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Rocky S2V Tactical Boots Review: Middle Ground Marchers

When you’re going for a serious ruck, the last thing you need is a bogus pair of boots that gives you blisters and causes you to roll your ankle. When you’re out there performing, you need a boot that can back you up.

In my Rocky S2V Tactical boot review, I tested this popular military boot to see if it’s worth buying.

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Rocky S2V Tactical Boots
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Bottom line: The Rocky S2V Tactical boot meets all the uniform compliance rules and has a main focus on comfort and shock absorption. There are some elements, like the fabric lining and the fiberboard insole that I think hurt it’s long-term durability, but you’ll get two to three years of comfort from these boots.

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Pros:
  • AR 670-1 compliant, Berry compliant---you can wear this boot with your military uniform
  • The stitched Vibram outsole has a lot of tread without picking up mud or rocks
  • They’re easy to get on, lace up, and they still offer a lot of ankle support
Cons:
  • The fabric lining is a bit flimsy---I’d like to see roughout or a thin leather lining instead

Every summer, I take some time to get into the Smoky Mountains in western North Carolina and get some camping, fishing, and hiking in. 

Well, it’s that time of year for me, and I wanted to test out some new boots to get me through the season. 

So I picked up a popular tactical boot I’ve heard a lot about: the Rocky S2V Tactical boot. Here’s what I think about this boot. 

Rocky S2V Line Overview

Rocky Tactical s2v boot closeup on white background

Rocky Boots have a broad range of boots in their S2V line, so I’m going to break down which specific boot is best for what. 

I got the S2V Tactical Military boot, and that’s going to be the focus of my review, but there are a few other types of Rocky S2V’s out there. 

The S2V Enhanced Jungle boot has more Cordura material in the upper (particularly in the shaft area) and has a thin steel plate between the insole and midsole. This makes the boot a bit heavier, but it also adds a lot of puncture resistance to the boots as well. 

Rocky Tactical performance demonstration on forest ground

Rocky also has the C7 Lightweight military boot, which is similar to the Oakley Light Assault 2. Honestly, I don’t recommend that kind of boot for anything other than style—you’re not getting the ankle support or basically anything good about a military boot. 

Rocky also has several steel toe and insulated versions of the S2V Tactical boot as well. 

Things to Consider Before Buying a Rocky Tactical Boot

Rocky Tactical boots leather and fabric shaft

I’m looking for a lightweight tactical boot that I can use season after season, so durability is important to me. 

I won’t get a lot of time to break in my boots before going hiking and camping, so I like immediate comfort. 

Tactical boots need a lot of shock absorption. Going on a long ruck or even running with a rucksack can be total punishment on your knees, so any extra cushion you get from an insole is welcomed. 

Lastly, the weight of the boot is important. A 6oz weight differential isn’t a big deal after a mile of walking. But after 10 miles? The weight is noticeable. 

While puncture resistance is cool, adding a steel plate adds a lot of weight, and it’s really not necessary for anything I’ll be doing. Same is true for a steel toe. I’d rather have something lightweight and great for longer distances. That’s why I went with the standard S2V Tactical Boot.  

Rocky S2V Predator Tactical Boot

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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Rocky S2V Tactical Review

First Impression

author wearing Rocky Tactical boots

One of the selling points of the Rocky S2V Tactical is that it’s fully AR 670-1 compliant, meaning you can wear it as part of your military uniform. 

Plus, it’s Berry compliant, which basically means it was made in the USA. Over the years after reviewing 100+ boots, I’ve learned that USA-made boots aren’t necessarily better. But I love buying American-made when possible. 

The S2V Tactical is an interesting looking boot—it uses a blend of Cordura fabric and Coyote Brown roughout leather. 

The fabric runs along the arch, shaft, and tongue of the boot, while the roughout leather makes up the heel, toe, and the rest of the vamp. 

Rocky Tactical sole stitched into upper leather

You’ll also notice that the sole basically comes up around the arch and stitches into the upper, which is a very unusual construction. This actually gives more arch support and the stitch helps with durability.

Leather Quality and Care

Rocky Tactical leather quality

Roughout leather has been used for military boots at least since World War II. It’s basically the flip side of smooth full grain leather and it’s a great option for outdoor, work, and tactical boots because it can take a beating without really showing it. 

The leather is a 2-3oz, or about 1.6mm thick, which is a bit thin. However, for tactical boots, where weight is a major concern, I think the thinner leather is warranted. Plus, the high impact areas look to be protected a bit by the cup sole construction. 

The roughout leather is quite rough, so my guess is that it’s a somewhat low-grade leather. For more style-forward boots, I’d have an issue with this, but I’m immediately going to walk through mud and water with these, so I really don’t care that there’s uneven knap through the roughout. 

Rocky Tactical boot fabric lining

I like the fact that there’s Cordura fabric along the shaft—this makes the break in super easy and keeps your ankle from feeling any hot spots when walking five miles or more. 

I’m not a fan of the fabric lining on the inside of the boot. It feels thin, and I can already tell this is going to be the first thing that breaks down on the boot.

Sole

Rocky Tactical sole tread detail

The sole construction on this boot is really unique. The Rocky S2V uses a Vibram cup sole that comes up over the bottom of the upper, is cemented to the upper, and then stitched through.

This design helps a lot with water resistance, and the stitch adds another security layer to ensure the sole stays attached. 

There’s a removable high density foam footbed, which is really thick and adds a lot of comfort and shock absorption (so I’m leaving mine in for sure). 

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Below the footbed is a fiberboard insole. With this type of insole, it’s really important to completely dry your boots as moisture in the fiberboard will basically turn it to mush and can either get moldy or break apart and become uncomfortable. 

The outsole is impressive, though. It’s a Vibram outsole, and the tread features thick, sturdy lugs, but they’re space in such a way that you don’t have mud or rocks get caught in the sole. 

Rocky S2V Predator Tactical Boot

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.

Check Best Price
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Fit and Sizing

Rocky Tactical traction and leather demonstration

Finding the right fit for your Rocky Boots is pretty simple—they go by standard US shoe sizes. So if you know your Brannock size, you should get that size. What’s a Brannock size? This brief video explains more:

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I got my Rocky S2V Tactical boots in my standard US sneaker and dress shoe size. My foot is a 10.5D on the Brannock, and I wear a 10.5 in sneakers and dress shoes. 

So I got the 10.5 in Medium width for my S2V Tactical and they fit perfectly

If you’re wondering: a Rocky Medium is D width, and a Rocky Wide is an EE width

A lot of other boot brands fit a bit big. For instance, with Red Wing, Wolverine, Timberland, and many others, you usually end up sizing a half-step down to get the correct fit. That’s not the case with Rocky Tactical boots. Just get whatever your normal sneaker size is, or the most common shoe size in your closet. 

Break-in Period

Rocky Tactical break in demonstration

There’s really no break in period to worry about with these boots. When you combine the roughout leather, fiberboard insole, thick foam footbed, and the amount of Cordura fabric, it’s all quite flexible and light. 

I put in five miles when wearing my Rocky’s for the first time and had no trouble.

If you’re getting blisters, then they’re the wrong size. 

What Do Other Reviewers Say?

Over 350 reviewers have rated the Rocky Tactical on their site at the time of writing and the rating average is 4.3 stars. 

On the positive side, dozens of reviewers come back for these boots over and over again because they claim they’re the best boots they’ve ever owned. 

On the negative side, sometimes reviewers switch from model to model hoping for basically the same boot, but are disappointed to find fabric, lining, or color differences. 

Rocky S2V Tactical Alternatives

Nicks Handmade Boots Tactical

Nicks tactical coyote roughout leather profile view

The Rocky S2V is a solid tactical boot, and I like it for its lightweight, flexible nature. It’s a great boot for long marches and training. But the fiberboard insole will break down after a few years and you’ll have to get a new pair.

If you want a durable military boot that you can wear for the rest of your life, I like the Nicks Tactical boot

Nicks makes their boots by hand in Spokane, Washington, and they’re some of the most durable boots on the planet. They’re not going to be as comfortable out of the box, and you’re going to want to break them in a lot before committing to a long ruck. 

But there’s no other tactical boot out there as durable as the Nicks Tactical

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 On the Rocky S2V Tactical Boot

What I Like

  • They’re AR 670-1 and Berry compliant, so you should have no trouble wearing this with your military uniform. 

  • The stitched Vibram outsole has a lot of tread without picking up mud or rocks.

  • They’re easy to get on, lace up, and they still offer a lot of ankle support.

What I Don’t Like

  • The fabric lining is a bit flimsy—I’d like to see roughout or a thin leather lining instead.

Who is Rocky S2V for?

Rocky S2V Tactical boots are perfect if you’re looking for a rugged and comfortable military boot to get you through the next two years.

The Verdict

The Rocky S2V Tactical boot’s main virtues are that it’s comfortable and lightweight, but still has plenty of ankle and arch support so that you won’t fear longer rucks. 

Some boots, like the Oakley Light Assault 2, are too lightweight, and basically offer no protection or support. So you don’t want to sacrifice everything for weight and shock absorption. 

I think the Rocky S2V is a good middle ground, and the price is fair. 

Personally, I like boots that I can buy for life. The fiberboard insole on the Rocky S2V is prone to moisture damage, and I know that fabric lining only has a hundred miles or so in it before it tears. 

So I must say that the Nicks Tactical boot is my personal favorite, though it also has its downsides—the leather is a 6-8oz, which is so thick that it actually kinda hurts. And it takes a while to break in. But once they’re broken in, they’re incredible. 

If you want a comfortable tactical boot that you can throw on day 1 and hit a 15 mile ruck, I’d way rather do that in a pair of Rocky S2Vs. Or really any sort of intense training—the Rocky Tactical is much more pleasant to wear. Still, I’d be willing to bet they have between 20-30 months in them.

Rocky S2V Predator Tactical Boot

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.

Check Best Price
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

FAQs

Where are Rocky Boots made now?

Rocky’s tactical boots are made in the USA.

Are Rocky Boots authorized with the USMC?

Yes, Rocky tactical boots are fully GSA, Berry, and AR 670-1 compliant.

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