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, they must possess ruggedness while still being comfortable. Some officers wear boots for 24+ hour shifts so they must be comfortable as well.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 8 hrs of research
Injection-Molded Phylon Midsole
YKK Side Zipper
Open Cell Foam Cushion
- 11 A.T.A.C. 2.0
- Bates 8" Tactical
- Smith & Wesson Breach 2.0
- Magnum Elite Spider 8.0
- Bates GX-8
- Rocky Paraboot
- Danner Tachyon 8
- Under Armour Valsetz RTS 1.5
- Thorogood Gen-Flex 2
- Oakley Light Assault 2
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
1. 11 A.T.A.C. 2.0
Injection-Molded Phylon Midsole
YKK Side Zipper
Open Cell Foam Cushion
Runs Small & Narrow
5.11 is a leader in the industry of duty footwear. Produced from the highest quality materials, their boots are engineered to last. Defined for law enforcement, tactical operators and military individuals and the strict demands their professions require, the 5.11 A.T.A.C. 2.0 is nothing short of solid. With so many features, it is no surprise it ranks so high in the category. Buyers can find a full-grain leather upper with an oil and slip-resistant sole and odor-control lining amongst its many other must-have features.Read more
Built to withstand all of the force from running and tactical moves, the shock mitigation system on the A.T.A.C. 2.0 will absorb impact. That is important because it prevents negative kinetic energy from transferring into your body and harming your joints. Having a footbed made from Ortholite materials means the A.T.A.C. 2.0 is of the highest comfort. Your foot will feel completely cradled and supported by the insole, and it is also another assistant to the shock absorption.
The 5.11 brand is highly valued and well-known for the quality they have. You can be assured that your purchase will go the distance. These boots will carry you through many situations, both dangerous and not, and you can depend on them to not let you down.
2. Bates 8" Tactical
Nylon Aide Zipper
Slip-Resistant Rubber Outsole
Lightweight Cement Construction
The Bates company has been a top producer of footwear for more than 130 years. You can trust their products will uphold even in the toughest of environments. They have built a brand and reputation around being favored for quality and dependability. The brave men and women that sport their footwear trust the comfort and ease of wearing. These 8" Tactical has the perfect mix of a structured midsole and a supportive upper.Read more
Finding a way to incorporate breathability is a must. A mesh lining, such as the one in the 8" Tactical, adds to the breathability of the design, and it gives a separate compartment for the air to be filtered away from the foot. The insert of the Tactical is not only cushioned, but it is also 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, in case it wears thin with time.
The Bates 8" Tactical is a great purchase as it is highly rated for dependability and quality. It is very comfortable and considered very breathable, and it will be a good investment. Plan on plenty of wear and dependability.
3. Smith & Wesson Breach 2.0
Leather & Nylon Upper
Foam Padded Collar
Hook-&-Loop Tab Closure
Coating Peels Off Upper
Smith & Wesson are typically associated with weaponry. However, they have diversified into the tactical footwear division as well. Interestingly, the Breach 2.0 is highly acclaimed. They are made from a nice blend of leather and nylon, which lends itself to a superb construction. These will carry you all day in comfort while supporting your legs and feet in the way that you need. The strong midsole moves with your feet and reinforces the strength of this option.Read more
The Breach 2.0 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 an even worse situation. If you depend on a strong sole that resists slips, this is the design for you. The tongue on the Breach is of gusset style. Therefore, it is in an underlay position to keep dirt and debris out of your shoe. Not only does that protect the foot, but it also helps with comfort.
Smith & Wesson has set a goal to bring you a tactical design that is affordable and dependable. The Breach 2.0 is another model that you can depend on. Its value outweighs the cost. You will know every time you put these on that your foot is properly cared for.
4. Magnum Elite Spider 8.0
Composite Non-Metallic Hardware
While not approved for US armed forces, the Magnum Elite Spider 8.0 can make for a formidable police option. Breathable and rugged, supportive and comfortable for all day wear, it’s perfect for those on their feet all day where black isn’t required. The Elite Spider 8.0 boasts of composite hardware, moisture controlled lining, and leather uppers with web-like overlays to maximize breathability. Add a Vibram sole for durability and non-slip traction, and this could be your new favorite pair!Read more
Anyone involved with long hours on their feet needs 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 checkpoints without removing your footwear, which also maximizes stability and protection. A composite shank provides support, while the Vibram sole maintains traction in the elements or slippery environments. Leather uppers mixed with web-like overlays give durability and breathability to the design, so you’ll be comfortable if wearing this pair on a daily basis. The SpideMesh lining adds an extra element of moisture control for hotter scenarios, and a removable sockliner adds comfort.
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. The lace-up style ensures a proper snug fit. Great for those on a budget or in warmer areas for a solid pair of duty footwear.
5. Bates GX-8
Moisture Wicking Lining
Performance Nylon & Leather
Can Be Clunky
Bates makes some of the best tactical footwear around, and the GX-8 can be great for tactical related police work. Resilient and rugged, with all the quality construction Bates can deliver, along with composite toe protection make this a surefire win. The GX-8 is packed full of comfort tech and features, so you know you’ll be able to go for extended timeframes wearing these without sore feet or irritations.Read more
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 wicks 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 footwear. Uppers are made from performance nylon and leather, supple and flexible while maintaining durability. A high-traction and non-slip sole lies at the base and continues up the outsole for stabilizing and protection. The lace-up design will keep you snugly in place, while a medial-side zip allows for easy in and out once you find the perfect fit.
For tactical work, the GX-8 keeps all the protection needed with a 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.
6. Rocky Paraboot
Full-Grain Leather Upper
Easy Side Zip Entry
Cushioned EVA Midsole
Amazing Lug Outsole
Can’t Unzip All the Way Down
Rough Uncomfortable Stitches
Now here is a design that can pass off as borderline elegant, while being every bit as hardcore as our other, more military-oriented options. The Rocky Paraboot is made from premium leather and it stands at 10 inches high, slightly above any other design on this list. It is amazingly durable thanks to its Goodyear welt construction, but it doesn’t lack in the comfort department either, thanks to its contoured EVA Footbed. The Paraboot really has it all, wrapped up in one polished, cap-toe package.Read more
The leather of this option is full-grain, and the upper has a zipper in the side which helps to take it off and put it on in the blink of an eye. The lace-up closure to the top allows for maximum adjustability. Thanks to its Goodyear welt construction, the Paraboot can easily be resoled and used time and again, lasting for up to a decade without any problems. Its cushioned footbed keeps you comfy, and there is a non-metallic stabilizer that delivers security while not holding you back around scanners and metal detectors.
Finally, the rubber outsole of the Paraboot has lugs in it, which provide outstanding traction even on uneven terrain.
This boot is definitely not here to play. It keeps you comfortable and stable, it makes sure that you can easily tread on any type of surface, and it is also abundant in rugged elegance. If you’re looking for something that lasts for a long, long time, then the Rocky Paraboot is the obvious choice!
7. Danner Tachyon 8
Abrasion Resistant Toe Cap
Glue Comes Apart
The first thing you might notice about this option is that the upper looks softer than in others in the category. It is made from a synthetic material that is more lightweight and less bulky than other materials. This material also attributes to a faster drying time as it is not waterproof. The toe box has an abrasion resistant coating to help the toe area last longer and not scuff as easily. Weighing in at only 26 oz. the design will be very light on your feet.Read more
For superior traction and slip resistance, you can trust the tread pattern of the Tachyon 8. 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 design 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 construction.
The Danner Tachyon 8 is an excellent price and value for the quality 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.
8. Under Armour Valsetz RTS 1.5
Lug Tractioned Sole
Reinforced Toe Area
Sole Unglues Easily
Not as Breathable
The Under Armour brand has been producing tactical footwear for many years. They have the finesse to the market. Also, people have known and trusted Under Armour for their sport performance designs for many decades. The Valsetz RTS that is used by civil servants can be summed up in four words: lightweight, breathable, and good support. It has ClutchFit technology which assures that the design wraps nicely around your ankle, providing support and comfort. There is also a fast spring back to the design so you can think on your feet.Read more
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 design has to offer. Conversely, it is the portion that allows sports sneakers to flex. The shank on the Valsetz is extremely lightweight and stabilizing. The Ortholite liner on this option 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 design for high levels of satisfaction.
Under Armour builds quality footwear whether that is sneakers or tactical boots. You will get much usage out of the Valsetz RTS. You may even find yourself wearing it outside of the job just because you like it so much.
9. Thorogood Gen-Flex 2
Polished Toe Cap
EVA Footbed & Midsole
300g Gel Heel Insert
Requires Breaking In
Talk about a design that looks aggressive, keeps you protected, performs, and can be comfortable! Thorogood’s 8-inch Gen-Flex 2 brings all the great qualities of a well-designed tactical option into a sleek and aggressive looking style. Ankle-high lace-up supports and stabilizes while the Goodyear storm welt construction assures a leak-proof and durable make. With loads of comfort features, it’s great for all-day wear, and perfect for police uniform with a high shine polished toe cap!Read more
Any quality footwear should be made to be durable, and last daily wear and tear. Goodyear storm-welt construction does just that in the Gen-Flex 2, creating a weather resistant seal along the outsole, and helping maintain durability. Leather uppers give a professional look while keeping 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 Gen-Flex 2 consists of an EVA cushion, 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. The EVA midsole boasts of a 300g gel heel insert, so whether you’re running, walking, or landing, this design will cushion whatever you throw at it.
Another premium priced model, the Gen-Flex 2 is one of the best investments on our list simply due to its ideal uniform styling, and the combination of comfort technology, support, and protection. Breathable, rugged, sleek looking and with shock absorbing gel will keep you going when extra hours are needed to get the job done.
10. Oakley Light Assault 2
Lightweight Cordura Upper
Minimal Break-In Period
Good Shock Absorption
Durable Nylon Laces
Uncomfortable Heel Area
Not for Extreme Conditions
The Light Assault 2 from Oakley is a design created to ensure free movement, while still maintaining a high level of protection. In this eight-inch tactical boot, your ankles will be supported and less likely to get injured, while you will be able to run, roll and leap to your heart’s desire, not being held back by your footwear. The Light Assault comes in several color options, and if you’re required to wear black shoes with your uniform, you can definitely go for these.Read more
This option has an upper made from Cordura, which is a synthetic material that promotes airflow through the design, creating a cool and dry climate around your foot. There are an EVA midsole and outsole which deliver cushioning and shock absorption so that your feet and joints don’t suffer no matter what stress they’re under. The laces on the Light Assault are nylon and made to last, and you can be sure that this design is sturdy enough to take on any adventure.
The Oakley Light Assault 2 doesn’t skimp on safety, but it also doesn’t skimp on mobility. It is a great combination of the two, and a great way for you to feel comfortable and supported, regardless of what you’re required to do in the line of duty.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
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. They need 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.
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.
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.
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 they 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 these fields exert a lot of energy, and using energy to lug around heavy boots is energy wasted.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
If you're interested in becoming a police officer, there are a few requirements to get through first. You'll need a high school diploma, be a citizen of the country and have a valid driver's license. After that, you'll have to pass the police academy entrance exam, and graduate from the academy. With hard work, you can be well on your way to a rewarding profession!
Police are only part of the entire law enforcement community, and it's best to know what background you may need, before applying for the job. Vocational schools can offer certificates, which are good for criminology background, correctional facility careers, or the criminal justice system. If you're looking to go further, advanced degrees such as a bachelor's or master's degree can assist you to obtain jobs related to intelligence, emergency planning, and crime scene investigation.
Other Factors to Consider
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.
Civil servants of many types work in fast-paced environments, and they depend heavily on footwear that supports and moves with them. Our goal was to provide you with a comprehensive list to assure you that there is footwear that will work as hard as you do each day on the job. The criteria we used to evaluate these items are outlined in detail, and we hope that you will take the time to examine them.
Additionally, you will not need to worry about comfort, dependability, or quality that we chose, and you will be able to spend more time focusing on your job duties and responsibilities, instead!
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What are duty boots?
They 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 them other than police officers?
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?
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 duty boots are seen 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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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.