Best Men's Combat Boots

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

56 Models Considered
12 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
114 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best men’s combat boots

Last Updated October 2019

Men’s combat boots, also called tactical boots, are known for their rugged design and military style. There is no standard combat boot, however, which gives you a wide array of choices.

The right men’s combat boots for you depends on your needs and the environment in which you plan to wear them. Insulated combat boots are designed to withstand extreme cold, while other boots are waterproof or have drainage holes for trudging through wet conditions. If you plan to use your combat boots as work boots, you might need a pair with steel toes in addition to other safety features. Most combat boots are primarily made of leather, but synthetic options are also available.

You probably intend to wear your combat boots for months, even years, and that means you want to consider all the factors carefully. Men’s combat boots vary in style, features, and fit, so there is sure to be a pair that’s right for you. To learn more about the varieties of combat boots available, continue reading our buying guide. And check out our favorites when you’re ready to buy.

Combat boots protect your toes and your soles, as well as help to stabilize your ankles.

Key considerations

Before you begin your search for combat boots, you want to think about your intended use and where you will regularly wear your boots. Some boots are designed to keep you dry and warm when trudging through icy slush in the middle of winter. Others are made for hours of walking and working in hot temperatures. If you’re searching for work boots, you should consult with your employer to make sure your boots meet all safety standards. For combat footwear, your boots need to be AR 670-1 compliant.

Weight and height

Two of the most important factors to consider in a pair of combat boots are weight and height, because these directly affect how comfortable the boots are. Most boot manufacturers help simplify your decision by categorizing combat boots according to intended use. There are standard-issue boots, desert boots for hot and dusty environments, and low-temperature boots for cold environments. Combat boots also come in a few less common varieties.

  • Weight: Heavier combat boots offer more protection and features like steel toes or shock absorption. While heavy boots may feel satisfyingly clunky on your feet, that clunkiness will soon become tiring if you have to hike long distances. The lighter the boots, the more comfortable they’ll be for extended periods of wear. Your combat boots should be as light as possible while still protecting you from any hazards you’re likely to encounter.

  • Height: Most combat boots are around eight to ten inches high, though there are shorter and taller boots available. A taller shaft is more restrictive, but it’s better at preventing debris and water from getting into your boot.

Insole

Since combat boots are designed to be worn for extended periods in tough conditions, support and cushioning are crucial. Most combat boots are designed with thick insoles and excellent arch support. Most insoles compress over time, so the insoles in combat boots are removable, allowing you to replace them if necessary.

EXPERT TIP

When you first try on your boots, don’t wear them outside in case you need to return them.


Staff  | BestReviews

Combat boot features

Combat boots vary in design depending on the environment in which they’ll be worn. Work boots have toe protection or slip-resistant soles, while boots for active wear may have better shock absorption. Though many combat boots look similar, the designs can differ greatly in materials and features.

Materials

A combat boot can be roughly divided into three parts: upper, midsole, and outsole.

  • Upper: The upper makes up the top of the boot and serves to keep debris and moisture out while maintaining flexibility. It may be made of leather or synthetic materials. Leather is the heaviest and most durable option, though it has low breathability and requires a break-in period. A pair of leather combat boots will be more expensive than synthetic boots, but they’re likely to last for several years. Synthetic materials are lighter and don’t require as much of a break-in period, but they are far less durable.

  • Midsole: This layer between the outsole and insole provides additional cushioning and support for your feet and reduces impacts. Polyurethane is the most durable option and is firmer than the cheaper EVA foam.

  • Outsole: The outsole provides traction and protects your feet from sharp objects. It is made of either rubber or polyurethane. Both materials are highly durable and provide excellent traction, but not all outsoles are slip resistant.

Toe protection

Some combat boots have toe protection, especially those designed for working around heavy machinery. A sturdy toe cap is designed to keep your toes safe even if a heavy object falls on them. Toe caps can be made of steel or composite and vary in strength.

  • Steel-toe boots are a common requirement in many workplaces and provide excellent protection, but they’re slightly heavier and more susceptible to cold.

  • Composite-toe boots have grown in popularity in recent years for their lightweight design and strength that comes close to matching that of steel-toe boots.

Weatherproofing

Many combat boots are either waterproof, insulated, or both to keep your feet dry and warm in tough conditions.

  • Waterproof: Some combat boots have either treated leather or a waterproof liner to prevent water from entering the boot.

  • Insulated: Some combat boots have additional layers to keep cold out and heat in.

Breathability and drainage

While insulation is necessary in cold conditions, breathability is also important for preventing a buildup of moisture inside the boot. Some combat boots are made of breathable materials like mesh or split-grain leather to allow moisture to pass out of the boot. This can be crucial in colder climates where moisture in the boot can make your feet cold very quickly.

Boots designed for wear in hot and/or wet environments may have drainage vents for maximum breathability and to allow water to escape the boots. When your feet are regularly submerged in water, there’s no need for waterproofing.

Slip resistance and shock absorption

If you’re purchasing combat boots to wear for work, there’s a good chance they’ll need to meet slip-resistance and shock-absorption standards.

  • Slip resistant: These boots have treads designed to move oil, water, or grease away from the middle of the outsole. The treads are typically narrow and deep to increase surface area and prevent the treads from becoming clogged.

  • Shock absorbent: These boots are designed for high-impact use and can protect your feet, ankles, and knees, particularly if you regularly work on cement floors or other hard surfaces.
DID YOU KNOW?

Combat boots may have laces, zippers, straps, or any combination of the three.

DID YOU KNOW?

A good combat boot should fit comfortably, provide excellent traction, and protect your feet from the environment.

Combat boot prices

Inexpensive: Combat boots that cost $30 to $70 may be made of leather or synthetic materials. In most cases, they’re a mixture of the two, resulting in an affordable boot that will hold up well for a couple of seasons. With the lower price comes lower-quality construction, however. Safety features like toe protection and shock absorption are less common in this range.

Mid-range: In the $70 to $150 range you’ll find a variety of combat boots that may meet work boot safety standards and have features like insulation and waterproofing. These can be made from a variety of materials, including full leather.

Expensive: Combat boots that cost $150 to $300 usually have leather uppers and safety features like shock absorption, waterproofing, and toe protection. In some cases, you’re paying more for a brand name rather than better materials or construction. In general, boots in this range last much longer than inexpensive options.

Tips

It’s important that any shoes fit comfortably, but with combat boots, a good fit is even more important since you could be wearing them for long periods in brutal conditions. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you look for the right fit.

  • Opt for looser rather than tighter. Too loose is better than too tight. A tight boot restricts blood flow. And if the toe box doesn’t give your toes room to shift and move, your boots may become painful to walk in. There should be almost a half inch of space between your toes and the front of the boot when you’re standing.

  • Look for a snug heel. Your heel should fit comfortably in the heel cup without sliding or shifting as you walk.

  • Find the right socks. The right pair of socks can make for a far more comfortable fit and prevent blisters and chafing. Some socks are designed specifically to wear with work or combat boots.

Other products we considered

While we stand by our top recommendations, there are a few other combat boots that didn’t quite make the list that are worth covering briefly. One durable and popular choice is the Garmont T8 Bifida Tactical Boot, which stands out for its excellent grip and ability to take a beating in the roughest conditions. Despite the suede uppers, customers say that these boots require very little breaking in and are comfortable from the start. There are many more affordable combat boots available, but these are unlikely to disappoint. For something a bit more stylish, we recommend the Thorogood GEN-flex2 Side-Zip Jump Boot which is as stylish as it is rugged. Customers love the shiny look of the oil-tanned leather and the convenience of the side zip.

Though there are safety standards, there’s no one type of combat boot, resulting in a variety of choices for different environments and situations.

FAQ

Q. What is the difference between Berry-compliant and AR 670-1-compliant boots?

A. Boots that comply with the Berry Amendment are made from 100% American materials and manufactured in the United States. AR 670-1-compliant boots meet the standards of the US military.

Q. Do combat boots tend to run large or small?

A. That depends on the brand. To play it safe, check online customer reviews to get an idea of how a particular boot fits.

Q. Can I wear hot-weather boots in cold temperatures?

A. No. Hot-weather boots are designed with airflow in mind, and your feet will get cold quickly. Wearing the wrong boots for the season can be dangerous.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
  • Peter
    Peter
    Writer

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