The 6 Best Boots For Firefighters

So, what are the best boots for firefighters?

From getting crushed by falling objects, climbing through rough terrain, and falling on slippery hazards, all the way to enduring extremely hot or cold conditions, walking on molten metals, as well as frequent exposure to sharp objects with puncture risks, a firefighter’s job is riddled with life-threatening dangers right under their feet!

There’s no doubt how brave these heroes are to lay it all on the line in order to rescue others, however, they must be equipped with adequate protection to help them save those lives. While in-action, firefighters are always on their feet, so it makes sense for their boots rise to the occasion.

This means searching for boots that can handle a great deal of beating, while still providing enough agility and stability to facilitate movement. Granted, it’s a tough equation to solve, but this is exactly where we come in! With a carefully filtered list of the 6 best boots for firefighters and a detailed buying guide, you’re guaranteed to make the most reliable purchase possible.

Top 6 Boots For Firefighters

#1 Smith & Wesson Men’s Breach 2.0 Tactical Side Zip Boots

Kicking off our list, the Smith & Wesson Men’s Breach 2.0 Boots are widely popular among firefighters, and we can definitely see why. They offer top-notch construction quality, durability, as well as affordability.

Made from leather and nylon, these boots were built with sturdiness in mind. They provide impressive protection that you can count on in any situation, with a gusseted tongue to keep debris out.

Smith & Wesson Men's Breach 2.0 Tactical Size Zip Boots
  • SMITH & WESSON FOOTWEAR - Known for outstanding quality and attention to fine detail. We're proud to introduce a boot that sets a new standard for construction, durability, and price. The Breach 2.0 is built upon years of top caliber manufacturing and industry experience.
  • TOUGH - The leather and nylon construction is made to provide full protection without compromising on comfort. A gusseted tongue keeps dirt and debris out.
  • COMFORTABLE ALL DAY - An EVA Midsole gives lightweight comfort and cradled support, and for added support we used a steel shank. Board-lasted construction creates a torsional rigidity that reduces foot fatigue during long work shifts.
  • SLIP RESISTANCE - The rubber outsole is engineered to minimize traction loss with an innovative pattern that grips dirt, waxed surfaces, fences and ladders, and anything the urban jungle can throw at you.
  • AFFORDABLE - Breach 2.0 provides high quality construction at a budget-friendly price, giving you the best bang for your buck. No matter your trade, if you require footwear you can count on, the Breach 2.0 works hard like you do to outperform and outlast. Direct Premium Buys donates a portion of the proceeds to Operation First Response, a wounded-warrior charity.

Last update on 2019-12-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The EVA midsole gives adequate support without adding too much weight, designed in a way that maximizes traction capacity so you won’t have to worry about slipping on dirt, waxed surfaces, or ladders.

The board-lasted build creates a torsional rigidity to reduce foot fatigue. Given such a low price, Breach 2.0 doesn’t give much to complain about. Perhaps the only downside here is that it’s yet to receive certification.

Pros

●      Very Affordable

●      Comfortable

●      Removable Insole

●      Lightweight

Cons

●      Squeaks

●      Non-certified

●      Stitching can be better

#2 Bates Men’s Ultra-Lites 8 Inches Tactical Sport Side-Zip Boot

Reserving their place as a bestseller in the Bates Footwear line for 15 years, the 8″ Tactical Sport Boot has been a huge hit for all the right reasons.

These boots are built using quality leather along with 1680 denier ballistic nylon, making them a staple for reliability and durability. The non-metallic construction makes for a lightweight design providing you with agility and speed.

Bates Men's 8'' Tactical Sport Side Zip Industrial Shoe
  • Lightweight Cushioned EVA midsole
  • Durable leather & performance nylon upper
  • Moisture wicking mesh lining
  • All day comfort with removable insert
  • Ultimate traction with slip resistant & Oil Resistant outsole

Last update on 2019-12-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The side zip features a hook-and-loop closure for easy wearing and taking off, while the breathable mesh lining, removable cushioned textile footbed, and shock-absorbing pads ensure maximum comfort all day long.

Delivering constant grip, the signature Enforcer-Series Ultra-Lites™ rubber outsole gives you the stability you need on a wide array of surfaces. It’s also 30% lighter than the outsoles of previous versions, and even passed the SATRA TM144 test for slip resistance.

Pros

●      Replaceable EVA insert

●      Anti-slip certified outsole

●      Durable leather

●      1680 Denier nylon

●      Comfortable fit

●      Easy to put on and take off

Cons

●      Lace is too thin

●      Lacks steel or composite toe cap

#3 Danner Men’s Acadia 8″ Boot

Released in 2004, the Danner Acadia 8″ Boots have been around for quite a while, providing dependable protection for all sorts of tactical teams due to their tough build and remarkable convenience.

These boots are made from high-end full-grain leather and 1000 Denier nylon, promising a long-lasting performance. The leather can be easily cleaned while the nylon gives extreme resistance to tears, scuffs, as well as abrasions. It’s also quite breathable, utilizing waterproof GORE-TEX® to keep your feet dry and comfortable.

Danner Men's Acadia 8" Boot
  • Danner's famous stitch down construction 8" of support and durability Stable underfoot platform Recraftable This shoe offers a slender profile with a more narrow fit. This ensures a snug fit for activities that demand support. If you have a wider foot, ordering an "EE" (wide) in this style is recommended. Footbed : Airthotic
  • Shank is made of Fiberglass and Non-Insulated

Last update on 2019-12-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The stitching job is crafted by hand with extra attention to stability reinforcement. The shank is fiberglass resulting in a very lightweight design (only 1 pound), while the Vibram® Kletterlift outsole serves to keep you rooted over both dry and wet surfaces.

The Acadia 8″ Boot is a solid option for every firefighter out there, however, the price may steer some customers away.

Pros

●      Extremely lightweight

●      GORE-TEX® waterproof lining

●      Vibram® Kletterlift slip-resistant outsole

●      Handcrafted stitch down construction

Cons

●      Expensive

●      Needs some time to get used to

#4 Original S.W.A.T. Men’s Classic 9-Inch Tactical Boot

Living up to its name, the Original S.W.A.T. is a true classic that helped shape the success of its manufacturers today. It provides all the necessary support, backing you up indoors and outdoors without sacrificing your comfort.

The combination of full-grain leather and 1000 nylon upper delivers a tough construction for a flawless performance as you put your life on the line. You’ll find these boots rather comfortable thanks to the custom-molded thermoplastic heel counter and toe box, as well as the removable phylon EVA insole. Together, they offer lateral support and safe footing, so you can focus on your job.

Original S.W.A.T. Men's Classic 9-Inch Tactical Boot
  • Moisture-wicking lining with AEGIS antimicrobial protection
  • Custom-molded thermoplastic heel counter and toe box for instant comfort and lateral support
  • Full grain leather / 1000 denier nylon upper for improved durability and comfort
  • Stitched heel and toe for durability and increased service life
  • Custom-molded phylon EVA midsole for lightweight comfort and cradled support

Last update on 2019-12-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

A neat feature you can also see in the S.W.A.T. classic is the AEGIS antimicrobial moisture-wicking lining which ensures the highest level of convenience. These boots are ASTM F2913-11 certified for slip resistance and their outsoles leave no markings behind. The heel and toe are stitched to increase the service life, and you can polish them for formal events if needed.

Pros

●      Full-grain leather upper

●      AEGIS antimicrobial moisture-wicking lining

●      Certified for slip resistance

●      Custom-molded removable phylon EVA insole

●      Custom-molded thermoplastic heel counter and toe box

●      Steel shank for further support

●      Foam padding

Cons

●      The zipper quality is questionable over time

#5 Thorogood Men’s 8″ Side-Zip Jump Boot Gen-flex

Following up with yet another positively received boots, the folks at Thorogood believe that as first responders, you never know how the shift will unfold. Keeping this in mind, the Gen-flex was built to deliver durability and agility under any emergency.

Featuring Goodyear storm welt construction coupled with a dual-density rubber outsole, these solid boots can sure take a pounding while keeping your feet safe and sound. The spacer mesh lining allows for breathability during the action.

Thorogood Men’s 8” Side Zip Jump Boot Gen-flex
  • Ankle-high work boot with oil-tanned leather upper featuring high-shine polished toe cap and heel counter
  • Removable polyurethane footbed featuring EVA cushion flex for supportive comfort
  • Goodyear storm-welt construction
  • Spacer mesh lining for breathability
  • Compression-molded EVA midsole with 300g gel heel insert

Last update on 2019-12-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Impact 300 gel heel insert guarantees a fatigue-free experience with a zero injury risk, whereas the multi-directional traction lugs provide a superior grip and a slip-resistant performance on slick surfaces.

Additionally, the Gen-flex features a removable polyurethane insole, compression-molded EVA midsole, as well as a composite shank for optimum comfort. The treated rubber outsole is non-marking, while the heavy-duty YKK zipper ensures a secure fit.

The polishable high shine leather at the toe and heel leaves you looking sharp every day. The sizing here can be a bit wide, so if you’re leaning towards the Thorogood, make sure to account for this.

Pros

●      Spacer mesh lining

●      Excellent traction capacity

●      Impact 300 gel heel insert maximizes comfort

●      Composite shank

●      Stylish

●      Doesn’t require a break-in period

Cons

●      Sizing is tricky

●      Not very shiny

●      Complaints of squeaks

#6 Danner Men’s Wildland Tactical Firefighter 8″ Fire and Safety Boot

Last but definitely not least, the Danner Wildland Tactical is relatively new compared to other competitors in our list. It represents the perfect balance between support and comfort.

You’ll find the upper of these boots to be made of premium-quality leather that has been chemically treated to withstand flames, offering protection against extreme heat like no other.

Danner Men's Wildland Tactical Firefighter 8" Fire and Safety Boot
  • Made in the USA with domestic and imported components
  • Mountaineering-inspired, lightweight, athletic design. Breathable, moisture-wicking mesh lining. Non-Waterproof lining
  • Full-length polypropylene board with integrated steel shank. Handcrafted, opanka-stitch construction.
  • Vibram S587 Fire & Ice oil-and-slip-resistant outsole. Electrical hazard protection ASTM F2892-11 EH. NFPA 1977: 2016 edition certified
  • Black (18050), Black Smooth Out(18054)

Last update on 2019-12-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The outsole is courtesy of Vibram®, resisting both cold and hot ends of the temperature scale while keeping your footing in check thanks to its outstanding traction abilities. These durable boots will also protect you from electrical hazards, performing extra stable on rugged terrain.

Inspired by mountaineering, the Wildland Tactical bears a sleek athletic design weighing around 2 pounds to give you enough agility on the job. The integrated mesh layer lets your feet breathe, and the moisture-wicking lining keeps everything dry on the inside.

Made by Ortholite, the footbed is well-cushioned with a steel shank to add a stability boost. The handcrafted opanka-stitch construction seals it all together beautifully.

The Danner Wildland Tactical 8″ Boots are quite the investment, but for many users, the NFPA certified protection is worth its money.

Pros

●      Leather upper is flame-resistant

●      Vibram® S587 outsole resists fire and ice

●      NFPA certified

●      Moisture-wicking mesh lining

●      Ortholite footbed

●      Very comfortable

●      No break-in period

Cons

●      Costly

●      Laces can be improved

Why Should You Trust Us?

We tested and screened through hundreds of safety boots to ensure that our chosen products meet the standards set by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), as well as the NFPA requirements (National Fire Protection Associations).

How We Picked Our List

We took into consideration numerous factors as we filtered through dozens of boots for firefighters available on the market.

According to safety standards, firefighter boots are to perform certain functions. These include ease of wear, temperature tolerance, anti-microbial qualities, support, and shock absorbance.

Here’s a more detailed format of these criteria so you can better understand our screening process:

Adequate Protection

The number one aspect you need to look for as a firefighter is the amount of protection offered by your boots. Coming in contact with flames will surely take its toll on a regular boot, not to mention how the extremely high heat can melt metal, cause explosions and eat through concrete.

Therefore, it makes sense for firefighting boots to be tall, covering the calves for extra protection, preferably made with penetration-resistant materials such as ballistic nylon or rubber.

Should there be any metal components of the boots, for example, midsoles and toe caps, they should be resistant to corrosion resulting from exposure to high temperatures.

Speaking of toe caps, their existence is crucial in a firefighter’s boot as they protect the toes as well as the surrounding area which is rather delicate. The main materials used in building toe caps are:

●      Steel: These caps offer a great deal of thermal protection, but they tend to weigh you down more than other materials so it’s not the best choice if you’re too concerned with being quick on your feet.

●      Aluminum: toe caps made of aluminum alloy resemble the strength and protection you get from steel but come up short in thermal insulation. However, they excel in the weight department being around 50% lighter than steel.

●      Composite: here, toe caps are made of fiberglass or carbon fiber. These materials deliver outstanding thermal insulation while being sturdy and lightweight. Composite toe caps are ideal for firefighters, but they are quite costly.

Breathability

Wearing boots for extended periods of time can really heat up your feet on the inside. Not to mention how dealing with fires is obviously going to cause your feet to build up heat.

This is why it’s important that your boots allow for breathability to cool you down. We’ve already established that materials such as rubber, leather, steel, and composite mostly provide efficient thermal resistant, however, they’ll often still be treated to improve their performance against heat retention.

Furthermore, fabrics like mesh or insole technologies are integrated into boots to make sure that heat-trapping is kept to a minimum.

Durability

In the midst of hectic situations where you’re climbing rocks, walking on sharp debris, or facing harsh terrains, the last thing you need to worry about is whether your boots are falling apart or not!

Firefighting boots should be durable and long-lasting. You should be able to depend on them at all times, even when emergencies pop out of nowhere.

This means high-quality materials, superb stitching, and reliable brands.

Grip

From ladders to mountains, a firefighter’s boots come in contact with a wide variety of surfaces such as concrete, wood, mud, rock, and metal. Moreover, you may find yourself dealing with oil, grease, as well as harmful chemicals where you run the risk of slips. But regardless of what you’re stepping on, your boots should provide solid traction and a stable grip.

This directly relates to the material of the outsole of your boots. It should resist slipping since falling on duty wouldn’t only jeopardize your life but that of others as well.

Such outsoles are usually made of EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) with grooves and hooves to ensure balanced footing.

Weight

The weight of the boots is an aspect that many people overlook, despite how it significantly affects the agility and speed of a firefighter, you don’t want to be dragging any more baggage on top of all your gear and equipment.

Naturally, boots with metal or steel parts are on the heavier side of the spectrum, while ones made of rubber, leather, composite, or Kevlar without metal components weight notably less.

Boots for firefighters typically go from 5 pounds all the way to just 2 pounds.

Water Resistance and Moisture wicking

Flames aren’t the only obstacle you’ll be facing as a firefighter, water will also be opposing a grave challenge more frequently than you think. Getting your boots doused in water isn’t just uncomfortable and distracting, but it also weighs you down and holds you back.

Similarly, when you spend hours upon hours wearing boots, your feet are bound to get sweaty. The accumulation of such moisture on the inside can cause serious bacterial and fungal infections, ones you can definitely live without.

Moreover, it only gets worse if water seeps its way through the material of your boots reaching your already sweating feet, such a combo is a disaster waiting to happen.

All of the previous makes waterproofing a valuable quality to have in your boots. This treatment will aid in keeping your feet dry and healthy.

Moisture-wicking, as well as inner antimicrobial lining, is always a plus for a firefighter’s boots to remain bacteria-free.

Comfort and Fit

The best boots for firefighters should be just as comfortable as they’re sturdy. Many people think these two factors can’t go hand in hand, but as it turns out, it’s totally possible. Between walking, standing, running, ducking, and crawling, your boots need to provide sufficient comfort for you to endure such scenarios without your feet giving out or possibly getting injured from friction.

Generous foam cushioning running across the whole length of the footbed and collar is a great way to make sure your feet stay fresh and ready for action. Chafing and scratching can also be highly reduced by incorporating padding into the tongues and collars of boots.

Tied to comfort, comes fitting. How your boots fit can literally make or break your performance. If done poorly, an ill-fitting boot will propose riskier outcomes other than mere tightness or pinching. We’re talking about tripping at high altitudes and losing the ability to run because your toes keep hitting the front and your ankles keep rubbing against the back.

Just imagine having to work with clunky or suffocating boats in drastic conditions, yea doesn’t sound so appealing.

Fortunately, the majority of manufacturers understand this, and so, you’ll find lots of brands offering slip-on boots equipped with combinations of side zippers, front zippers, stirrups, and laces. As a result, firefighters can easily put on their boots and quickly customize the fit to their liking by loosening or tightening the existing closure methods.

FAQs

What is the difference between firefighting station boots and other similar-looking safety boots?

Boots worn by firefighters at the station are subjected to standardization measures to meet the requirements listed by OSHA (Operational Safety and Health Administration). This means they need to attain certain levels of toughness, durability, thermal resistance, water resistance, shock absorption, and many more criteria.

Other boots with a similar ‘safety’ look, may very well share a couple of the specified features, but surely not all of them, or even to the same degree.

However, if you’re referring to wildfire firefighters boots, they’re typically heavier, taller, with more protection compared to station boots because of the increasing intensity of exposure to the elements, which in turn, raises the potential of wear down.

How Do I Find The Perfect Fit For My Boots?

A good fit is key when it comes to delivering efficient performance. Here a couple of tips to help you land the ideal fit:

●      Make sure you’re doing it at the end of your workday. This is when your feet are at their biggest sizing.

●      Check for adequate room to comfortably accommodate your toes. If you do some heavy lifting, this will ensure your toes aren’t cramped up. Not too much space though, you can’t have those toes slamming forward with every step you take.

Do Firefighter Boots Last Long?

The short answer is Yes. Taking into account all the different physical and elemental factors firefighters are subjected to, boots used by firefighters are designed to take a beating without complaining. They’re generally made from durable materials that are resistant to corrosion and puncture. These boots also offer protection against various types of fluids starting from plain water and finishing at oil, wax, and harmful chemicals.

That being said, the frequency of such exposure plays a role in determining how long firefighters boots last, some firefighters witness action once or twice a week, while in urban areas, they practically see it every day.

In any case, you should be able to wear them for several years with a chance of insole replacement every now and then.

The Verdict

While searching for the best boots for fighters, we had prioritized two qualities to pick a winner, which are adequate heat/slip resistance and sturdy construction.

Our Pick

Original S.W.A.T. Men's Classic 9-Inch Tactical Boot
  • Moisture-wicking lining with AEGIS antimicrobial protection
  • Custom-molded thermoplastic heel counter and toe box for instant comfort and lateral support
  • Full grain leather / 1000 denier nylon upper for improved durability and comfort
  • Stitched heel and toe for durability and increased service life
  • Custom-molded phylon EVA midsole for lightweight comfort and cradled support

Last update on 2019-12-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

It soon became clear to us that the Original S.W.A.T. Men's Classic 9-Inch Tactical Boot takes this one home! The quality of these boots is just superb, utilizing full-grain leather, phylon EVA insole, and a steel shank. They provide great resistance as well as protection, being certified for slip resistance with an antimicrobial moisture-wicking lining. A truly wholesome product for an amazing price.

Also Great

Bates Men's 8'' Tactical Sport Side Zip Industrial Shoe
  • Lightweight Cushioned EVA midsole
  • Durable leather & performance nylon upper
  • Moisture wicking mesh lining
  • All day comfort with removable insert
  • Ultimate traction with slip resistant & Oil Resistant outsole

Last update on 2019-12-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

We simply couldn’t settle without giving credit to the Bates Men's 8'' Tactical Sport Side Zip Industrial Shoe It’s another fantastic choice from a company that has been at it for 15 years.

It delivers excellent durability courtesy of the leather and 1680 denier combo. The traction capacity is rather impressive and slip-resistance is certified. If you’re looking for the easiest boots to put on and take off, well, you might as well stop searching.

Bottom Line

Now that we’ve reached the end of our discussion, it’s rather obvious how important footwear safety is for first responders such as firefighting heroes. They may not wear capes, but they sure do need their boots! So as long as you end up with efficient protective boots for firefighters, we’re happy!