12 Best Tactical Boots

Before you even think about setting foot onto a paintball field you need to ensure that your equipment, accessories and clothing are up to scratch. Paintballing can be notoriously painful, as balls are shot at quite some force.

Because of this, we advise against compromising on the quality of your gear, particularly equipment such as gloves, masks, and boots. The correct protection of your hands, face and feet are essential to being a successful paintball player and can improve your likelihood of winning the game. 

Tactical paintball boots are arguably the most critical piece of gear in paintball and you should show no frugality when picking a pair out. It’s essential to not only invest in boots that can protect you from incoming projectile paintballs, but you’ll also need boots that can look after you as you slide from bunker to bunker. 


In these adrenaline-fuelled moments, it’s very easy to not pay attention to the possibility of ankle injuries and other problems. This is why a good quality pair of tactical boots are an essential part of any good paintballers kit. 


Our feet are complex creations, each one having 26 bones, 33 joints, and 100 muscles, so it’s only right we purchase the right footwear for the job.


With so many different types of boots available on the market today, it can be difficult to ensure that you make the right decision. In this article we will explore the best tactical boots for paintballing and why they’re so great.

We’ll also take a look at things you should consider when buying a pair of tactical boots in our handy Buyers’ Guide. If you still have questions, be sure to read on to our FAQ section for more help. 

OUR TOP PICK

5.11 Men's ATAC 6In Side Zip Boot-U, Black, 5 D(M) US

These 5.11 Tactical A.T.A.C. 2.0 boots are a great choice for paintball beginners and experts alike thanks to their intelligent design.

These particular boots have been specifically designed for use on flat ground and surfaces.

This is likely to be the reason why they’re often favored by law enforcement, the military, and even mailmen who have joined in on the hype. 

These shoes are great for absorbing shock caused by repeated walking on flat surfaces.

These boots even feature extensive padding around the back to provide comfort and prevent chafing around your calf and Achilles.

The soles of these boots are also slip-resistant, making them ideal for outdoor paintball games where dewy grass is inevitable. 

They also feature 5.11 Tactical’s Shock Mitigation System, which sounds super extravagant for a pair of shoes- that’s because it is.

It’s an innovative design system that was co-created by special ops personnel. They decided to incorporate things such as a carbon-based outsole, a four-layer insole, and nylon composite sides.

The mid-foot region is constructed from Phylon, which is durable, supportive, and lightweight. 

Pros:

  • Oil and slip-resistant soles
  • Antimicrobial treatment on the inner lining helps keep odor at bay
  • 840D nylon upper
  • 4 layer insole
  • Phylon mid-foot

Cons:

  • While these boots are water-resistant, they’re not entirely waterproof

EDITORS CHOICE

Maelstrom Men's TAC FORCE 8 Inch Military Tactical Duty Work Boot with Zipper, Black, 10 M US

These Maelstrom Tac Force Tactical Boots are a great option for those who need a sturdy pair of boots for paintballing.

These Maelstrom boots will help ensure that you play at the peak of your performance during paintball games. 

They’re constructed from a strong combination of leather and premium synthetic materials, so these rugged boots are built with durability in mind.

The full-grain leather and nylon upper are incredibly easy on the eye, with the material combo suitable for polishing so you can keep your boots looking their best for longer. 

There is also superior lining on these boots which is made with breathable fabric on hand to wick away moisture and keep your feet dry, comfortable and smelling fresh.

They’re also fitted with a durable rubber outsole that is engineered to last longer, with an engineered tread pattern that will deliver maximum grip on all types of terrain.

You can also look forward to premium shock absorbance here, with a removable cushioned insert provided.

Semi-rigid heels and reinforced toes will also keep your boots from warping and losing their shape, even if you are a regular player of paintball.

These boots are also incredibly user-friendly, with YKK heavy-duty side zippers present to allow for swift closure and removal.

Pros:

  • Made from strong leather and textile
  • Synthetic sole
  • Durable rubber outsole 
  • Engineered tread pattern for improved grip
  • Heavy-duty zippers for added security
  • Improved shock absorption to reduce wear on joints

Cons:

  • Some reviewers have reported issues where the seams have begun unraveling

BEST VALUE

Bates Men's 8' Ultralite Tactical Sport Side Zip Military Boot, Black, 10.5 M US

Ultralight tactical boots are a sensible choice to wear paintballing. 8” boots are usually quite difficult to make ultralight, but Bates has succeeded.

Of course their 6” counterparts are going to be even lighter, but these 8” boots still only weigh 1.42 pounds, making them ideal for running around on uneven terrain with heavy equipment and weapons.

The midsole of these boots is made with EVA (which stands so ethyl vinyl acetate). This is a great material choice for paintballing and tactical boots as it is a lightweight material yet it is durable and crack resistant. 

Also, their lightweight design doesn’t mean that these boots compromise on other features. In fact, they’re waterproof too.

This is thanks to its 70% full-grain leather and 30% nylon construction. These boots also feature a composite toe that is lightweight too!

Almost any boot that is described as “lightweight” will weigh less than most robust tactical boots.

However, it’s rare to see a pair of lightweight boots that deliver the same comfort and performance as well as Bates does.

Pros:

  • EVA cushioned insole for added comfort
  • Waterproof exterior made from nylon and leather
  • Slip and oil-resistant outsole
  • Breathable mesh lining
  • Composite toe for added protection

Cons:

  • The tongue can shift around which can be frustrating and uncomfortable

RUNNER UP

Under Armour Men's Valsetz RTS 1.5 Militaryand Tactical Boot, Black (001)/Black, 11

If the previous choice is a little too tall for you and you’re on the hunt for something a little more low-profile, then consider the Under Armour Valsetz 1.5 5” tactical boots.

In fact, they barely look like boots at all. They somewhat resemble a pair of shoes but they still provide the durability and support that you’d expect from any tactical boot. 

This boot is anchored by a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), a toe cap and a reinforced shank for added protection.

Unlike some of the previous options on this list, these Valsetz boots aren’t made from full-grain leather. 

Instead, they’re made from a light synthetic material that scuffs a little easier than leather does.  This pair is made with speed and comfort in mind, as well as foot mobility.

Under Armour is also a worldwide brand that is tried, tested and loved for its quality products.

Pros:

  • Added ankle support
  • Memory foam insoles for extra comfort
  • Low-profile lug sole
  • TPU shank and toe for added support ad protection

Cons:

  • Synthetic leather scuffs more easily than its real counterpart

RUNNER UP

Smith & Wesson Footwear Breach 2.0 Men's Tactical Side-Zip Boots - 5R, 9' Coyote

Next up we have these tactical boots that are made by one of the underdogs in the tactical boots industry, Smith and Wesson.

Smith and Wesson are most well-known for being a gun manufacturer. However, few people realize that they’ve recently begun specializing in equipment too, including tactical boots.

These boots are designed for paintballing, military men, or those that work in tough working conditions. This is thanks to their waterproof technology which keeps your feet dry and comfortable in bad weather and on rough terrains. 

The midsoles are made from EVA yet again, and they feature a steel shank beneath them. This metal shank promotes the maintenance of a proper posture for your arches.

The outsoles of this boot have been designed to resist slipping, on both water and oil.

The tread pattern of these boots is also specifically designed to keep you upright and standing firmly, even when the terrain is rocky, wet or unpredictable. 

Pros:

  • Perfect for paintball, the military, law enforcement and mailmen
  • 100% waterproof
  • Made from EVA
  • Steel shank beneath the midsoles promotes good posture

Cons:

  • The leather may begin to crack after a couple of months without proper care and attention 

RUNNER UP

Danner Men's Tanicus 8' Hot Duty Boot, Mojave, 11 D US

These Danner Tanicus 8” tactical boots are specifically designed for ultimate breathability. This is why they have nicknamed this their “hot duty” boot.

They’re designed to tolerate demanding all-day use in the hottest, most humid environments.

This pair is also the lightest pair of tactical boots that Danner manufacture. Because of this, their entire design is centered around the idea of maximum comfort, a must for any tactical boots. 

However, their breathability does compromise the added features this pair of boots has. Unlike other options on this list, this Danner pair doesn’t feature reinforced toes, waterproof exteriors and reinforced shanks.

But these boots are made for people whose priority is keeping their feet cool and dry. If you know you’re going to be running around playing football on a super hot summer’s day, these boots are perfect. 

Pros:

  • Polyurethane footbed provides added support
  • Breathable and moisture-wicking interior lining
  • Constructed from full-grain leather and nylon
  • Tear-resistant technology

Cons:

  • These boots are not waterproof
  • There is no reinforced material on the toe

RUNNER UP

Altama Jungle PX 10.5' Men's Slip Resistant Boot, Size 10.5 Regular, (Olive Drab)

Jungle boots are typically seen on documentary shows by explorers in the Amazon rainforest and other exotic locations.

Although you’re unlikely to be playing paintball in the Amazon, these boots do a great job at performing well in hot, humid, and wet conditions.

Depending on where you are in the world, the conditions you play paintball in may be very similar to that of a jungle.

You may encounter some uneven, wet, and slippery conditions that may cause ordinary tactical boots to fail.

This pair of Altama Jungle Boots have a very deep tread for added grip on uneven terrains and a huge height of 10.5” which provides maximum lower leg support.

In fact, this is by far the tallest boot on this list, so if leg support is of particular importance to you, it could be worth checking out this jungle boot option.

This pair is constructed from full-grain polishable leather and 1,000D nylon. The gusseted tongue also prevents water from seeping in and keeps debris out.

These boots also feature a molded heel that creates a deep pocket that supports your feet even on rough terrain. 

Pros:

  • Staggering 10.5” height
  • Made from full-grain polishable leather and nylon
  • Padded collar for added comfort
  • Removable, cushioned polyurethane insole

Cons:

  • Quite heavy compared to other options on this list
  • They can take a little while to break-in

RUNNER UP

Garmont Men's T8 Bifida Tactical Military Coyote Boot, 9 Wide

If you’re looking for a boot that performs well on uneven surfaces, then look no further.

The Garmot T8 tactical boots are specially designed to fully support your ankles and feet on the most uneven and rough terrain, allowing you to watch where you’re going while playing paintball rather than watching where your feet are landing. 

This is why these boots are popular among soldiers and military personnel, as they’re lightweight too so they won’t slow you down as you run. 

The outsole is super durable and features deep treads and a big heel. All of these components allow the wearer to anchor themselves on uneven ground.

However, the excellent support and speed of these boots mean that you’ll have to compromise on water-resistance.

These boots also need to be completely unlaced and loosened to get them on your feet, which can be frustrating and time-consuming.

Pros:

  • Super lightweight, so they won’t slow you down
  • Allows for natural movements such as running
  • Soft rubber sole
  • Has great grip even on uneven and rough surfaces

Cons:

  • Not very water-resistant
  • 600D nylon provides sub-par tear-resistance

RUNNER UP

5.11 Men's Speed 3.0 5' Military & Tactical Boot, Black, 11 M US

The 5.11 Tactical Speed 3.0 5” boot is our second addition from 5.11 Tactical on this list.

Although they’re pretty similar to the A.T.A.C. 2.0 above, we had to include this pair due to their great speed and difference in height and weight.

The front of this boot is more textured than the alternative model and the toes are a slightly different shape. 

Much like the A.T.A.C. 2.0, this pair features a reinforced, padded Ortholite insole for extra comfort. These boots also completely slip and oil resistant as well as being fitted with high-quality lightweight and breathable lining.

5.11 Tactical also claim that this pair features innovative odor-control technology, keeping you fresh and dry during even the longest of paintball games. 

Pros:

  • Outer soles and weight is optimized for use on urban terrain
  • Slip and oil-resistant
  • Stretchy laces

Cons:

  • These boots aren’t completely waterproof, but they are water-resistant
  • The sizes run quite narrow, including the wider fit options

RUNNER UP

Thorogood Men's Gen-flex2 Series 8' Tactical Side Zip Jump Boot

Another quality pair of tactical boots is the Thorogood Men’s 8” Side-Zip Jump Boot Gen-flex.

Thorogood is a popular and trusted name in everyday footwear and they’re known for making some of the most durable and comfortable work boots on the market.

All Thorogood boots feature Goodyear Welt Construction and are manufactured using only the highest quality materials.

Thorogood’s Jump Boots are built with superior craftsmanship. They provide durability and comfort. The soles are non-marking and even slip-resistant.

So, no matter what terrain you’re working on, these tactical boots are a great option.

Pros:

  • Double density polyurethane removable insole
  • A composite shank for added support
  • Heavy-duty YKK side zipper with Velcro closure
  • EVA midsole offers FlexShock shock absorbency

Cons:

  • These boots are not water-resistant

RUNNER UP

Rocky Alphaforce Zipper Waterproof Duty Boot

All the deciding factors of a boot were considered When Rocky constructed AlphaForce Side-Zip Duty Boots, they wanted to incorporate all of the benefits from lots of different high-quality tactical boots.

For performance purposes, the Rocky Alpha Force is equipped with all the comfort, safety, and durability features that you may require of a tactical and safety work boot.

The shaft of these boots measure 10” from the arch and they have a rubber lug outsole designed to keep your feet dry.

The cushioned footbed specifically targets your heel and metatarsal ridge, giving you support and comfort.

This boot features a non-metallic stabilizer and has a non-marking RigiTrac outsole that provides oil and slip resistance.

Pros:

  • Side zipper makes these boots easy to get on and off
  • EVA cushioned footbed for extra support
  • Oil and slip-resistant technology
  • Constructed from water-resistant full-grain leather

 Cons:

  • A little more expensive than some of the other options on this list

RUNNER UP

TACTICAL RESEARCH TR Men's Khyber TR550 8' Army OCP ACU Lightweight Hot Weather Mountain Hybrid Combat Boot - Coyote Brown Cattlehide Leather and Nylon

From rocky mountainous terrain to hard pounding concrete roads, The Coyote Khyber TR550 boot will outperform when tested in any environment, from tricky mountainous terrain to concrete urban streets.

The Tactical Research TR550 Khyber Men’s OCP ACU Coyote Brown Hybrid Assault Boot is great for use in the summer months, this is thanks to its ultra-breathable lining. 

This boot features a lightweight 100% cowhide suede and nylon Cordura upper for strength and durability.

With great design comfort and durability features, such as its lace-to-toe lacing system, the TR550 allows for a customized fit. 

This makes them a great option for paintballers, as your boots will never come loose or fall off. The insole of this shoe also offers exceptional cushioning, prevents bacteria growth, and increases airflow. 

Pros:

  • The lining is highly breathable and wicks away moisture
  • The insole features a molded heel cup to enhance stability
  • Rappelling bars extend the wear
  • A low-profile outsole helps to reduce the overall weight of the shoe

Cons:

  • Quite stiff compared to other options on this list
  • A little overpriced

12 Best Tactical Boots Buying Guide

When buying a pair of tactical boots, there are a few factors you should consider before making a purchase.

If you plan on using your boots for paintballing, you should take into account what material they’re made from, how breathable they are, and their overall fit.

Material

If you’re using your tactical boots for paintballing purposes, getting a pair that is constructed from high-quality material is a must. The better the materials you use, the longer your boots will last.

As well as longevity, good materials can also help to improve your performance when paintballing. The highest-quality tactical boots are typically made from leather and somesort of synthetic material such as nylon.

These materials are often used to make the upper of the boot, which is the most visible part. If the upper of your boot is made from premium materials, it will be less susceptible to staining and scuffing, making cleaning them an easy task.

Good tactical boots will feature mesh panneling to improve airflow and breathability. The outsole should be made from thick rubber to ensure the best shock protection and slip resistance. 

Comfort and Breathability

Good cushioning is essential when it comes to tactical boots. A cushioned insole and tongue will allow you to play paintball for longer.

A good quality tactical boot will will also include shaped supports for a more contoured fit. Mesh panels will improve breathability and wick away any sweat or other moisture, keeping your feat dry and smelling fresh. 

Overall Fit

As you’ll be wearing your tactical boot for 8 hours plus, in all types of weather, fit is a super important factor to consider.

Remember that boots come in a variety of sizes -  Compare the different sizes of boots and try a couple on if you can. Climbing and running play a large role in paintballing, so it’s a good idea to ensure a comfortable fit. 

Water Resistance

Your boots need to be able to survive allsorts of weather conditions, which is why waterproofing is crucial. All elements of your boots should be somewhat waterproof to keep moisture out.

The upper section of your boots will contain a mixture of mesh and solid panels and it is these solid sections that need to be properly waterproofed.

Any leather should be properly coated to keep moisture at bay. Synthetic alternatives will sometimes be water-resistant, not waterproof. These won’t serve you as well as waterproof boots will. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I make my combat boots more comfortable?

First and foremost, you need to make sure that the shoes you get fit you well.

You could even visit a shoe repair shop to have the leather stretched out since it's often too tight. Alternatively, try placing an insert inside the shoes to widen and shape them.

How tight should combat boots be?

Typically, footwear of this kind should have a snug fit. It shouldn't be stifling though, leave a little wiggle room in there for your toes.

Ensure that the shoes are snug enough to keep your heels in place while you walk. If not, you are going to end up with painful blisters and chafing.

Jerry
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