support, a gusseted tongue that’ll keep debris out, as well as a thermoplastic heel counter and toe box that’ll mold perfectly to your feet for a superior fit.
Cost and Value
With a price that falls slightly under the $100 mark, the Original S.W.A.T. Classic 9" is an excellent choice both for professionals, as well as for those looking for a badass boot that’ll work for years. It’s important to mention that this is a pair of shoes that’s slip and oil resistant as well, and that it performs exceptionally on ASTM F2913-11 test standards, giving you great bang for your buck.
Leather and Nylon Upper
Shock Absorbing Midsole
Oil and Slip Resistant
Rust Proof Hardware
Soles May Separate
4. Magnum Elite Spider 8.0
It's important to take in to account the opinions of military personnel to really get a feel for how effective these truly are. While going over countless reviews, these were consistently noted as being lightweight, comfortable, and great for all training activities. While there was mention that they do scuff over time, overall reviews were extremely positive and many found these held up well in wet, muddy, or other rough terrains and conditions.
The way these stay so lightweight and breathable has a lot to do with the mesh inlays that can be found on the sides. While still being waterproof and debris-proof, these inlays allow for ample airflow to reduce the sweat and heat that your feet produce over the day.
Cost and Value
Magnum is a very well known and beloved brand, especially by military staff, so it's understandable their boots tend to be more expensive. With that said, these are actually not expensive at all, and they are amazing value for the cost.
- Mesh Overlays for Breathability
- Full Leather Upper
- Military Approved
- Moisture Control
- Oil and Slip Resistant
- Scuffs Easily
- Not Great for Overly Cold Conditions
5. Danner Recon
In order to make this shoes more lightweight, Danner has included 200g of Thinsulate insulation. This amount will keep your feet warm in both rain and snow, while also reducing the overall weight of the boot. Fully waterproof and warm, these boots will work well in the winter; especially given that they have great traction.
One of the best things about these boots is that they are recraftable, meaning if you have any breakdown or wear through, you can send them in to have them repaired and fixed up. This is due to the fact that their handmade stitching process allows for easy removal and repair of damaged parts, giving you a long lasting combat boot overall.
Cost and Value
This is a genuine combat boot, and the construction and features are all properly made in order to produce a product that is durable and long-lasting. With that in mind, the price of this item is reflective of these features, and this is the kind of shoe that will last you a lifetime.
- 8 Inch Height
- 200g Thinsulate Insulation
- Kletterlift Outsole
- Polished Full Grain Leather
- 100% Waterproof Gore Tex Lining
- Fiberglass Shank
- Very Narrow
6. Bates Ultra Lites
The top of this Bates boot features a padded collar that will both support and protect the ankle, preventing painful hot spots and blisters. The top of the shoe is designed with Non-Metallic Eyelets that are used with Speed Laces Mesh. This directly contributes to the durability and sustainability of the shoe.
The outer sole is designed with Oil and Slip-resistant Ultra-Lites™ Rubber that makes it 30% Lighter Than the Original Enforcer Series 2261. The Ultra-Lite technology offers unique traction and grip and can be used on any terrain. However, do note that this shoe is only available in one color - black.
Cost and Value
This shoe is priced in the higher range. It is quite expensive in comparison to the shoe at the top of our list. However, the price difference is mitigated by numerous additional and advanced features that make the ride more comfortable and worth it.
- Extremely Durable
- Breathable Lining
- Slip Resistant
- Padded Collar
- Excellent Cushioning
- Rigid Plastic Knobs
7. Smith & Wesson Breach 2.0
The upper part of the shoe is designed using a combination of leather and fabric. This unique feature provides exceptional durability and breathability. The upper part is integrated with a Foam-padded PU Collar and tongue that offers easy wipe-off cleaning and sturdy foot support.
The shoe is designed with a YKK® side zipper you will find great durability, an excellent fit, and a closure you don't' need to worry about. This zipper provides foot protection by ensuring that no external debris can enter the shoe while in use. The tongue is gusseted to keep the dirt and water particles away.
Cost and Value
This shoe is more affordable than several others. It is fairly priced considering that it offers numerous features that can only be found in highly priced shoe. Considering the affordability and durability, the value for this shoe cannot be overemphasized.
Leather and Nylon Upper
Side Zip Closure
Cushioning EVA Midsole
- Small Toe Box
8. 5.11 12007 A.T.A.C.
The midsole is made with injection-molded Phylon (found in running shoes) that provides excellent cushioning. The cushioned insole which is removable also provides excellent foot support and shock absorption. The inner part of the shoe is lined with a moisture-wicking lining that is meant to cool the foot even in hot weather.
The outsole features a unique Shock Mitigation System and an oil- and slip-resistant material that offers excellent grip, traction and stability. The upper part of the shoe is secured with YKK Zipper hardware that is connected to the outer sole and ensures that the wearer has an exact fit.
Cost and Value
This shoe carries a heftier price tag. This is quite expensive as compared to other combat boots that are in the same category as this shoe. However, this is the only shoe of its kind to use injected-molded Pylon that provides both enhanced cushioning and foot support, so the purchase would be worth it.
- Shock Mitigation Technology
- Moisture-wicking Lining
- Antibacterial Treatment
- Breathable Upper
- Zipper Closure
9. Thorogood GEN-FLEX2 Series
The outsole on the GEN-FLEX2 is made with dual density rubber and multi-directional lugs that give you exquisite grip even on wet and oily surfaces. This means you’ll have a steady footing wherever you go, while the Goodyear storm welt construction ensures durability and reliability.
What differentiates the GEN-FLEX 2 from similar models is the fact that it features three different closure systems for absolute security. The traditional lace closure allows a good amount of customization, so you can set up the perfect fit, while the side zipper ensures easy on and off, even when you’re in a rush. The velcro strap will ensure the zipper is held down, and that your boots make as little noise as possible when walking.
Cost and Value
The price of the Thorogood GEN-FLEX2 Series is average compared to the other items on this list, and this is an affordable price if you compare it to the quality you will be getting with these shoes. Furthermore, it’s important to mention that this is a shoe with a removable PU footbed which is cushioning, but also allows you to use your own orthotics for customized support and shock absorption.
Full Grain Leather Upper
Lace, Zipper and Velcro Closure
Double Density Rubber Outsole
10. Adidas Performance GSG-9.2
These boots don't just look like military footwear, they are SWAT team and special force footwear that can really stand up to the job. Added features like the Rope Assault Protection help showcase how realistic and high performing these are. The arch features an insert that is highly abrasion resistant, allowing you to be safer and more effective during fast roping.
Like all Adidas footwear, these boots come equipped with some unique technologies like Climaproof, adiTuff, and adiPrene. Climaproof allows the shoe to be water resistant while remaining breathable, and the adiTuff material ensures it is abrasion resistant while also helping it to be more supportive and protective. The adiPrene heel insert is where the boot's comfort comes in to play, absorbing shock and cushioning your heel.
Cost and Value
Given that these boots are professional and up to many codes and standards, the price tag on them is extremely reasonable. While not nearly the cheapest option on our list, this is well worth the money if you need a combat style for work or military training.
Full Grain Leather Upper
Adiprene Heel Cushioning
- Runs Narrow
The importance of quality footwear cannot be overemphasized, in casual or specialty choices alike, particularly for those individuals who have to be on their feet for extended periods. These shoes offer the effectiveness and advanced features that surpass any other option available in the market intended for the same purpose. The range above reduces the probability of health complications by providing shoes that offer reduced fatigue, adequate blood circulation in the feet, excellent cushioning, support, and moisture regulation.
These are the highest rated in performance and are extremely durable options that will deliver even in the most strenuous of conditions. They are versatile and can be used on a range of terrains including rocky mountains, slippery river banks, iced lots, hard pavements, snowfields and much more.
Furthermore, they offer enhanced foot protection through sizable shanks that ensure that no external objects will penetrate the sole. Comfortability has not been overlooked. There are features such as clutch fit technology, EVA midsoles, innovative lacing structures and unique foam beds that ensure the user experience is optimized. If you are in the market for an all-purpose shoe of the best quality, then any of the above are suitable for you.
Criteria for Evaluating the Best Combat Boots
Initially, combat boots were made for military personnel who required specific features in terms of durability, support and protection. Many manufacturers have made their own version since the 1950s, but it wasn’t until recently that this style became popular among civilians as well. Since the 50s, however, there have been numerous technological advancements, which means that you can now find a pair of these shoes that are not just rugged and protective, but that’ll also feel lightweight and cushioning even after hours of wear.
If you’re a fan of activities such as hunting, hiking, outdoor work, or anything similar, you’ll greatly benefit from a good pair of these shoes. You’ll look masculine and stylish, while being the proud owner of a pair of shoes that’ll easily last for years.
When coming up with the best list for you, we did a detailed research and analysis so that only the best of the best made our top ten list. When picking these models there are some very important factors that we looked at. These factors helped us in judging the different options that are available in the market. The factors we focused on were:
Though they might look stylish, make sure you get the correct pair that will be able to give maximum functionality and comfort. Remember, you cannot wear these to every event you are going to or to any activity you are engaging in. Below are the different types of that you will find when shopping:
- Designed for the Military: Since World War II, there has been great demand for high quality protective footwear that would not only be comfortable, weatherproof and durable, but that would also serve the specific needs of different types of soldiers. Those in tactical applications needed features different from those involved in assault situations or parachuters. Combat boots were thus made in numerous styles, from tankers to jumpers.
- Standard Issue types: Similar to regular combat options, these will provide ample ankle and foot stability, especially when the wearer is walking on very rough terrain (a common scenario during combat or training or both). They are normally black in color, hardened leather is used to make them and are not to be waterproof. Their design is very simple and has a rounded toe that is plain. The patent leather that is black in color makes them have a sheen that is glossy hence no need for polishing. With patent leather, they are most of the times kept aside for use during ceremonial events like funerals, parades or graduations.
- Jump Boots: Made in the 1940s for U.S. Army service members who were airborne troopers and needed a shoe built for their specific needs. These are designed with very tall shanks that reach up to the calf, the ankles are reinforced so as to prevent any form of injury, and there are between 11 and 13 eyelets. The rubber soles have a unique heel design, and this type of shoe was originally known as a “Corcoran” after the first manufacturing company who made this specific type of footwear.
- Tanker Boots: Similar to jump models, these were designed with a specific activity in mind. Fastened with a wide leather strap, these were suitable for use in tanks were laces would easily be caught in any of the vehicles many moving parts. These are always made with all leather to ensure extra protection from harmful chemicals, however, they lack ankle support, which is why they’re hard to walk in, especially on rough terrain.
- Jungle Combat: Just as the name suggests these are best for the jungle. They have their upper section made of canvas, which is used to ensure that the feet dry quickly after getting wet in tropical climates or in terrain that is wet. Featuring vents in the instep, these will quickly eliminate water, and ensure proper breathability to prevent infections and odor.
- Tactical: When looking at modern combat boots you will notice that they are getting more specialized depending on the manufacturer. When talking about the tactical boost then means one is referring to a broad category. The tactful combats are designed to specifically suit the following common purposes like military combat, firefighting, seafaring jobs and police work. Some of these have been designed in a way that they offer extra grip, hence offering maximum slip resistance to the wearer. Tactical boots that are made of steel are installed with reinforced plates located around the toe section, offering maximum protection to the toes from any heavy or sharp objects.
- Designed for the Extreme Weather Conditions: Boots designed for military servicemen fighting in all types of conditions need to be able to offer the maximum protection from the harsh weather conditions. Some of the examples that are designed for the harsh climatic conditions are desert, jungle, and boots for cold weather.
- For Hot Weather: Footwear made for hot weather use are designed to be worn in very hot climatic conditions, and share most similarities with jungle styles. Using materials that allow a good amount of ventilation, these will let moisture from the foot evaporate, preventing odor, fungi and bacterial infections that would otherwise appear with sweaty feet.
- For Wet and Cold Weather: For those who find themselves in cold climates with lots of rain or snow, they need a shoe that’ll protect them both in terms of moisture and temperature. Boots for these conditions are often made with Gore-Tex, a unique material that has waterproof abilities and has many tiny pores. It can also be combined with insulation that can ensure that the necessary warmth is provided. When the temperature is below 20 degrees, then one should look for choices that have been specifically designed for extremely cold weather. They are a little different from the normal cold weather ones, they have a rubber layer that is doubled, and have the thick felt or wool that enhances insulation.
Apart from the above important metrics that we used, we also had additional factors that were taken into consideration when making out the top list. These additional factors are:
There are several places and scenarios in which one can wear these, and each scenario calls for a different type of footwear.
- Worn for Leisure: Over the years this type of footwear has been adored by many fashionable civilians. Rugged and masculine, but polished, this is a type of shoe that can be combined with a variety of outfits, ranging from casual to more dressed up.
- Worn with Uniforms: Those who serve, including those working for the military, police, firefighters and others, need combat boots to wear with their uniforms. Most of the models listed here will follow the strict guidelines, and will coordinate with the specific regulations required at these places of work.
Getting the best fit
Just like any other shoes, you must make sure that what you buy offers you a good snug fit. The fit is crucial whether your boots are to be worn for a long period of time or a couple of hours, for extreme weather conditions or just normal weather. Having a perfect size will not only guarantee you comfortability but it will also give the needed protection and support that your feet need. In order to make sure you get the best fit for your combat shoes, it’s crucial to follow the below steps.
- Get the correct socks: if you want to have a good fit, it’s important that you have the correct type of socks. When going for a fitting, make sure you have the socks that you will be wearing. Make sure the socks are snug fitting and ought to rise up just over the feet’s calf.
- Check your shoe size: many of the manufacturers start from size 9 up to size 14. Men with feet larger or smaller than this range might have some difficulty finding the correct size.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are these types of shoes vegan?
A: Not necessarily, seeing that most will be made with leather uppers. If you’re looking for vegan options, look for models which state that they’re made with man-made materials. In case you are hesitant about the vegan type, you can contact the company to clarify.
Q: What is the general procedure for cleaning?
A. One trick of making sure you have long lasting shoes is taking good care of your shoes by cleaning them properly. For a foolproof procedure, follow the steps below:
- Cleaning your footwear: Use a soft brush to remove any dirt on the surface, this is done when the use is minimal. However, when the use is more extended and rugged then you will need to clean the shoes with warm water and mild soap. Because soap is hydrophilic make sure you rinse it all off from the surface.
- Drying: to make sure they dry completely, open your shoes fully. Remove the laces or the straps, then the insoles so that even the inner parts can dry up. DO NOT EXPOSE the shoes to HEAT. Let them dry at room temperature.
- Conditioning: when thinking about the treatment make sure you look at the materials used in making the shoes and also the construction of the footwear. Be cautious as most of the time when treatment is done on a footwear it can change the appearance and the color of the footwear.
If you need more tips, check our complete guide.
Q: How do I make sure that I have the perfect fit?
A: Having a good fit of your footwear is very important as this guarantees you comfortability at all times. When shopping, make sure your toes have enough room to wiggle about when you put on the shoes, especially on the front part. You should check that there is a snug fit, but not a tight fit when you put on the shoes. The next thing would be to check the heel’s position as you walk around, the heel should not slide up or down, or back and forth as this will cause very painful blisters to your leg. The other important part of the footwear that determines the fit is the laces or the straps, they must be tightened so that you have a firm fit, but also to allow the natural movement of the foot when walking.