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Oakley Light Assault Boot 2 Review: Not Your Tactical Boot

William Barton
Expertise:

Boots, Leather, Heritage Fashion, Denim, Workwear

William founded BootSpy in 2020 with a simple mission: test and review popular men’s boots and give a real, honest opinion. Since then, we've welcomed over 5 million readers on our boot reviews and boot care guides. Reach out to him for your own personalized boot recommendation at william@bootspy.com. Or join 50,000+ subscribers on the BootSpy YouTube channel, or send him a message on the BootSpy Instagram. Read full bio.


Last Updated: Apr 3, 2024
12 min read

You can’t afford to bring a bad pair of boots with you out in the field. You already have enough to focus on without worrying if your footwear is going to hold up.

In this Oakley Light Assault Boot 2 review, I’m diving into the details of this combat boot so you can decide if it’s worth picking up.

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Oakley Light Assault Boot 2
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Bottom line: The Oakley Light Assault Boot 2 is one of the lightest boots you can get, but don’t expect them to last a year if you regularly ruck or need them for any sort of heavy duty wear. They have decent ankle support and are great if you go airsofting once a month, but if you’re in the military and want a boot that’ll actually last in the field, I recommend getting another brand.

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Pros:
  • Maybe the lightest boot I’ve ever worn
  • The laces and lacing system are great
  • Removable insole so you can add your own custom insert if needed
Cons:
  • Roughout leather on the upper is thin
  • Very little arch support

I recently picked up rucking as my weekend exercise. I’m not a military guy, but I love getting out in nature and working up a sweat. 

Plus loading myself with some heavy weight helps when I go on a hike with my wife and she wants to walk slow. 

Due to my newfound weekend hobby, I decided to try out one of the most popular tactical boots around: the Oakley Light Assault Boot 2

I’ve reviewed over 100 boots, and I must say: I’m not impressed with these. Let me tell you why.

Oakley Combat Boots Overview

Oakley tactical boots on a brick background

Oakley combat boots are made by the famous sunglasses brand. As you can imagine, the folks at Oakley aren’t boot experts. But they made a boot anyway. 

They really focus on the one style of boot and have been improving it for years now: the Light Assault 2

The upper is a mix of roughout leather and nylon webbing, and the sole is mold-injected EVA. You can pick them up in Desert (light tan), Coyote (mid-tan), and Black. Oakley also offers a few smooth grain leather options as well, though I think roughout is the better choice (I’ll explain more the benefits of roughout leather below). 

Things to Consider Before Buying

tying oakley light assault tactical boot

There’s a broad range of prices for tactical boots, and these Oakley’s fall on the less expensive side. 

Of the tactical boots I’ve tried, I think the Oakley Light Assault is still too expensive for what you get. The construction and materials remind me of something you can get for $50. For that kind of price, I’d say they’d possibly be worth a try. 

But these are more like costume props rather than proper boots for the field.

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If you go airsofting once a month and you want a cool looking boot, then the Oakley Light Assault 2 is great. But if you plan on wearing your boots more than that—rucking, or especially on deployment, I recommend getting a more substantial boot. 

The Oakley Light Assault is very light: each boot weighs 405g or 14.25oz (I got the size 10.5). 

One of the main benefits to a lightweight boot is that you put less strain on your achilles tendon during long hikes. But I think you could double the weight and you still wouldn’t put too much strain on your achilles. 

I think people tend to place too much emphasis on weight, and for the Oakley Light Assault, the boot has been over-optimized to be lightweight at the expense of support and durability. 

Oakley Light Assault 2 Boots

The Oakley Light Assault Boot 2 is one of the lightest boots you can get, but don’t expect them to last a year if you regularly ruck or need them for any sort of heavy duty wear. They have decent ankle support and are great if you go airsofting once a month, but if you’re in the military and want a boot that’ll actually last in the field, I recommend getting another brand.

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My Hands-On Review

First Impression

Oakley Light Assault Boot on model

The Oakley Light Assault 2 looks like a lean mean fighting machine. I picked mine up in Coyote brown, which works universally with military fatigues and BDUs. 

It’s an 8-inch boot, so when you lace it up tight, you get a decent amount of ankle support. There are six eyelets, and four speed laces. If you tie your boots, you can quickly get these on and off without futzing around.

Check out my video below on the 5 most popular military boot lacing methods: 

I love the look of this Oakley combat boot. The roughout leather upper mixed with the nylon side panels looks modern and the design is sleek and low-profile—fitting for a lightweight tactical boot. 

Oakley Light Assault 2 Boots

The Oakley Light Assault Boot 2 is one of the lightest boots you can get, but don’t expect them to last a year if you regularly ruck or need them for any sort of heavy duty wear. They have decent ankle support and are great if you go airsofting once a month, but if you’re in the military and want a boot that’ll actually last in the field, I recommend getting another brand.

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Leather Quality

Oakley boot leather details

The most common version of the Oakley Light Assault 2 features roughout leather on the upper. There are some smooth grain versions, but I recommend roughout for tactical boots. 

If you don’t know, there are two sides to every piece of leather: a smooth side (the outside of the hide) and a rough side (the internal side of the hide). 

When I say this is a “roughout” leather boot, it just means that the rough side of the leather is facing out. 

Generally, roughout leather is more rugged and needs less care. It can take scuffs and scratches well and you don’t need to condition it often. 

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The downside is that it’s not formal. But if you’re wearing a tactical boot, chances are you’re not taking these out for a date night. 

That said, you might need a black leather boot for parade or some other more formal occasion, in which case, I recommend getting a smooth leather boot instead. 

So, it’s a great thing that Oakley is using roughout leather. But unfortunately, the leather they use is very thin. I measured it at 1mm thick, which is about half of what I expect from a decent boot.

I have dress boots with twice as much leather as that. 

And the leather feels a bit papery and low quality as well. 

So I don’t have a lot of hope for the longevity of this boot. I’d love to see thicker, higher quality leather, though that would come at the expense of added weight. 

Sole

Oakley Assault Boot sole on white background

This boot uses a mold injected EVA outsole. This is the quickest, least expensive way to make a boot, and it’s not necessarily bad, but it’s also not a fantastic construction method either. 

One issue that concerns me is that water can flow through this boot with almost no resistance. From the venting on the side to the shaky connection of the upper and sole, the moment you step in water, your socks are likely going to get wet. 

The insole is entirely synthetic, and it offers very little arch support. 

Oakley boot sole walking up stairs

If you have solid arches, then this boot might not bother you. But if you have flat feet, the Oakley Light Assault 2 won’t feel good. You’ll want to add your own custom insert. I like that you can remove the insole that comes stock with the boot, because I think you’re going to need to add your own if you plan on doing any rucking in this. 

The footbed is fiberboard and low density foam, both of which are liabilities if your boots ever get wet. Plus, they tend to give out and break apart within a few months if you’re putting miles in. 

Fit and Sizing

model wearing oakley tactical boots

The Oakley Light Assault boot fits similarly to most sneakers. I’m a 10.5D on the Brannock device (the metal thing they use in shoe stores to measure your feet) and the size 10.5 Oakley fits fine. 

If you plan on using your own orthotic insert, you don’t need to change sizes because the insole is removable. 

I’d say the Oakley Light Assault 2 fits true to size. Get whatever size is most common in your closet and you should be fine. 

Oakley Light Assault 2 Boots

The Oakley Light Assault Boot 2 is one of the lightest boots you can get, but don’t expect them to last a year if you regularly ruck or need them for any sort of heavy duty wear. They have decent ankle support and are great if you go airsofting once a month, but if you’re in the military and want a boot that’ll actually last in the field, I recommend getting another brand.

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If you have wide feet (E width), you may need to size up. However, if you have EE or EEE width feet, look for a boot that is specifically made for wider sizes. The Oakley combat boot doesn’t offer a ton of extra room on the sides (which is better for ankle support and comfort). 

There are no E width versions of the Oakley Light Assault.

Break-in Period

Oakley Light Assault Boot in leaves

I didn’t have any trouble with the break in period. Because the insole is all foam and the upper is thin leather and nylon, there isn’t much to soften up. 

I read a lot of reviews from guys who were getting bad blisters on their first rucks with these, and I think this is a matter more of poor fit than it is needing to break in the boots. 

If you’re getting blisters in these boots, I recommend thicker wool socks like the Camel City Mill Heavyweights and a felt heel pad (assuming the blisters are on your heel). 

If you decide to get these Oakley combat boots, bring some bandaids in your pockets for your first major hike in them just in case you start to feel some tenderness. 

A Note on Proper Cleaning and Care

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The best way to clean your roughout leather is with a suede brush and eraser. As combat boots, you’re not expected to keep these boots too clean, but you do want to make sure they’re not caked in mud and dirt. 

If they’re covered in a lot of mud, use a damp towel to wipe off as much as you can. You don’t need any special cleaning tools for this kind of boot—especially on the nylon parts. 

If you get oil stains on the roughout, remove as much as you can with a suede eraser (you use it just like you would a school eraser). Once you’ve pulled up some of the oil and dirt, you can brush it down with the suede brush and that’ll restore the knap of the leather. 

What Do Other Reviewers Say?

There are several thousands of reviews online for the Oakley Light Assault 2 boot, and the majority are positive. 

Many reviewers said these were good garrison boots, but the reviews were mixed on these being good ruck or field boots. 

Oakley Light Assault Boot Alternatives

Garmont T8 Bifida

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If you’re shopping on the low-end range for tactical boots, I think the Garmont T8 Bifida is a much better buy than the Oakley Light Assault 2

The Vibram outsole on the Garmont is much better in terms of support, durability, and traction compared to the generic outsole on the Oakley. 

Plus, the Garmont T8’s leather is about 50% thicker than on the Oakley, which solves my top issue. 

They’re roughly the same price, and I think you get a decent value for your money with the Garmont T8 Bifida

It’s still not a great boot—the other boots below hit my expectations of quality, but the Garmont is at least a fair value for the price. 

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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Merrell Moab 2 Tactical

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The Merrell Moab 2 Tactical boot is ugly, and it doesn’t fit Army regulations, so you can’t use it on base. 

But if you’re not part of the military and you want a solid tactical boot for rucks or just wearing around, I prefer the Merrell Moab 2 Tactical to both the Garmont and the Oakley Light Assault

The Moab also has a Vibram rubber outsole, and the construction is better overall. The mesh panels on the ankle do a much better job at ventilating the boot. 

The grip is outstanding on this boot, and it has thick leather on the most vulnerable parts of the boot.

Merrell Moab 2

There used to be a time when you couldn’t be a serious hiker if you had flat feet. But companies like Merrell have been building smarter, more supportive boots for years. If you’ve got flat feet and you need that extra arch support for long haul hiking, check out the Merrell Moab 2.

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Nicks Tactical 

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The Nick’s Tactical boot is easily the best tactical boot on the market. It’s also way more expensive than most boots.

But if you want a tough, rugged boot that you’ll own for the rest of your life, the Nick’s Tactical is the way to go. 

Nick’s speciality is in wildland firefighting boots, mainly for west coast woods (they handmake their boots in Washington). 

They’ve applied their skills and rugged materials to tactical boots, and you can’t beat their 8oz leather boots for durability. 

Nicks Tactical Boot

This is easily the best tactical boot on the market. It’s also way more expensive than most boots. But if you want a tough, rugged boot that you’ll own for the rest of your life, the Nicks Tactical is the way to go. 

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My Thoughts Overall

What I Like

  • At 405g per boot, the Oakley Light Assault Boot is maybe the lightest boot I’ve ever worn.

  • The laces and lacing system is great. 

  • I like that I can remove the insole and add my own custom insert for long rucks. 

What I Don’t Like

  • At 1mm, the roughout leather is very thin, especially for a boot designed for rugged situations. 

  • There’s basically no arch support, so these aren’t comfortable for long. 

Who is the Oakley Light Assault Boot 2 for?

The Oakley Light Assault Boot 2 is best if you’re buying a tactical boot for style, or if you want a military boot that looks cool when you’re airsofting (provided that you don’t wear them too often).

The Verdict

The Oakley Light Assault Boot 2 over-optimizes for weight and sacrifices support and durability.

With 1mm of leather, I just don’t see these boots being able to handle any reasonably rugged scenarios. 

Yes, each boot weighs only 14.25oz (or 405g), but even boots double that weight shouldn’t cause any issues—even if you’re rucking 12 miles. 

The construction and material quality make the Oakley combat boot more like a costume boot than a real rugged tactical boot. 

If you want to stay in the same price range, I recommend the Garmont T8 Bifida instead—50% thicker leather and a Vibram rubber outsole.

If you just want the best, most durable tactical boots possible and money isn’t an issue, get the Nick’s Tactical Boot

Oakley Light Assault 2 Boots

The Oakley Light Assault Boot 2 is one of the lightest boots you can get, but don’t expect them to last a year if you regularly ruck or need them for any sort of heavy duty wear. They have decent ankle support and are great if you go airsofting once a month, but if you’re in the military and want a boot that’ll actually last in the field, I recommend getting another brand.

Check Price

FAQs

Are Oakley Light Assault boots good for rucking?

No, Oakley Light Assault boots don’t offer enough arch support or ankle support, nor do they have great durability due to thin leather. Overall, the Oakley Light Assault doesn’t offer you much beyond what a cheap sneaker would get you for a long ruck.

How much do Oakley Light Assault boots weigh?

Each single Oakley Light Assault boot weights 405g or 14.25oz (for my size 10.5 boots—smaller boots will weigh less).

Do Oakley boots run big or small?

Oakley boots run true to size, so you should get whatever size is most common in your closet. They fit like sneakers do, so don’t size down like you might for other boots.

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