Nothing hinders you during long expeditions like having sore feet. That’s why tactical boots are a must for survival preppers, as you never know how long you’ll be on your feet for when disaster strikes.
Tactical boots are designed to protect your feet against rough terrain or unexpected objects falling on them. If you sustain damage to your feet, it will be a struggle to walk for lengthy periods, and this could be damaging to your morale as well.
Survival footwear may be overlooked, but it could make all the difference out in the wilderness.
Choosing the best tactical boot, however, is not an easy decision. There is a wide range of boots available, with the number of tactical boot brands increasing rapidly because of the demand.
That’s why we’ve reviewed five of the best tactical boots to help you find appropriate footwear for survival. All-purpose tactical boots are a valuable investment, and could save you injury and stress should you need to survive.
RYNO GEAR Tactical Combat Boots
As a tactical boot for survival, these combat boots from Ryno Gear are a budget-friendly option that help you to walk for long periods without feeling any aches or pains.
They come with a padded collar and breathable mesh lining, for enhanced comfort to keep you going.
The insoles are also removable and shock absorbent, providing you with more stability and decrease your chances of sustaining any injuries.
Suitable for all kinds of terrain, these boots also feature a slip-resistant rubber outsole, so grip is not an issue with this choice. Although not waterproof, the inner lining of the boots are water-resistant, so any encounters with water shouldn’t cause much damage to your boots or your feet.
Constructed from leather and ballistic nylon, the boots are built to last, with these materials letting them withstand harsh conditions. However, the sizes do run big, so you will need to bear this in mind before purchasing.
Read the full RYNO GEAR Tactical Combat Boots review
- Long-lasting comfort due to padded collar and mesh lining
- Removable and shock-absorbent insoles
- Water-resistant inner lining
- Durable exterior
- Sizes run big so may need to size down
- Not fully waterproof
ATAC Jungle Boots
With a durable full-grain leather and nylon construction, the ATAC Jungle Boots from 5.11 are undoubtedly high-quality. They’re a real investment, as the materials mean they should last you a long time. In addition to this, they’re also wear-resistant, which adds to their durability.
The insole is full-length, featuring a bottom layer of Ortholite X25 foam for extra cushioning. Comfort combines with durability with these boots, as a breathable tongue also increases ventilation and airflow.
When it comes to survival, it is essential to utilize every bit of additional space that you can. The ATAC Jungle Boots give you a hidden knife pocket, which makes them stand out against competitors as a multipurpose boot.
This boot provides optimal support with its thick ankle padding, although some customers have found that it can be too dense and cause restricted movement. It is worth considering how important ankle padding is to you when looking into these boots.
Read the full ATAC Jungle Boots review
- Durable and high-quality exterior, made from full-grain leather and nylon
- Comfortable and supportive design
- Hidden knife pocket for multipurpose uses
- Ankle padding may be too thick for your comfort
- Not waterproof
Garmont T8 Bifida Tactical Boot
The Bifida Tactical Boots are made from durable nylon webbing and 16mm suede leather. These boots are designed with support and comfort in mind, with strong ankle support and a PU breathable footbed.
Importantly, the boots have a slip-resistant rubber outsole and rubber treads, which grip well to the ground while remaining flexible and comfortable. The soft rubber sole is ideal for wilderness survival environments, where you’ll need to climb over logs and rocks to find your way.
Despite their heavy-duty design, these boots are a lightweight option, weighing around 23oz per boot. This means you can wear them comfortably in almost any environment, and not feel too much pressure or tension in your feet. Instead, the super lightweight feel allows you to walk or run with ease.
Read the full Garmont T8 Bifida Tactical Boot review
- Durable exterior
- Strong ankle support
- Slip-resistant outsole with good grip
- Lightweight for easy movement
- Not waterproof
- Not budget-friendly
Free Soldier Outdoor Military Boot
Made from high-quality, scratch-resistant suede leather, these tactical boots from Free Soldier are designed for breathability and comfort. They are water-repellent, with partial rubber on the toes to block out water and oil.
The rubber outsole is non-slip and wear-resistant, making it ideal for use in all kinds of terrain. However, these boots would work great in warmer climates, due to their breathable features. The padding around the collar and tongue increase airflow, while also giving support to the ankle.
Despite the comfortable material, these boots are quite solid and sturdy, weighing around 3.5lb each. They’re not too heavy for you to feel like you’re dragging them around, but they’re not ultralightweight as to be flimsy.
However, the lack of insulation means they’re not ideal for extreme weather conditions such as snow. They wouldn’t provide you with sufficient warmth, and you could be at risk of injury or frostbite.
Read the full Free Soldier Outdoor Military Boot review
- High ankle and breathability make them a great choice for warmer weather
- Partial rubber toes prevent water and oil damage
- Non-slip rubber outsole
- Not suitable for freezing climates
- Not super lightweight
Original SWAT Alpha Fury Tactical Boot
Lightweight and flexible, the Original SWAT Alpha Fury Tactical Boot combines high-performance with comfort.
Inside you’ll find an EVA midsole made with nylon shank, which provides excellent support. The midsole also has a shock absorption zone, which prevents foot fatigue, and is a useful feature to have when you are walking for long periods.
As well as being comfortable and supportive, the boots can hold up well in different environments. They come with a gusseted tongue, which prevents dirt and debris from getting inside. The outsole is rubber and slip-resistant, making it a versatile and adaptable boot.
In the forefoot, there is a no-stitch construction, and this combined with the custom-molded thermoplastic heel counter, the boots are flexible and easy to move around in. Despite their lightweight design, the boots are still robust and don’t feel flimsy.
However, the exterior of the boot is made from polyester mesh and a microfiber PU in the upper part. Although these materials are not necessarily poor quality, they are not as durable as leather. They will typically take less time to break in than leather competitors, but may not last as well in the long run.
Read the full Original SWAT Alpha Fury Tactical Boot review
- Comfortable and supportive
- Would work well in many outdoor environments
- Flexible design means movement is not restricted
- Synthetic exterior is not as durable as leather constructed boots
Let’s start with the outside of the boot. It is important that your pair of tactical boots are built to be as durable and sturdy as possible.
Many boots are made from leather, along with other synthetic materials. As well as being durable, high-quality leather is typically long-lasting, which is essential when investing in footwear. With strong leather boots, you won’t have to worry too much about them falling apart unexpectedly.
However, there are different kinds of leather, which will make a difference to the quality of your boots. Full-grain leather is a durable, sturdy material, which can often resist water as well. It is worth noting though that it is not the most breathable kind of leather.
Split-grain leather, in contrast, is usually a lot lighter, and therefore cheaper. However, it lacks the durability of full-grain leather, so it’s not ideal against rough terrain.
Another commonly used leather is Nubuck leather, which is similar to suede and has durable properties like full-grain. It is stiffer than other leathers, which does mean it lacks flexibility.
It’s also vital not to ignore what material is used inside the boot. Many tactical boots come with water-resistant linings, which are built to prevent moisture from getting inside and keep your feet dry regardless of the conditions.
Shape and Height
It is essential to consider how the height of the boot will play a role in your survival. Depending on the climate you are in will depend on which height boot is best to opt for.
Due to the extra protection, higher boots are more suited to cold climates, while shorter boots work best in hot environments.
A feature typically associated with tactical boots is that they are not lightweight. However, this is not true of all boots, and the weight differs depending on the materials used. Sturdy, tough boots will usually weigh more, as well as boots with water-resistant materials.
When it comes to survival prep, a lightweight pair sounds like the best option on paper, but lightweight boots with no durability will be useless.
That’s why it’s important to rule out features that won’t be necessary for you, in order to drop weight off your boots. If you don’t think additional toe protection or a waterproof design is essential, then bear this in mind before you choose a boot that’s too heavy.
Heavier boots are also more likely to slow you down and could feel uncomfortable, whereas a lightweight pair can let you move around freely. Weight is important to think about when it comes to survival, as it’s assumed that you’ll have to run and hike for long periods.
There are two different soles on a tactical boot – the outsole and the insole.
The outsole is the part of the boot that touches the ground, and it must have a good grip. If it doesn’t, you’ll be at risk of slipping over and getting injured. A boot without a slip-resistant sole is a dangerous choice when it comes to survival.
Outsoles are generally always made from rubber, but different types of rubber can affect the grip. A hard rubber material will provide more stability, while a softer rubber increases traction and grip.
With this in mind, it is advisable to opt for a balance between the two kinds of rubber. Anything too hard could cause you to slip, and a sole that’s too soft won’t give you as much power in your stomp due to the lack of support.
When it comes to insoles, it is crucial not to overlook them, as these are the parts of the boot that provides support for your feet. As it fits between the rubber grip and your foot, it’s important to choose a boot with high-quality insoles, to improve overall comfort.
Insoles come in various styles, but for high impact activities like those in a survival situation, a stiff insole is probably the safest bet. If you are looking for tactical boots for less heavy-duty scenarios, then a soft insole would be sufficient.
Since you’re anticipating these boots being used for survival purposes, comfort and support should not go unacknowledged. Blisters, sore ankles, and tired feet are avoidable problems if you look carefully before purchasing tactical boots.
Taking steps to prevent these issues will save you valuable time and energy when you need to survive.
An easy mistake to make for first time tactical boot buyers would be to automatically purchase boots in the same size as your everyday regular shoes. Tactical boots are designed much differently to regular shoes or even fashion-style boots.
The best advice would be to measure your foot first, including the width, arch length, and arch lift. Many outdoor stores offer measurement services if you can’t do this at home.
Many survivalists and military personnel suggest sizing up in tactical boots, as boots that are too small are a difficult issue to rectify. You will cause yourself a lot of discomfort going too small, so if you want to err on the side of caution, it’s best to go bigger than you think you need.
You’ll also need to consider the width of the boots, as your feet may require a slimmer or wider fit, depending on your measurements. It is worth taking the time to figure this out in order to maximize comfort and give you the best possible chance of survival.
If possible, it is recommended that you take some time to break in your boots. This means wearing them around to loosen them up, so they don’t feel too stiff and new when you really need to wear them.
The time it takes to break in boots will differ for each person, but it may just mean a few hours of wear when you have some downtime at home. Doing this will also highlight the thickness of socks you’ll need to wear, and indicate how much room you’ll have in the boot once they’re loosened up.
Sturdy vs. Flexible
Many tactical boots are designed to be flexible to assist with easy and fast-paced movement. If a boot is too stiff, your foot will struggle to connect with the ground and won’t have as much power.
However, when it comes to being in a survival scenario, a stiff boot will allow for greater stability against steep gradients or mountainous terrain.
Durability also goes hand-in-hand with stiffer boots, but this does mean having more restricted movement. It’s important to find a balance when it comes to choosing tactical boots, but bear in mind these factors if a certain style would be more appropriate for your environment.
Choosing the best tactical boot is not a decision to be taken lightly. You’ll likely be on your feet for extended periods when in a survival predicament. With that in mind, I’ve chosen the 5.11 ATAC Jungle Boots as my pick.
These boots offer a level of quality that means they will withstand tough conditions, while still giving you the ability to move about freely. As a survival prepper, I’m also a fan of the hidden knife pocket feature, because it’s always good to have easy access to your equipment.
However, all of these boots on our list offer something different. Whether you’re looking for the best lightweight tactical boot, or something that can last in cold climates, finding a quality pair of boots is essential to overall endurance.
We hope our review has helped you to find the best tactical boot for you, and given you an idea of what to look for before making your decision.
Please let us know your feedback in the comment section below, and if you have any ideas for future topics, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!
Good Luck and Happy Survival Prepping!
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