Those in the military wear tactical boots for long hours in unpredictable conditions.
If military boots can handle tromping in the desert and swamps during combat, they should be tough enough for your long treks outdoors.
We'll show you what to keep your eyes out for, along with our picks for best tactical hiking boots in 2020.
- Updated 2/9/2020
Top 3 Quick Picks: Best Tactical Hiking Boots For Men In 2020
Rough-out, full-grain leather
**Below, you'll find our detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to quickly check the prices of our top 3 picks for the best men's tactical hiking boots in 2020.
Table of Contents
- 1 Factors to Consider When Choosing Tactical Hiking Boots
- 2 Understanding the Parts of a Tactical Boot
- 3 Types of Tactical Boots
- 4 Corcoran Men's 10 Inch Side Zipper Jump Work Boot
- 5 Garmont T8 Bifida Tactical Boot
- 6 Belleville 500 USMC Waterproof Desert Tan 8" Combat Boot
- 7 Danner Men's Marine Temperate Military Boot
- 8 Viper Elite 5 Boots MultiCam
- 9 Tactical Research FATT MAXX 8ZWP
- 10 Best Men's Tactical Hiking Boots 2020 WINNER
Factors to Consider When Choosing Tactical Hiking Boots
Top-rated tactical boots, to include Special Forces boots, are built for all sorts of terrain and conditions, making them an option to consider when seeking footwear for hiking. As when choosing any tactical wear, there are factors that you want to think about when choosing the pair of tactical hiking boots that best suit your needs.
First, think about where you will be wearing these boots. You will likely want a different boot for rocky adventures in the desert than you would want if you plan to hike through the rugged mountains or in swampland.
Also consider the temperatures that you will encounter where you plan to be hiking. Will the temperatures be extreme; either hot or cold? Do you anticipate a lot of wetness, whether because you are traversing rivers or swamps, or spending time outdoors in rainy conditions?
Understanding the Parts of a Tactical Boot
It is helpful to understand the different parts of a tactical boot, along with the different types of materials they can be made from. You will want to choose the type of material each part of the boot is made of based on your planned usage. Boots include the “upper”, “midsoles” and “outsoles”.
The top portion of the boot is considered the upper. Uppers can be made out of a variety of materials and the choice of material will impact the weight, breathability, durability and water-resistance of the boot.
Most boots are made of full-grain leather. While leather may lack breathability and take a while to break in, it will do well in its resistance to water and will be very durable. Real leather is good to have when traversing rough terrain, particularly with heavy loads over a long period of time.
While full-grain leather may take awhile to dry, split grain leather is a combination of leather and nylon which will weigh less and breathe better than full-grain leather.
Usually cheaper than full-grain leather, split grain leather will not be as water resistant. Nubuck leather is buffed leather that looks like suede. While it is similar to full-grain leather, it is typically a bit more flexible.
Synthetics are another material option for the upper. Synthetic options include polyester,nylon and synthetic leather. These options break in quicker and are lighter and dry faster. They are also cheaper. The negative is that they will wear out faster than leather boots. Waterproof tactical boots are typically synthetic.
Midsoles have multiple functions, from cushioning, shock absorption and being responsible for how stiff (or not) the boot is. Midsoles are usually made of Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) or Polyurethane.
EVA feels lighter and like it has more cushion. EVA is cheaper than polyurethane and is used more often. It works well as a shock absorbent, is waterproof and does a good job protecting your feet from sharp objects. Polyurethane is more firm and durable than EVA,however it is more expensive.
Most soles for tactical boots are made of rubber. In some boots, carbon is added in order to add additional stiffness.
Made in Italy, Vibram soles are ahigh quality sole that is resistant to a number of substances, is slip resistant and is lightweight and durable. Learn more about Vibram soles in the video below.
Other Parts of the Boot
Other parts of the boot to pay attention to include the heel break, lug pattern and toe protection. A heel break is the part of the outsole that will slow you down when you are descending from a steep location. The lug pattern will provide you with traction; in places that are swampy or littered with debris, a smaller lug pattern will ensure that small items don’t get caught in your boot. In regards to toe protection, tactical boots may have steel or composite toe protection.
What about Gore-Tex?
Gore-Tex, or GTX, is a membrane with many microscopic openings that is coated with Teflon. GTX is developed to keep your feet dry, both by keeping moisture out, as well as eliminating sweat that you generate.
Types of Tactical Boots
The most common types of tactical boots include jump boots, tanker boots and tactical boots for extreme weather conditions.
Standard issue boots are your basic army boots. They are waterproof, made of black leather and are developed to offer additional stability in the ankle and foot. As they are made for training or combat conditions, they are made to handle rough terrain.
Jump boots are also called paratrooper boots. These are standard for those in paratrooper units and offer reinforcements, particularly in the ankle, making them a good option for military hiking boots, especially for those who spend a lot of time on uneven terrain. Including tall shanks that reach the calf and rubber soles, jump boots offer protection and stability.
Tanker boots don’t have laces, instead featuring leather straps. This is so that the laces don’t get tangled up with anything; from moving parts of a tank to tree roots. These boots are very heat resistant, offer a gusseted tongue to keep debris out and have steel toe guards and metal inserts.
Tactical Boots for Weather Extremes
Tactical boots for weather extremes include Jungle boots (uppers made of canvas with rubber soles, which let water in but dry out very quickly), Desert boots (made of rough suede along with nylon siding) and Combat boots for cold climates (thereare a variety of these for different temperature conditions).
Now that you have an idea of what to keep in mind when looking to purchase the best pair of military hiking boots around, let’s review six possible options of top-rated tactical hiking boots.
Full Review: Best Tactical Hiking Boots For Men In 2020
90% Leather, 10% Mesh
Rough-out, full-grain leather
Leather and rubber
Best Men's Tactical Hiking Boots 2020 WINNER
Belleville 500 USMC Waterproof Desert Tan 8" Combat Boot
Updated 2/9/2020 - And the Winner is...
The Belleville 500 USMC Waterproof Desert Tan 8" Combat Boot is our top choice. Developed in part with those who have been involved in Special Forces, this tactical boot delivers excellent features like the Vibram outsole and Gore-tex waterproof fabric bootie.
With the Vibram outsole you will have the traction that you want to move quickly down a steep and rocky incline with total confidence. As far as the Gore-tex waterproof fabric bootie, let's be honest; sometimes we want to take a few steps in the creek (no accident required) without it meaning we will have wet feet for the rest of the day.
When looking for the best tactical hiking boot, the Belleville 500 USMC Waterproof Desert Tan 8" Combat Boots are up for the adventure.