Best Police Shoes & Duty Boots Reviewed
They storm the scene. Brave souls that show up in the face of danger. In addition, they are selflessly putting their lives on the line to defend and protect our safety, rights, and freedoms every day. That officer you see on the beat, patrolling to make sure nothing is amuck, is depending on not just his weapons and other officers; he or she is relying on their duty boots to not fail when they must spring into action. Furthermore, police and duty boots must possess ruggedness while still being comfortable. Some officers wear boots for 24+ hour shifts so they must be comfortable as well.
- 5.11 A.T.A.C.
- Stay-Tied Sausage Laces
- Moisture Wicking Lining
- Bates Ultra-Lites
- Breathable Lining
- Removable Insert
- Ryno Gear Tactical Combat
- Ankle Boot
- Rugged Sole
Through tough evaluations and research, we narrowed down the choices to reflect the absolute best of the best when it comes to police shoes and duty boots. Moreover, we examined dozens of shoes by rigorous standards and only the highest graded made the list. Hopefully, choosing a pair of boots on this list will ease the burden of worrying about foot protection.
10 Best Police Shoes
1. 5.11 A.T.A.C.
Built to withstand all of the force from running and tactical moves, this shock mitigation system will absorb the impact. That is important because it prevents the negative energy from transferring into your body. Therefore, it protects your joints.
Having a footbed made from Ortholite materials means this shoe is of the highest comfort. Your foot will feel completely cradled and supported by the insole. It is also another assistant to the shock absorption.
Cost and value
In our price range for the category, this shoe comes in at one of the lower price points. It is an incredible value for the boot because it is the highest rank in the category. 5.11 brand of shoes is highly valued and very well-known for the quality they have. You can be assured your boot purchase will go the distance. The shoes will carry you through many situations and you can depend on them to not let you down.
- Injection-molded Phylon midsole
- Reinforced toe
- YKK side zipper
- Open cell foam cushion
- Sausage laces
- Runs small and narrow
2. Bates Ultra-Lites
Finding a way that companies can incorporate breathability features is a must. Adding a mesh lining adds to the breathability of the boot. It gives a separate compartment for the air to be filtered away from the foot.
Cushioned removable insert
The insert is not only cushioned, it is removable. You can take the liner out should you prefer a less cushioned feel or wish to add your own custom orthotic inserts instead. This is also a good way to only have to replace the insert should it wear thin.
Cost and value
The Bates boot here comes in at a lower price range when compared to the other boots in the category. It is a great purchase as they are highly rated for dependability and quality. The shoes are very comfortable and considered very breathable. Your purchase of these boots will be a good investment. Plan on plenty of wear and dependability.
- Nylon side zipper
- Durable leather
- Slip-resistant rubber outsole
- Mesh lining
- Lightweight cement construction
- Runs narrow
3. Ryno Gear Tactical Combat
Most of the boots in the category offer some degree of water resistance. Interestingly, these boots have a soft outer and the waterproof resistance comes from within. Moreover, it is an inner lining that provides the wetness protection.
To begin with, adding insoles to the boot is great for comfort. However, allowing them to be removable is a great characteristic. Also, this gives you the opportunity to add your own inserts or replace them if they wear out before the life of the shoe.
Cost and value
These shoes are an excellent value for what you receive. In fact, the boots are very nicely made and rank high on the comfort scale. Likewise, they will keep your feet dry thanks to the mesh lining that removes wetness. In the end, buyers can be assured that the boots they are purchasing will protect their feet all while being as comfortable as possible.
- Reinforced contrast stitching
- Side zippers
- Velcro straps
- Slip-resistant rubber outsole
- Padded support collar
- Not leather upper
4. Smith & Wesson Breach 2.0
This shoe will provide you with stability underfoot which is vitally important in this line of work. Falling while on the job can injure you or put you in a worse situation. If you depend on a strong sole that resists slips, this is the boot for you.
The tongue is of gusset style. Therefore, that means it is in an underlay position to keep dirt and debris out of your shoe. Not only does that protect the foot, it helps with comfort.
Cost and value
Smith & Wesson has set a goal to bring you a tactical boot that is affordable and dependable. The boot is at the lower end of the price range when compared to other boots in the category. Smith & Wesson has brought dependable products to the consumer's hand for hundreds of years. The boots are another brand off and you can depend on the boots when you need it most. The value of the boots outweighs the cost. You will know every time you put the boots on that your foot is properly cared for.
- Leather and nylon upper
- Foam padded collar
- EVA midsole
- Board-lasted construction
- Hook-and-loop tab closure
- Coating peels off upper
5. Magnum Elite Spider 8.0
Anyone involved with long hours on their feet need comfort, but for police work, protection is crucial as well. The Elite Spider 8.0 has composite non-metallic hardware, which is great for getting through security check points without removing your footwear, which helps keep stability and protection maximized. A composite shank provides support, while Vibram sole maintains traction in the elements or slippery environments.
When purchasing a pair of boots, the investment you make should go for years when the boot is constructed well. Leather uppers mixed with we-like overlays give durability and breathability to the boot, so you’ll be comfortable if wearing this pair on a daily basis. SpideMesh lining adds an extra elements of moisture control for hotter scenarios, and a removable sockliner helps add comfort.
Cost and Value
For those in hotter climates, the Magnum Elite Spider 8.0 is a solid investment. Its breathable uppers, and moisture wicking lining are perfect for hot days on the job, while Vibram soles add some cushioned traction. Lace up style ensures a proper snug fit. Great for those on a budget or in warmer areas for a solid pair of police footwear.
Composite Non-Metallic Hardware
6. Bates GX-8 Comp Toe
Behind the rugged exterior of the GX-8 is an interior construction of comfort. Insoles consist of shock-absorbing pads to help deal with impact, and these insoles are also removable. Great for if you prefer or require a custom orthotic or insole. A moisture wicking lining helps wick away any perspiration, and an EVA midsole helps to cushion and support each step taken.
The composite toe is ASTM F2413-11 approved, and being non-metallic, the GX-8 is great for getting through checks without having to remove your boots. Uppers are made from performance nylon and leather, supple and flexible while maintaining durability. High traction and non-slip sole lie at the base, and continue up the outsole for stabilizing and protection. Lace up design will keep you snugly in place, while a medial-side zip allows for easy in and out access once you find the perfect fit.
Cost and Value
Another option on our list that edges on the expensive side, it’s still by far a solid investment when considering your next pair. For tactical work, it keeps all the protection needed with composite toe, rugged sole, and durable leather/nylon uppers, while maintaining great cushioning for all day wear. With a few different color options, there should be one that suits requirements for your work needs.
Moisture Wicking Lining
Performance Nylon and Leather
Can Be Clunky
7. Danner Tachyon 8
For superior traction and slip resistance, you can trust the tread pattern of these boots. It gives the highest amount of surface contact. You won't need to worry about falling as this gives you stability and security underfoot.
The only boot on the list to have a completely synthetic upper is this one. The drying time is reduced. The weight is reduced. The stiffness is reduced. All of this without sacrificing the integrity of the shoe.
Cost and value
These boots are the best value winner in the category. They are an excellent price and value for the type of boot you are getting. They are revolutionary with their features and have a long life expectancy. They are very comfortable and you will wear them for many uses.
- Weight-saving upper
- EVA midsole
- Rubber outsole
- Abrasion resistant toe cap
- Glue comes apart
- Thin insoles
8. 5.11 Storm
Liners play an important role in the construction of a boot. For this case, the Drilex lining will wick moisture away from your foot and promote airflow at the same time. In, the end it will ensure a more comfortable wear period.
Rigid heel cup
Reinforced to protect the heel and provide stability is what the heel cup is for. By properly positioning your foot you can reduce your risk of injury. Furthermore, you can support your legs and body better which results in less fatigue.
Cost and value
This version of the 5.11 brand is a bit higher in cost than some of the other boots in the category. You are getting a waterproof boot that is durable and quality driven. Your foot is going to be cool and comfortable in these boots. The craftsmanship of the brand will guarantee that your purchase will last a long time.
- Hypertext lasting board
- Non-metallic shank
- Toe reinforcements
- Shock system
- Ortholite insole
- Interior lining snags easily
- Runs small
9. Under Armour Valsetz RTS
When examining a shoe, the shank is the portion that connects the forefront to the heel. It provides all of the support and rigid capabilities the shoe has to offer. Conversely, it is the portion that allows sports shoes to flex.
This particular Ortholite liner has a memory foam top for extreme comfort and a PU base that adds a level of support on top of the shank. The sockliner itself is molded to fit proportionately within the shoe for high levels of satisfaction.
Cost and value
These boots are at the mid to upper price range when you examine it next to the other boots in this category. However, it is good to know that Under Armour builds quality shoes whether it is sneakers or tactical boots. You will get much usage out of these boots. You may even find yourself wearing them outside of the job just because you like them so much.
- Lug tractioned sole
- Abrasion-resistant film
- Reinforced toe area
- Synthetic leather
- Sole unglues easily
- Not as breathable
10. Thorogood Jump
Any quality boot or footwear should be made to be durable, and last daily wear and tear. Goodyear storm-welt construction does just that in the 8-inch Jump, creating a weather resistant seal along the outsole, and helping maintain durability. Leather uppers give a professional look, while keeping a comfortable security and structure in the boot. And, with its high-shine polished toe cap, it makes a great uniform boot.
The footbed of the 8-inch Jump consists of a EVA cushion flex footbed, supporting each of your steps during wear, but is also removable should you require special orthotics or prefer other insoles for support. Breathability can be found in the spacer mesh lining, and a heel counter helps keep stabilization. EVA midsole boasts of a 300g gel heel insert, so whether you’re running, walking, or landing, this boot will cushion whatever you throw at it.
Cost and Value
Another premium priced model of police footwear, it’s one of the best investments on our list simply due to its ideal uniform styling, and combination of comfort technology, support, and protection. Breathable, rugged, sleek look, and shock absorbing gel will keep you going when extra hours are needed to get the job done.
Polished Toe Cap
EVA Footbed and Midsole
300g Gel Heel Insert
Require Break In
Our goal is to provide a comprehensive list to assure you the shoes will work as hard for you as you do each day on the job. The criteria we used to evaluate the boots are below. Additionally, buyers will not need to worry about comfort, dependability, or quality in the boots we chose. You can spend more time focusing on your job duties and responsibilities. Civil servants of many types work in a fast-paced environment. They depend heavily on shoes that support and transition with them.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Police Shoes
One of the largest factors when searching for a great tactical boot or shoe is the durability. Durability assures that a boot or shoe will hold up to whatever conditions. Dependable boots need to come from high-quality materials. The boots will also require proper care. Further, good craftsmanship plays an important part in a durable shoe.
The assembly method of a boot determines the durability. A shoe or boot that lacks attention to detail will not last. For example, everything from the stitching to the sole construction contributes to long-lasting ability. High-quality shoes can have glue or a stitch construction called the welt. In the opinions of some, glue reigns supreme. However, some others consider the Goodyear welt stitching to be the new king. The Goodyear welt was developed by a member of the Goodyear tire family. The Goodyear welt is a stitch method and pattern that reinforces the soles of a shoe.
Typically, you are going to find that tactical boots are very strong and rigid. Their duty is to protect your feet and legs. Therefore, you will not see ones completely of canvas or mesh. They are generally reinforced leather. Possibly they might have mesh inserts or canvas portions to aid in airflow. Other materials that are commonly used are full-grain leather, split leather, nubuck, or suede. The chosen material affects many other things about the shoe. The material choice can affect the longevity, the degree of waterproof, the support, and the breathability factor.
Shoe specialists that manufacture tactical style boots spend many hours designing the boot and debating about the materials to use. They weigh the pros and cons of each type of material against the goals of the boots. Then, they construct a prototype to test against all of the opponents faced in real life. They will test the boots in dirt and debris. From there, the testers will examine the waterproof capabilities against the decrease of lifespan the water causes on the shoe. Finally, the researchers test it against wear and tear. That material is rejected if it does not pass all tests. Designers go back to the drawing board to start anew.
Civil servants never expect to go to the job and be faced with a situation that does not warrant them leaving after their scheduled hours. What if an officer gets called to a situation and is working it for 15 hours? That is not a time for their boots to give out and start hurting the officer’s feet. Moreover, in those long hours, buyers are going to expect the shoe to carry them through the tough times. The pain and fatigue will be the last thing that a lineman will want to worry about when every second is ticking slowly by.
The boots they strap on before their shift need to be comfortable at all costs. You will want to purchase a shoe or boot that is as soft as can be all while providing the pivotal support the feet and legs crave. These types of boots and shoe will need to be somewhat on the rigid side. In addition, look for a material that is going to move with the feet and legs. You never know when a split second of lag could cause serious injury.
Another thing to consider for overall comfort is the breathability. Most jobs that require these types of boots will more than likely be wearing heavy clothing and other gear. You want your feet to stay as cool as possible. Interesting to note is, feet actually release heat from the body to lower the core body temperature. Selecting a boot that supports airflow and draws moisture away from the foot is a smart choice.
The main thing that is going to keep you from injury and fatigue is the support characteristics. Good-quality materials must be used in order to supply the proper support to the feet and legs. Furthermore, the sole plays an integral part in the support. The sole takes more abuse than any other part of the boot. Purchasing a boot or shoe that has a strong sole construction is vital.
- Sole Support
There are three parts to a sole, the outer sole, the midsole, and the inner sole. To start with, there is the outer sole. That is the portion of any shoe that you can see. It is the part that the foot rests on. Secondly, the middle sole is the part of the shoe that is inside. It also links the inner sole to the outer sole. A solid midsole will have a shaft inside here. The shaft reinforces the structure of the boot. Some shoes have a very flexible shaft. Comparatively, other shoes have flexible shafts to move with the foot. Such an example is a flip-flop.
- Impact support
The sole takes impact with every step. The shock is absorbed by the shoe or released into the body. If the shoe does not stop the energy, your body will suffer over time. Inflammation and pain in the joints will start to cause problems. Eventually, it could cause problems with walking, kneeling, or other daily tasks. Properly supporting the body each day should be a high-priority for anyone in a position that constantly puts stress on the body and joints.
- Shaft support
The shaft is designed to support the legs. The shaft is the portion of the boot that runs from the sole up to the top or collar. You want a shaft that does not constrict the calf. Doing so could result in a loss of blood flow to the lower leg and foot. Lessened blood flow comes with its own set of health adversities. While they are some boots that do not have laces, it is a better option to choose a shoe that does. In that aspect, you can adjust the tightness of the boot. Some days you might need more room and some days you need less space inside the boot.
You might not correlate the words lightweight and tactical boot. In fact, that is with good reason. If the duty shoes and boots are made to be lightweight they cannot properly defend the foot. However, within good standards, designers are attempting to make them as lightweight as possible without sacrificing the role of the shoe.
Additionally, materials are constantly being improved upon to make them lightweight with less bulk. For example, soles have transitioned to a blown rubber in some designs. This is cost-effective, lighter weight, and more durable. Further, inner soles have switched to products such as EVA and lighter foams to take away some of the weight.
The reason people search for lightweight shoes is for prevention of leg fatigue. To illustrate, do you remember going to the roller skating rink and circling the rink for hours? Whenever you were finished and returned your skates, your legs felt like they weighed hundreds of pounds each! The same effect is what boot designers try to avoid when thoughtfully designing the shoes. People that work in fields of duty to the people exert a lot of energy. Using energy to lug around heavy boots is energy wasted.
Protection in any weather environment is monumental in boots. Officers and military personnel can never depend on the weather or elements they could be exposed to. It would be unfortunate for someone to be caught in the rain in boots that turned into a soggy piece of bread when wet. Having boots that are almost totally waterproof, if not completely waterproof, is an absolute must. It is not just the rain that you need to factor for.
Being waterproof means they are non-porous. Therefore, nothing can penetrate the walls of the shoe. Being non-porous is especially useful if the boots are exposed to sand or dirt among other things. Another example, keeping the feet dry means lessening the chance of blisters. Blisters erupt from moisture being trapped against the skin or the skin being irritated by friction. Finally, in prevented the interior of the shoe from getting wet, you lower the chance of the shoe growing bacteria or fungus. Therefore, the life of the shoe can be extended. Mold, bacteria, and fungus all grow within dark and wet environments. Thereby making these boots the perfect petri dish for growth to occur. Should your boots somehow get wet, it is imperative to get them dry before wearing again.
Good traction on a boot or shoe means you can wear them on any surface or terrain. An officer can charge the scene and not worry about slipping on a wet floor. A soldier can infiltrate the target even in the woods, sand, etc. When looking for good traction and tread pattern you will want to look at the bottom of the shoe. The lug portion as it is sometimes referred should have at least 1/4″ to be considered a good purchase. However, that is on the low end of acceptable heights. Err on the side of caution and purchase a taller tread. With the steps taken by these individuals, the tread wears down quickly on even the best of shoes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are duty boots?
A: Duty boots are a type of shoe that is used by police offers, military persons and others in a similar field. They are good boots to protect the feet and legs. Also, they are good in many different weather elements and terrains.
Q: Who should purchase duty boots other than police officers?
A: This type of boot is good for lots of individuals. Not only are they a great choice for certain types of careers, individuals that want a good support shoe can find that here. These boots make an excellent choice for anyone looking for a water-resistant all-terrain boot.
Q: Are these the same as tactical boots?
A: Generally speaking, these boots are very similar. These types of boots can be used interchangeably. People usually think of tactical boots as something for police and the like. Whereas, some think of duty boots as just for the military. They both have the same purpose as well as similar characteristics.
Q: Will I think these types of shoes are comfortable?
A: It is hard to say as everyone has a personal preference in terms of comfort. These types of shoes take a bit to get used to as they are not as breathable as most shoes. As well, they are more rigid and heavy. However, some people prefer to wear boots like this as for the purposes they serve.
Q: How should police boots fit me?
A: Police boots should fit firmly. Their job is to hold the feet in position, move with the body and protect the legs/ankles/feet. If your feet are not properly held in place by the boots, then the boots will fail at protecting you. Also, you put yourself at risk for injury when you don’t have proper fitting shoes. They should not be too tight as you don’t want to be uncomfortable.
Q: Does the company make these waterproof?
A: Most of the boots on our list are almost totally waterproof or completely waterproof. One of the main purposes of tactical style boots is the ability to wear in all elements of weather.
Q: If not, can I make them waterproof myself?
A: If you purchase boots that are not waterproof you could add a waterproofing solution to the boots. Also, we make no guarantees that they will work as described or make the boots totally waterproof. Further, we also recommend you follow manufacturers instructions should you decide to waterproof your boots yourself.
Q: Is there any reason for me to purchase these shoes if I’m not a policeman or soldier?
A: Absolutely. In fact, most people that are not required to wear these for a job but purchase anyways find many instances to wear these types of shoes. Furthermore, some careers other than police and soldier, such as a landscaper, will definitely find them purposeful.
Q: There are so many to chose from, what are the best boots to buy?
A: When it comes to the best boot to purchase, we have ranked our top picks. However, it is up to the buyer to decipher which of these boots most closely matches their individual needs.
Q: How can I polish my shoes?
A: Taking care of your boots will ultimately determine the lifetime of the boots. More importantly, it is essential to clean the boots before polishing them. Otherwise, you could be polishing dirt and debris into the shoe. In addition, there are many different polishes available to use. You will need a good quality brush and soft rag to accompany your polish. From there, you apply the polish in small areas. Next, rub in a circular motion. The brush comes in handy here to help distribute the polish around the boot. Finally, use quick and short swiping motions all around the boot.
Q: These don’t look like they can go in the washing machine so how do I clean them?
A: It is best to spot clean these boots. Test a small and inconspicuous area first. We recommend a gentle soap and cool to warm water. Using a toothbrush or rag, spot clean when necessary.
Q: Lacing the shoes properly looks hard so what is the correct way?
A: Believe it or not there are many different methods to lace these boots. Depending on your personal preferences for looks paired with the job these boots need to do will determine which style is best for you. The two most common ways are the criss-cross and the straight bar ladder. For instance, if using the criss-cross, we suggest crossing underneath so the laces are less likely to snag on something external. You should research the methods of lacing to determine which way will work best for your needs.
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