7 Best Combat Boots for Men: Stand Ready

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William Barton Avatar by  William Barton | Last Updated:  Feb 01, 2021
Best Combat Boots Cartoon Drawing of Man Putting on Combat Boots in Chair

Just because most combat boots look the same, it doesn’t mean they perform the same. It can be a challenge figuring out which boot is going to offer the most support and comfort.

So we put together a list of the best combat boots for men so you can find the perfect pair for you. Let’s lock and load and get on with our bad selves.

Best Overall
  • Vibram All Terrain sole
  • Boot of choice for the US Marine Corps
  • Fully waterproof
Best for Running
  • Synthetic upper is durable and very lightweight
  • Flat rubber sole offers grip across several types of soil
  • Virtually no break in period
Best Army
  • Excellent ventilation with nylon venting
  • PU breathable footbed and EVA insole is great for long periods of standing and walking
  • Grippy Vibram variable stud outsole
Best Desert Combat
  • Flash and water-resistant leather
  • Fiberglass shank is lightweight and supportive, and S2V Sieve technology is super breathable
  • PTFE coated for flame-resistance, and GSA/TAA compliant for use in the military
Best Fashion
  • Water resistant Goodyear welted construction
  • Classic Dr. Martens Airwair sole
  • Simple, iconic style
Most Lightweight
  • Lightest pair on the list at 2lbs 7oz
  • Rugged suede leather with durable cordura fabric for breathability
  • Removable insole is excellent if you need more arch support and require your own orthotic
Best Black
  • Easy to polish black toe-box to stay sharp looking on duty
  • Heel lock lacing for better Achilles support
  • Large padded midsole for extra comfort if you stand or walk a lot

Finding the best combat boots can mean the difference between a tough ruck and a soul-crushing experience. 

When it comes to rugged footwear, the less you think about it, the better. 

So after hours and hours of research, we put together our favorite combat boots on the market so you can have the performance and security you need, whether you’re out in the field or spending days standing at attention. 

How Did We Come Up With Our List?

Time taken to research: 7 hours, including talking to several active service members. 

Number of products researched: 40+.

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Our main goal as we seek out the best combat boots on the market is to cover the basics of safety: ankle support, shock resistance, comfort, and durability. From a style perspective, many of these boots are similar (or at least look that way to the untrained eye), so the boots that made our list truly stand out as the cream of the crop. 

We spent hours poring over reviews, forums, and even asked several active servicemen what their go-to’s were to create our list. 

You’ll find the list organized by category, including our favorite combat boot overall. And if you need a more specific application, like a good Army boot for rucking, a good policeman’s boot, or something super lightweight, we have those recommendations, too. 

7 Best Men’s Combat Boots

Best Overall: Danner Reckoning

1.
Danner Reckoning

If you want a combat boot that’s all about function, you’ll love the versatility of the Danner Reckoning. The Vibram All Terrain sole provides traction across loose sand, gravel, leaves, and snow, so these easily become your go-to beater boot.

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Danner is a well-respected brand in the military and hiking communities (i.e. the people who need high quality boots because their lives depend on it). So they’re usually the first place we turn for anything that requires specialized, technical know-how. 

And the USA-made Danner Reckoning ticks all the boxes. It’s our top pick for the best combat boot for men because it balances security, protection, performance, durability, and stays lightweight in the process. 

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Decked out with the famous Vibram All Terrain sole, this boot is an excellent choice for hunters, or anyone who covers a lot of ground. It has decent insulation too, so it’s a great year-round go-to.

What I Like

  • It’s waterproof, which is crucial for tough rucks and hikes. 

  • The Vibram All Terrain sole has tremendous grip and comfort.

  • 8” shaft affords a lot of extra support for your calves and ankles. 

What I Don’t Like

  • There’s some confusion about whether these are approved for the US Marines. They don’t have the EGA (the Eagle, Globe, Anchor, which literally only matters if you’re a Marine). 

What Other Reviewers Say

Over 50 reviewers on Amazon rate the Danner Reckoning about a 4.5 star average. A few folks say they run a half-size small, so unlike most other boots, we recommend getting a half-size larger than your usual sneaker size, or a full size larger than your regular boot size.

The Verdict

The Danner Reckoning is a tough mother that ticks every box we’re looking for in a combat boot. 

The 8” shaft, Vibram All Terrain sole, rough-out leather with nylon venting all add up to a piece of footwear that’s breathable, lightweight, durable, and offers a ton of protection. 

If you want a boot that will serve you for years, the Danner Reckoning is our top pick.

Best Overall
Danner Reckoning

If you want a combat boot that’s all about function, you’ll love the versatility of the Danner Reckoning. The Vibram All Terrain sole provides traction across loose sand, gravel, leaves, and snow, so these easily become your go-to beater boot.

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Best for Running: Danner Tachyon

2.
Danner Tachyon

Although it's clearly not a running shoe, the Danner Tachyon is our favorite combat boot for running. Made with all synthetic fabric, so it doesn’t have the same durability and lifespan as a pair of leather boots. What you get in exchange is a flexible, comfortable, and supportive boot that’s your best choice for running in.

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The Danner Tachyon is our favorite combat boot for running. That said, it’s not a running shoe. So don’t go thinking this will be the footwear of choice for your Saturday Morning jog. 

But if you need a solid tactical boot that can handle long distance runs, the Danner Tachyon is our top pick. 

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The entire upper is synthetic, so it’s super lightweight. Beyond that, it has an 8.5” shaft, which helps support your ankle on uneven terrain, and the sole is fairly flat, which also helps even out the ground underneath your feet.

What I Like

  • Since they’re made with synthetic fabric, they’re lightweight and dry quickly.

  • The laces that come standard do not fray, and they’re quite substantial, which helps secure your ankle more. 

  • While they’re great for running, the flatter sole is also excellent for standing on concrete for long periods of time. 

What I Don’t Like

  • They’re not as durable as the Danner Reckoning or some of the other boots with leather as the Tachyon is made with synthetic fabric. However, this is reflected in the lower price point. 

What Other Reviewers Say

With over 1000 reviews on Amazon, the Danner Tachyon holds its own with around a 4.5-star average. A lot of service members sing the praises of this boot, particularly because of its weight (or lack thereof) and comfort. 

A couple key things to note: there’s no steel shank, so you won’t set off any metal detectors. They also have a quiet footfall if you’re thinking about a pair of boots for hunting. The downside is that they don’t do so well in thorny terrain like acacia or locust.

The Verdict

If you’re looking to make those long runs a little more pleasant, the Danner Tachyon is an excellent choice for a lightweight, breathable, and comfortable combat boot. 

They’re solid across several types of terrain, though you may want one of the sturdier boots on our list if you plan on trudging through brush in your boots. 

The boot is made with all synthetic fabric, so it doesn’t have the same durability and lifespan as a pair of leather boots. What you get in exchange is a flexible, comfortable, and supportive boot that’s your best choice for running in.

Best for Running
Danner Tachyon

Although it's clearly not a running shoe, the Danner Tachyon is our favorite combat boot for running. Made with all synthetic fabric, so it doesn’t have the same durability and lifespan as a pair of leather boots. What you get in exchange is a flexible, comfortable, and supportive boot that’s your best choice for running in.

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Best Army: Garmont T8 Bifida

3.
Garmont T8 Bifida

Loaded with comfort first features like a thick EVA midsole and a PU Breathable footbed, you can expect support and comfort, even when you’re standing for hours on end. Still, this boot doesn’t sacrifice durability or protection in the service of greater comfort, so it’s still a worthy partner for tough rucks and marches.

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Let’s be real. An Army boot needs to be able to take serious punishment. But it also needs to have enough padding to stay comfortable when you’re standing at attention for hours. Hours. 

A lot of the emphasis on a great pair of combat boots has been on the rugged durability and protection, which is absolutely important. But we both know there’s a lot of standing in the Army. 

That’s where the Garmont T8 Bifida comes in. 

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It has a ton of durability features like rough out suede leather, nylon webbing, and a slip resistant sole, which you need for tough rucks and long marches. 

But the T8 Bifida also features a thick EVA midsole and a PU Breathable footbed, which means they have plenty of cushion and don’t fatigue your foot when standing for several hours at a time.

What I Like

  • They’re excellent all-round boots for everything you do in the Army—not just the exciting stuff.

  • With suede rough out leather, they stand up to wear and tear well.

  • The Vibram rubber variable lug and stud sole is great for multi-terrain training and marches. 

What I Don’t Like

  • These don’t dry very quickly, so you should be more careful about getting them wet.

What Other Reviewers Say

The Garmont T8 Bifida boasts an impressive record on Amazon with over 1,600 reviews as of writing at around a 4.7-star average. 

Many people said these Garmont’s are the most comfortable boots they’ve owned over their career—and we’re talking 15-20 year careers. 

A lot of reviewers heaped praise on the ball bearing eyelet as it’s helpful for getting that customized lock on your laces for extra security in your heel and ankle.

The Verdict

Hurry up and wait: the unofficial motto of the Army. 

The Garmont T8 Bifida does an excellent job in the hurry up phase, but it does even better in the wait phase. 

Loaded with comfort first features like a thick EVA midsole and a PU Breathable footbed, you can expect support and comfort, even when you’re standing for hours on end. Still, this boot doesn’t sacrifice durability or protection in the service of greater comfort, so it’s still a worthy partner for tough rucks and marches.

Best Army
Garmont T8 Bifida

Loaded with comfort first features like a thick EVA midsole and a PU Breathable footbed, you can expect support and comfort, even when you’re standing for hours on end. Still, this boot doesn’t sacrifice durability or protection in the service of greater comfort, so it’s still a worthy partner for tough rucks and marches.

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Best Desert Combat: Rocky S2V Predator

4.
Rocky S2V Predator

The Rocky S2V Predator is our favorite desert combat boot, but that title comes with a disclaimer. We chose this boot mainly for its grippy sole (which does well on loose sand and rocks), and it’s flash, water, and flame resistant, so it’s solid for the combat part.

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The Rocky S2V Predator stays pretty lightweight for such a heavy duty boot. We picked the Predator as our go-to desert combat boot for a few reasons: the first is that the sole offers a lot of grip on loose sand and varied rocky terrains.

The S2V Predator also is PTFE coated for flame resistance, and it’s flash and water-resistant, too.

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Basically, this is the boot you want with you when things get fubar. It’s not the most breathable boot on our list, which detracts a few points for its effectiveness in a desert situation (because, you know, deserts are hot). If breathability is your main concern, go with the Danner Tachyon. 

But we still feel the S2V Predator is the best desert combat boot choice because of its superior protection and added sole traction.

What I Like

  • These boots offer a lot of protection in dangerous elements.

  • The sole keeps traction in loose sand and gravel well.

  • The fiberglass shank is lightweight and still offers excellent support.

What I Don’t Like

  • They’re heavier and less breathable than other boots on our list. So if those are key features for you, check out a few other options. 

What Other Reviewers Say

The Rocky S2V Predator has over 350 reviews on Amazon, all averaging a 4.6-star rating. They run a bit small, so order a half-size larger than you normally would for your sneakers, or a full size larger than you would with a standard pair of non-combat boots.

The Verdict

The Rocky S2V Predator is our favorite desert combat boot, but that title comes with a disclaimer. We chose this boot mainly for its grippy sole (which does well on loose sand and rocks), and it’s flash, water, and flame resistant, so it’s solid for the combat part. 

But some of its durability and protection comes at the expense of breathability. It doesn’t have the same ventilation as the Danner Reckoning or Tachyon, so if your feet run hot, you might find these uncomfortable when the temperature jumps above 100F degrees. 

Still, the Rocky S2V Predator takes the top spot because we’re placing safety and traction at a higher premium than comfort.

Best Desert Combat
Rocky S2V Predator

The Rocky S2V Predator is our favorite desert combat boot, but that title comes with a disclaimer. We chose this boot mainly for its grippy sole (which does well on loose sand and rocks), and it’s flash, water, and flame resistant, so it’s solid for the combat part.

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Best Fashion: Dr. Martens 1460

5.
Dr. Martens 1460

The Dr. Martens 1460 is the combat boot of choice for fashion-forward folks that want to add a little good old fashion punk-rock vibe to their look. If you’re in the market for a stylish combat boot that gives a nod to the 70s and 80s punk era, you'll struggle to find better than these.

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The Dr. Martens 1460 is the combat boot of choice for fashion-forward folks that want to add a little good old fashion punk-rock vibe to their look. 

The iconic yellow stitching and Airwair sole set this boot apart, and it strikes a balance between chunky and sleek. 

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The Airwair sole is best on city streets—this isn’t the sort of boot you should get if you’re looking to put in miles on the trail or use for yard work. Still, with a Goodyear welt construction, the 1460 has decent water resistance.

If you’re looking for a stylish combat boot, the Dr. Martens 1460 is the way to go.

What I Like

  • The classic Dr. Martens Airwair sole is comfortable on city streets. 

  • The style is unique and distinctive.

  • Goodyear welt construction means it’s resoleable and water resistant. 

What I Don’t Like

  • The Airwair sole suffers from lack of durability if used in the bush. It’s best to keep these in the city.

What Other Reviewers Say

It’s rare that a dad and his teenage daughter can wear the same style of boots. But the Dr. Martens have broad appeal for a reason. On Amazon, this boot has over 1,000 ratings that average to 4.4-stars.

The consensus is to order a half-size smaller than your sneaker size to get the correct fit.

The Verdict

If you’re in the market for a stylish combat boot, there’s none better than the Dr. Martens 1460. While the other entries on our list are better suited for tactical situations, the 1460 kicks ass in a different way. 

Recall the grungy 70s and 80s punk rock era with these modern day classics.

Best Fashion
Dr. Martens 1460

The Dr. Martens 1460 is the combat boot of choice for fashion-forward folks that want to add a little good old fashion punk-rock vibe to their look. If you’re in the market for a stylish combat boot that gives a nod to the 70s and 80s punk era, you'll struggle to find better than these.

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Most Lightweight: Lowa Zephyr GTX Mid

6.
Lowa Zephyr GTX Mid

If you need to stay light on your feet, pick up the Lowa Zephyr GTX Mid. At 2lbs 7oz per pair, these boots are excellent for long hikes and putting miles in on the trail.

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The Lowa Zephyr GTX Mid is the lightest combat boot on our list, which makes it a pleasure for hiking and working in. It’s also the lowest cut—with a 6” shaft, the Zephyr GTX Mid covers your ankles, but doesn’t reach up to your calves like an 8” boot would. 

Made with rough out suede leather and Cordura fabric venting, this Lowa boot is a beast in the field. It features multi-directional rubber lugs for excellent grip and traction on any terrain (but especially dirt and rocks).

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This boot also has an easily removable insole, so if you suffer from flat feet or plantar fasciitis, a simple swap-out with your own orthotic will help you get all the arch support you need.

What I Like

  • At 2lbs 7oz (1.1kg) per pair, these boots are the lightest on our list.

  • Goretex lining helps with waterproofing and temperature regulation.

  • Excellent traction from the multi-directional rubber lugs.

What I Don’t Like

  • You may need to get your own pair of insoles to replace the standard ones as they’re quite thin. 

What Other Reviewers Say

Lowa has a tremendous reputation for quality footwear, and the Zephyr GTX Mid has over 40 reviews on Amazon at around a 4.3-star average. 

One note that came up a few times throughout the reviews is that the insoles don’t offer a ton of arch support. They’re easy enough to remove, but it’s worth picking up your own pair of insoles to insert into these boots. Reviewers say this little swap turns the Lowa Zephyr from good to great.

The Verdict

If you need to stay light on your feet, pick up the Lowa Zephyr GTX Mid. At 2lbs 7oz per pair, these boots are excellent for long hikes and putting miles in on the trail. 

Built with a multi-directional lug sole, Goretex lining, and roughout suede leather and Cordura fabric, these bad boys can take a beating and keep your feet comfortable, no problem. 

Consider getting your own insoles for these boots, as that can add a whole new level of arch support and comfort.

Most Lightweight
Lowa Zephyr GTX Mid

If you need to stay light on your feet, pick up the Lowa Zephyr GTX Mid. At 2lbs 7oz per pair, these boots are excellent for long hikes and putting miles in on the trail.

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Best Black: 5.11 Tactical A.T.A.C

7.
5.11 Tactical A.T.A.C

With over 150 Amazon reviews averaging a 4.3-star rating, a few key sizing issues cropped up. But otherwise, reviewers love the 5.11 Tactical A.T.A.C.

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The 5.11 Tactical A.T.A.C is a budget-level beast. A great choice for police, security work, and law enforcement, these 5.11’s prioritize arch support, comfort, and boast nice features like a ball-bearing eyelet for heel-lock lacing, which helps keep your ankles firm in place. 

It’s also the least expensive boot on our list, so if you’re looking for a combat boot under $100, this is an excellent choice. 

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It only comes in black, so take that into consideration for any uniform requirements. But the firm toe-box makes for an easily polished surface so you can get maximum shine on them and fulfill your duties with a little flair.

What I Like

  • The zipper closure makes these easy to take on and off (especially helpful if you have a bad back). 

  • They’re relatively inexpensive at under $100. 

  • There’s an excellent balance of comfort and safety features, which is needed if you’re on your feet all day. 

What I Don’t Like

  • They’re a bit stiff and take a while to break in, and they never quite relax to get that “glove-like” fit. 

What Other Reviewers Say

With over 150 Amazon reviews averaging around a 4.3-star rating, a few key sizing issues cropped up. But otherwise, reviewers overwhelmingly rate the 5.11 Tactical A.T.A.C highly.

When ordering this boot, get a half-size larger than you normally would for your sneakers. Many reviewers say theirs arrived a little small. Save yourself the return and move up 1/2 size. 

With that sizing issue straightened out, these boots have positive reviews from law enforcement officers, security teams, and hikers alike.

The Verdict

Need a combat boot under $100? The 5.11 Tactical A.T.A.C is your best bet. With a sleek black toe box and a fantastic array of safety and comfort features, this is the budget boot you want on your feet if you’re standing for hours. 

Remember to order a half size larger than you normally would in sneakers so you get the perfect fit.

Best Black
5.11 Tactical A.T.A.C

With over 150 Amazon reviews averaging a 4.3-star rating, a few key sizing issues cropped up. But otherwise, reviewers love the 5.11 Tactical A.T.A.C.

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How Do You Break In Combat Boots?

Combat boots are often quite easy to break in and they’re relatively painless compared to other heritage brands. Because they’re built with more modern materials, they’re usually more lightweight and have more flexibility than stiff leather. 

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Still, any new pair of boots is subject to a brief period, whether it’s three days or three weeks, where the leather breaks in and your foot sinks into the insole. 

Here’s a simple 4 step process to follow so you can painlessly break in your combat boots:

1. Make sure the fit is right

When you first get your combat boots, try them on. Do they fit? You should have a half inch to a full inch of room in the toe, and you shouldn’t feel any tingling sensations. Also, you shouldn’t have more than a half inch of heel slip. Any more than that, and your boots are too big.

Test out the fit by walking around the house for a few hours. Don’t wear your new boots outside until you’re positive they fit well. Once you go outside, you can’t return them at most retailers.

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2. Crease the toe

The ball of your foot, where your toes begin, is often the most difficult spot to break in. You might also experience some trouble in the heel, or at the top of your foot in the instep. 

Start a crease at the ball of your foot by doing calf-raisers, or crouching down. You can also try standing on a stair and rocking and forth. 

Breaking in the ball of the boot will help your heel sink back, and greatly reduce the chances of you getting blisters on the sides of your feet. If you’re tired of wearing your boots, you can continue to work the crease with your hands, bending your boots back and forth. 

3. Wear band-aids or blister pads

Your first hike, trek, ruck, workday—whatever it is—wear bandaids or blister pads along the hotspots of your feet. You never want to get caught a few miles into a tough ruck developing blisters along your heels with several miles to go. 

Where Boots Rub Diagram

So wear thick socks and bandaids. Even if it’s summer, the thick socks will create moisture (a fancy way of saying your feet will sweat like crazy) and the moisture will help soften the leather. It may be uncomfortable, but it beats a month-long break in period. 

With most combat boots, doing this once or twice is enough to break the boots in sufficiently to where you can wear them as you normally would.

4. Wear, rest, repeat

After that, there’s nothing left but to finish breaking them in by wearing them. Start putting in the miles until they feel like a second skin. 

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Avoid any tips or tricks that suggest you should soak your boots in water or spray alcohol on them. Those are surefire ways to get your boots moldy or damage the leather permanently. 

Really, if you get the right size boot and spend a little time working the creases and hotspots of your boots, the break in period shouldn’t be too difficult. 

Can Military Boots Cause Foot Problems?

Combat boots, like other boots, should be carefully chosen. The wrong footwear can cause foot problems that stick around for months or years (we’re looking at you, plantar fasciitis).

There are a few boxes you need to check before loading yourself with heavy gear. You need the right fit, you need proper arch support, and you need ample ankle support. 

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If your boots are too tight, you risk foot cramps, blisters, and possible structural injuries if worn long enough. 

If your boots are too loose, you’ll be living in ankle-roll city, which is dangerous enough without a 70lb bag on your back.

The truth is, military service isn’t easy on the feet, and many service members struggle with foot issues. While you can’t make your job demands easier, your best protection against long-term discomfort is an excellent pair of boots.

Our list features only the best combat boots—we’ve thoroughly vetted them so you can walk with confidence.

At Attention

A good pair of combat boots can make your work day fly by like it was nothing. Our list is carefully selected and updated to bring you the best options for any application. 

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Our top pick is the Danner Reckoning. It offers the best balance of safety, security, comfort, and durability, so if you’re picking up a pair of boots for the long-haul, Danner is our go-to. 

Our Top Pick
Danner Reckoning

If you want a combat boot that’s all about function, you’ll love the versatility of the Danner Reckoning. The Vibram All Terrain sole provides traction across loose sand, gravel, leaves, and snow, so these easily become your go-to beater boot.

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Of course, that’s not the only worthwhile tactical boot on the market, so take a look at the others to see if they fit your needs better. 

Which boot will it be for you? Let us know in the comments if you have a specific question on any of these boots and we’ll do what we can to help you put your best boot forward. 

FAQs

Are combat boots in style in 2021?

Combat boots are in style in 2021, especially models like the Dr. Martens 1460. The chunky blend of military aesthetic and vintage punk rock vibes is always relevant.

What boots do Navy Seals wear?

Navy Seals are issued Bates boots, but often switch to Danner. The Bates Tropical Seals Durashocks boot is what comes standard issue for Navy Seals.

What boots do the military use?

Each branch of the military has a standard issue branch. The boots listed above are all appropriate and sanctioned for military wear, unless otherwise noted.

Should combat boots be tight or loose?

Combat boots should be snug, but you should never feel a tingling sensation in your foot. You certainly don’t want tactical boots to be loose, as that can cause ankle security issues.

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