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5 Best Station Boots for Firefighters: Reviewed & Recommended

Life can get pretty hectic on shift at the firehouse or riding in the ambulance. You’re on the go all day long, which can lead to tired, sore feet. You’re going to need the right pair of boots designed to keep up with anything your busy life can throw at you, be it a fire, emergency call, or wilderness rescue.

We’ve put together a list of our five favorite station boots purpose-built specifically for emergency personnel, the most secure boots you’ll ever need for your busy life as a firefighter, paramedic, or police officer.

Top Picks Overview

I get it. 

The life of a first responder can be busier than you ever expected. 

Getting called out to a fire, racing to the scene of a crash or accident, or hustling a patient to the hospital, your day often feels like a non-stop adrenaline rush.

When you spend all day hustling and on your feet, you need a solid pair of boots built specifically to keep up with you.

A good pair of station boots will provide you comfort, support, and protection in just about any environment you’ll encounter on shift. And, more importantly, they’re easy to take on and off so you can kick your feet up when not on duty while still being ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice.

After testing every pair I could get my hands on, I’ve collected a list of the five best station boots on the market that are ideal for use by any EMS, fire fighter, or police officer on the job.

What Is a Station Boot?

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Station boots are similar in design to “logger boots”: work boots built with:

  • A taller heel profile that provides great cushioning and traction
  • An upper 6+ inches in height
  • A lug sole for added durability
  • A boot kiltie (a strip of leather covering the tongue of your boot to add an extra layer of protection)
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However, there are a couple of differences between the standard “logger boot” and a purpose-built station boot.

  • Station boots are typically more waterproof (to prevent water and chemicals from leaking into the boot) and chemical-resistant.
  • They’re also less flexible in the tongue, because the tongue (and kiltie) are usually stitched to the vamp and the boot’s interior.
  • They’ll also often feature both a zipper (front or side) and lace eyelets that thread behind the boot tongue.
  • The boot’s unique design creates a barrier to keep out moisture, provides excellent protection for your feet, and one of the most long-lasting boot types around.

What to Consider Before Buying

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  • Factor #1: Comfort. You’re going to be walking around in these boots all day, likely racing around and heading out on calls. Comfort matters a lot!
  • Factor #2: Support. Without sufficient arch support (and cushioning), you’ll be more prone to foot fatigue, which can translate into greater wear on your joints and more fatigue in the rest of your body.
  • Factor #3: Waterproofing/Chemical Resistance. These boots are designed to protect your feet from chemical spills as well as water when working in wet/watery environments.
  • Factor #4: Grip/Traction. You might be called out to an accident scene with oil spilled on the road, or heading out into the wilderness on a rescue call. You need boots with traction enough to stay grippy on any surface, no matter how wet, muddy, or slick.

These are the crucial factors you should be considering when looking for station boots—and the factors we took into account when choosing the five boots we deemed the “best” for your purposes.

My Recommendations

Best Value: Redback Rescue

The Redback Rescue is a truly innovative boot: it’s built with the look and durability of a station boot, but with the feel and support more akin to a tennis shoe.

The TPU sole is surprisingly lightweight and features an anatomical construction that offers pretty impressive support and cushioning. Walking around in these bad boys all day, I felt no strain or fatigue in my feet even after hours on the go.

The calf height, triple-stitch upper, and sturdy full grain leather construction all ensure that it’s highly durable. The addition of a ASTM F2413-11 compliant steel toe also makes it an excellent pair of all-around work boots (I lent them to my welder son and he loved them).

Best of all, the quick-release zipper makes it wonderfully easy to slide them off at the end of a long day, but it takes just a few seconds to pull them back on if you’ve got to hustle out the door in a hurry.

What I Like

  • The most comfortable pair of station boots I tested (possibly more comfortable than any work boot, for that matter).

  • Anatomical construction makes the boots’ fit feel very personalized and molds easily to your foot shape.

  • Sturdy build and excellent waterproofing features (zipper, sewn tongue, protective coating) keep your feet dry even in heavy rain or when working in water (I waded into a river to test them).

  • Oil, acid, and slip-resistant outsole is beautifully grippy on any surface, no matter no slick.

What I Don’t Like

  • I noticed a bit of sole separation after a few months of use. Thankfully, Redback replaced them with no questions asked.

What Other Reviewers Say

There aren’t a lot of reviews on these boots available online, but those I’ve found (on YouTube, especially) speak very highly of the boots’ slip-protection, cushiony midsole, and adherence to safety standards. Every review I’ve found agrees that these are among the most comfortable station boots around.

Regarding my “dislike” above: it turns out that older-model Redback Rescue boots have an issue with sole separation. Apparently, the company has taken steps to improve/change up the design so it’s no longer a problem with newer-model boots.

The Verdict

For anyone who spends long hours on their feet, these boots are a surefire win. They’re built to keep you comfortable and provide support while you’re hustling, with excellent slip-resistance, foot protection, and stability. Hands down the best station boots I tested.

Best Value
Redback Rescue

For anyone who spends long hours on their feet, these boots are a surefire win. They’re built to keep you comfortable and provide support while you’re hustling, with excellent slip-resistance, foot protection, and stability. Hands down the best station boots I tested.

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Best Upgrade: Nicks Side Zip Station Boot

Slipping your boots off and on is made a whole lot easier by the zipper set into the side of the upper (rather than the front). The design also ensures the front is fully waterproofed with no way for moisture to get in.

One great thing about these boots is that you can order them custom-made. You can choose everything: boot width, length, height, last (arch) design, leather style, insulation, toe structure, and outsole type. You can even have Nicks send a pair straight to your home (for a price) to test out and use that to customize the boots exactly to your specifications.

For guys who like their shoes “just so”, they’re an amazing option.

What I Like

  • Fully customizable from the upper to the outsole.

  • Sturdy, well-built, and comfortable.

  • Easy to break in. They won’t feel stiff and inflexible for long, but will mold to your feet quickly.

  • Convenient to slip on and off thanks to the side zipper.

What I Don’t Like

  • The sizing can be a bit off. The website recommends ordering a half-size shorter than your normal size, but when I did that, it felt like a full size too small. It took me three tries to get the sizing just right.

What Other Reviewers Say

Reviewers who’ve tested the boots have a lot of great things to say about them. Chief among the praise is the fact that they fit beautifully right out of the box and have a very short break-in period. One user found that just one weekend (in wet conditions) sufficed to break them in, while another got them fully broken-in in just 40 hours of use (very short for leather boots).

The Verdict

The price tag makes it clear these are a luxury, but one well worth the expense if you want a pair of boots custom-made to your exact specifications and desires. You can take total control of the design process so you walk away with a pair of boots you’ll be proud to wear for years.

Best Upgrade
Nicks Side Zip Station Boot

The price tag makes it clear these are a luxury, but one well worth the expense if you want a pair of boots custom-made to your exact specifications and desires. You can take total control of the design process so you walk away with a pair of boots you’ll be proud to wear for years.

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Budget Pick:  Bates Men’s Gx-8 Side Zip Tactical Boot

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/82331499673089148/

Don’t let the low price tag fool you: these boots are built for the hustle and bustle of a busy firefighter, cop, or EMS’s life.

The boots combine a pure leather upper with a sturdy, grippy rubber sole, performance nylon mesh, and breathable GORE-TEX waterproof membrane. There’s even a moisture-wicking inner lining to keep your feet cool and dry no matter how many hours you’re on your feet.

What I Like

  • The price tag is very affordable, but the quality is still excellent.

  •  A comfortable, stable, secure design.

  • Suitable for tactical as well as rescue/emergency environments.

  • Capable of lasting 10+ years when properly cared for.

What I Don’t Like

  • The nylon upper isn’t quite as durable against chemicals as properly treated leather.

  • The break-in period is a bit longer than I expected.

What Other Reviewers Say

With over 2,000 reviews and a 4.4 out of 5-star rating, it’s no surprise that reviewers love these boots. The Gore-Tex lining is a huge “pro” for a lot of people, as it adds durability, waterproofing, and comfort to keep the boots from feeling too hot on warm summer days.

Also praised by reviewers are the solid toe and ample footbox, which is sized large enough even for people with wide feet.

One of the chief complaints revolves around the zipper, interestingly enough. Like me, a few reviewers struggled to pull it up. Some even complained the boots’ upper compressed their ankles and lower calves too tightly when the boot was fully zipped up.

The Verdict

For a “budget” buy, this pair of station boots will be a great choice for anyone who wants durability, high performance, and reliability for their daily footwear.

Best on a Budget
Bates Men's Gx-8 Side Zip Tactical Boot

For a “budget” buy, this pair of station boots will be a great choice for anyone who wants durability, high performance, and reliability for their daily footwear.

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Best Runner-Up: HAIX Airpower XR2

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HAIX is a highly popular brand for station boots, and these came incredibly close to being my “best pick” overall.

There’s a lot to love about these boots: temperature-regulating design, sturdy and secure lacing system, quick-release zipper that makes them easy to slide on and off, hydrophobic treatment that keeps the leather upper very protected against chemicals and water, NFPA certification for EMS use, ASTM certification for electrical hazards, and a heat-resistant rubber sole (with a polyurethane wedge) that offers amazing traction on even oily, slick, and wet ground.

The only reason I gave the slight edge to the Redback Runners was because they were just a bit more comfortable and lighter-weight than these boots. But for a back-up pick, you won’t find better than these bad boys.

What I Like

  • Ultra-sturdy, practical boots built specifically for EMS and rescue personnel.

  • Customizable width (medium, wide, and extra wide) compatible with any foot size.

  • EMS certified, offering excellent protection in any emergency situation.

  •  Composite toe cap is a lighter-weight alternative to steel toe, but offers equal protection.

What I Don’t Like

  • The price tag is significantly higher than my top pick, but the “upgrades” aren’t significant enough to warrant the jump in cost.

What Other Reviewers Say

A lot of other reviewers rate this boot very highly. In fact, it often takes the “best station boot” spot on a lot of lists because of how sturdy, solidly built, and versatile it is.

The inner lining often gets plenty of praise, because it keeps your feet cool and dry even when the temperature is blistering hot around you. For long hours of standing and walking, they offer good arch support and cushioning to protect your joints.

The Verdict

If you’re willing to pay just a little bit more for a good pair of station boots, these are an excellent “second pick”. They’re fractionally heavier than our top pick, but also a bit heavier-duty in their construction and feel. Their EMS-specific design and features makes them a choice worth considering every time.

Best Runner-Up
HAIX Airpower XR2

If you’re willing to pay just a little bit more for a good pair of station boots, these are an excellent “second pick”. They’re fractionally heavier than our top pick, but also a bit heavier-duty in their construction and feel. Their EMS-specific design and features makes them a choice worth considering every time.

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Best Low Top: Redback Bobcat

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Redback is back on the list again, this time with a pair of low-top boots (with a 6-inch shaft) built both for job sites and use by EMS personnel.

Really, they’re a pair of work boots that feature critical elements of a station boot, including a steel toe cap, hard-wearing TPU outsole, and anatomical fit that will keep your feet comfortable over a long day of work. Add to that the slip-on design (complete with front and back pull tabs) and a sturdy 2.6-mm full grain leather upper, and you’ve got yourself a great pair of boots to use in any fire house or ambulance bay.

What I Like

  •  Easy to slip on and off. No fiddling with laces or zippers.

  • Once on, they stay securely in place. Your feet won’t slip or slide around.

  • Full grain leather upper is gorgeous and stylish when paired with your EMS/firefighter uniform.

  • Affordable price tag, but built to last for years of hard use.

What I Don’t Like

  • The low shaft height (6 inches) leaves me feeling a bit unsteady in outdoor environments (search and rescue).

  • The boots aren’t fully waterproof.

What Other Reviewers Say

Reviewers of the Redback Bobcat have praised the comfort of these shoes, particularly the cushioned footbeds and urethane air cellular shock-absorbing midsoles. The slip-on style is another popular feature.

Real-life users also regularly praise the quality of the Australian-made boots. Though they’re not quite as

The Verdict

If you prefer a lower top and slip-on style over the full-height, zip-and-lace-up standard station boot cut, these are a great choice for you. Their comfort, durability, and versatility definitely won me over, and the bonus of an affordable price tag secured them a spot on this list.

Best Low Top
Redback Bobcat

If you prefer a lower top and slip-on style over the full-height, zip-and-lace-up standard station boot cut, these are a great choice for you. Their comfort, durability, and versatility definitely won me over, and the bonus of an affordable price tag secured them a spot on this list.

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Ready to Respond

For those non-stop days when you’re on your feet and running from call to call, a good pair of station boots will be your best friend. They’ll keep your feet supported, cushioned, protected, and comfortable no matter how active you are or how many hours you spend on the move.

Through the course of all my testing, the Redback Rescue boots proved to be the best pick overall. They were just the most comfortable and versatile, thanks to their “tennis shoe-like feel”. I won’t need another pair of work boots for years to come because I’ve got these bad boys in my closet, always ready when I need to spring into action at a moment’s notice.

Best Overall
Redback Rescue

For anyone who spends long hours on their feet, these boots are a surefire win. They’re built to keep you comfortable and provide support while you’re hustling, with excellent slip-resistance, foot protection, and stability. Hands down the best station boots I tested.

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FAQs

What station boots do firefighters wear?

There is no single brand or model used by firefighters. However, in order to be suitable to wear on the job, the station boots must comply with ASTM Standard F2413-05 and have a toe cap with either a C/50 or C/75 rating (1,750 or 2,500 pounds).

Why do firefighters wear boots?

Firefighters wear boots to protect their feet both on the job and off. They’ve got their “bunker boots” (also called “turnout boots”) which are typically made of the same fire-resistant material as their bunker gear/turnout gear, which feature a fire-resistant rubber sole.

However, those boots are only used when out on calls. Firefighters need good footwear to use when on shift and at the fire house, and you just can’t beat a good pair of boots for durability and versatility.

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