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Guide to Tactical Boots

How to choose your tactical boots | UKMC Pro

Did you know that every boot, regardless of brand, was designed for a specific purpose and will respond to a particular type of mission? Making a mistake in choosing your boots can therefore be disastrous in the field, which is why we offer you this practical guide dedicated to one of the most important pieces of equipment.

Four things to keep in mind...

Application | How are your boots going to be used? Whether you are a soldier, a member of the police or medical personnel, the choice of a pair of boots is made according to the type of mission. 

Characteristics | What features do you require from your boots? Our range of boots offer many unique features  designed to improve not only their performance but also yours.

Material | What are the boots made from? Certain materials are better applied to specific environments after all.

| Do your new boots fit correctly? Lets try some small tests to find out.

Tactical boots for police, close protection & security professionals

See our range of men's tactical boots for military, police, close protection & security professionals

Application | How will your tactical boots be used?

Whether you are a soldier, a member of the police or medical personnel, the choice of a pair of boots is made according to the type of mission. You need to know the requirements of your mission, here are some things to keep in mind:

Environment | What sort of environment will they be used in? Mountainous, desert, urban...Pretty much all boots have a specific environment for which they are intended to be used and certain features lend themselves well to some tasks but not others. Some things to keep in mind are: Height and colour of your boots.

Climate | What will the climate be like? Hot, temperate, cold, tropical...This is probably one of the most important decisions you will need to make. What weather will I mainly be using my boots in? Do you need them to be breathable for hot weather use or waterproof for use in cold and wet climates? Things to keep in mind are: Lining (waterproof, thermal or unlined), breathability (does the boot have breathable panels located on the upper of the boot?).

Action | What actions will you be led to perform while wearing your boots? Running, patrolling, abseiling...Modern boots can offer an athletic feel much like your favourite pair of trainers while others have been created in full leather to provide greater durability in the field while also making them easier to maintain. Both types have their advantages and disadvantages, which is better for you depends on how you plan to use them.

Duration | How long will your mission last? The last thing you need is to be deployed and find yourself with footwear problems while away. Looking at the guarantee offered by the manufacturer is usually a good way to get an idea of how long they are intended to be used for. Some boots may look cheaper than others but when you take their expected lifespan into account, your calculations could change.

WARNING - Also remember to refer to the established uniform rules concerning your regulatory dress, what is authorized or not (the authorized clothing effects vary according to the branch and the unit, even according to the advice of the leader) and comply with them.

Technical Characteristics | What features am I looking for in my duty boots?

Once you have the requirements of your mission in mind, and you know what is allowed or not, you will then have to choose from many technical features that a boot can include. Here are the most common options:

Scuff Guards | This is the reinforcement usually present on the toes, it can be made from rubber or leather. Boots with these obviously have better protection on the toes and a long expected lifespan.

Protective Toe Cap | Mainly present on PPE shoes, this toe guard is also found on certain military or tactical boots. The two most popular types are Steel Toe Caps or Composite Toe Caps.
Anti-Static Outsole | Necessary for EOD specialists, these shoes will also be perfect for anyone that needs to pass through a security gate several times a day.

Open (Hooks) or Closed Lace Eyelets | Lacing Hooks are great for fast lacing but can get caught up if you are hiking through dense vegetation. If you must skydive, it is imperative that the eyelets are closed, not hooks!

Breathable Waterproof Membrane Lining | Waterproof boots are designed to wick away sweat and keep your feet dry. Gore-Tex is one of the best-known breathable membranes on the market.

Side-Zip | Designed to put on and take off quickly, boots with side zip are a significant asset in the field. However, pay attention to the quality and location of the zip, as these can be a failure point of the boot. This type of boot is often recommended for use in an urban environment, for example.

Mesh Panels | Unsurpassed in terms of comfort and flexibility, boots with mesh panels often tend to be ultra-lightweight and thus significantly reduce fatigue. They will also be very breathable and will be particularly suitable for use in hot environments.

Material | What do I need my boots to be made from?

Like any shoe, a good quality boot essentially consists of a sole, whose primary function is to absorb the shocks caused by walking and to protect the soles of the feet, and an upper which includes the vamp, the quarters and the tongue, that constitutes the upper part of the boot.

Boot Sole

The sole of a boot has three components; the insole (or sockliner), the midsole (or comfort sole), and the outsole. Each has a specific purpose and they can change the feel and purpose of your boots.

Lets take a look at each in more detail:

Non-Slip Sole on Magnum Tactical Boot

Outsole on Tactical Boot

Insole - This is used to drain perspiration from your feet. Most favour an open-pore polyurethane foam sole, it will wear out less quickly than a normal sole and will evacuate perspiration more effectively. The best-known technology in the industry is Ortholite, it generally provides an anti-microbial and therefore anti-odour treatment.

Midsole - This sits between the outsole and the sockliner and crucial part of a boot as it will largely determine the stability and cushioning. There are two types of midsole, the PU (Polyurethane) sole and the EVA (Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate) sole which, thanks to its bi-density, will be by far the most advantageous in terms of its solidity and shock absorption.

Outsole - this is the sole that is in direct contact with the ground. Its primary function is to protect the foot and contribute to its anchoring and stabilization on the ground while ensuring a good "unrolling" of the foot when walking. Made of PU or rubber, the preferred technology for a military boot is the Vibram sole which will considerably improve grip and which has anti-abrasion and anti-vibration properties.

Boot Upper Material

The upper is the part of the boot that surrounds the lower of your leg/shin. It is usually made of fabric or leather, or even a mixture of both and can vastly change the performance of your tactical boot.

Well-known manufacturing materials include:

Boot Upper | UKMC Pro

Boot Upper on Tactical Boot

Cordura Fabric - This is a nylon fabric. Very resistant, it resists scratches and tears. These properties mean that it is found in almost all boots using textiles.

Full-grain leather - Very strong, full-grain leather simply means skin leather, the one with the highest fibee density. Suede leather, suede or suede: obtained from the inner side of the leather, it is characterized by its softness and suppleness. Desert boots often include suede leather parts for more lightness.

Synthetic Leather - Unlike genuine leather which is made from animal skin, synthetic leather is made of polyester with a polyurethane coating. Less solid than genuine leather, it is nevertheless more affordable and remains perfectly suited for daily to moderate professional use.

Quality | Prioritise brands to ensure quality & performance

When it comes to ensuring quality selecting a well-known brand with years of experience behind them manufacturing professional footwear that is fit for purpose. Some of the most popular brands are:

AKU Boots | Trekking & Outdoor Footwear
Haix Tactical & Military Boots
Lowa Military Boots
Magnum Boots & Accessories