TOP 3 best-rated waterproof duty boots
We’ve been receiving tons of requests month after month to analyze and test about everything remotely connected to police boots. So, we’ve decided to make a special line of ultimate guides for pretty much every request in our mailbox.
Hundreds of e-mails were about finding the best waterproof police boots, and here we are, writing our 5th update on the topic. Spoiler alert – similar to a number of other categories in which we rate duty boots, one pair has been “stomping” the competition and dominating – it’s the BATES GX-8.
The most important thing here is knowing to tell a difference between waterproof and water-resistant boots.
Waterproofing the boots means no water is allowed in (or, at least, shouldn’t be) while water resistance offers very limited protection. Morning due is OK for water-resistant police boots, but try walking in puddles and you’ll feel the damage.
Top-rated in this update
|Bates GX-8 GTX||95 / 100|
|5.11 A.T.A.C. Storm||92 / 100|
|UA Speed Freek||90 / 100|
Bates GX-8 continues its uncontested reign over this category with 5.11 Storm and Under Armour Speed Freek trying to catch up update after update.
The Freek and 5.11 Storm just switched places compared to the last time, but they still haven’t managed to jeopardize Bates’ top position. We’ll see if some new models appear in the next two months, or if one of the runner ups actually manages to dethrone the GX-8.
But let’s leave that to the future and deal with the matters at hand.
We have a lot of new info to share with you, even though our list of winners might convince you like there was nothing happening in the last two months. There’s always something happening at SoleLabz. Stick around and you’ll see what I mean.
Bates GX-8 Ultra-Lites 8” GTX Men’s Waterproof Tactical Boots
GX-8 Ultra-Lites info sheet by Bates:
- 100% waterproof uppers made of leather and nylon
- Rubber sole
- EVA midsole
- Outsole is made of rubber and slip-resistant
- Cement construction
Let’s go over some fresh PROs users shared with us:
- These combat boots have multiple purposes for me. They’re my duty boots as a police officer, but also hiking boots of choice. I have Merrell Moab Ventilator just sitting in the closet since I got these. It’s unreal how comfortable they are and how much I can push my feet to the limit without a sore reminder at the end of the day
- I work in a rain-forest, and waterproof tactical boots are the essential part of my uniform. The waterproofing on GX-8 Ultra-Lites is just amazing. We were chasing some bad guys for 2 hours (at 4 AM) through some godforsaken soggy muskegs, and my feet remained completely dry to tell the tale. Best waterproof police boots I ever had and one of the best overall and I owned about a dozen over the years…
- I could compare their comfort and cushion with those of my Under Armour regular running shoes. Besides that, they also protect my feet from the surrounding with very thick and hard outsoles
- I’ve always had problems with swollen ankles and sore feet at the end of my 10+ hours shift. I’ve constantly been in a position where I have to pick between great comfort and proper support. Until I bought these Bates, that is. They give me all the ankle support I need while being like two cushions I wear to work every day
- Every pair of duty boots I’ve bought needs to go through a slew of modifications before I can even think of wearing them all day without a break. I need to replace the insoles with my orthotics, replace the laces… It’s a pain, to put it shortly. Bates Ultra-Lites were top notch from the get-go, and I didn’t have to replace a damn thing
- The heel part and the toe-box are very comfortable and rounded, so they don’t give me any trouble with my plantar fasciitis or wide toes
- The overall fit feels perfect! I’m not one of those, tie ‘em ‘till the blood stops flowing, but I don’t like my duty boots overly loose either. Bates got that sweet spot in the middle of the two, so I have enough space to incorporate a pair of thick winter socks as well if need be (and need be quite often
- The toe-box is very protective and spacious. Not once did I stub my toes during steep descents, so they get an extra star for that. On my last hike, I tripped over a tree root, and a huge rock fell on my toes without any effect. It scratched the boots a bit, but my toes were alive and kicking’. These boots are lifesavers, or toe-savers I should say
- Yes, they are waterproof, and I had plenty of opportunities to verify that myself standing in puddles, snow and crossing rivers and creeks. They also have a very grippy sole. They make my movement extra stable no matter if I’m going over snow, ice or wet rocks
- Great zipper on these combat boots! It’s pretty tight, so it’s not going anywhere anytime soon, and it also has a very smooth up and down movement
- I don’t use the zipper but laces. I like to get my duty boots nice and tight every morning before I go to work. All I have to say is that Bates made some pretty darn strong laces. Replacing them would usually be the first thing I did when I buy new boots, but these can stay
Newly reported CONs:
- The only minor downside I found on these boots are the eyelets. They’re just wide enough for the laces to pass through, meaning not wide enough for quick lacing
- The boot is performing quite well, but I can’t shake the feeling that the upper material is too soft. It might just be me, but I would definitely like the leather to follow the recipe of the toebox and the bottom part of the boot. They’re among the sturdiest I’ve seen. I’ve been wearing them for 2 months now, and they’re going strong so we’ll see if I’m just letting my preferences get the better of me
- I got to enjoy the true comfort of Bates Ultra-Lites about 2 weeks after I first got them. They were quite stiff in the beginning, and I already started worrying that’s all there is. Well, I was wrong. Super comfortable once you break them in, but very stiff before that
Overall Rating of the GX-8
5.11 A.T.A.C. Storm Men’s 8” Side-Zip Tactical/Combat Boots
A quick rundown of basic facts:
- 1200 Denier Cordura Nylon side panels and leather uppers
- Man-made soles
- Secret pocket
- Lining is Drilex and anti-microbial
- Prone position also provided with secure grip
- Triple stitching
- A tactical boot that doesn’t need any time to break in is a rare sight indeed. My family are all police officers, and we’re no strangers to high-quality combat boots like 5.11. We also live in an area with harsh winters and a lot of snow throughout, so warm and waterproof police boots like these are just what the doctor ordered
- The depth of my new boots is definitely a new frontier for me. I used to go with 6 inches simply because I thought they made me faster and more mobile. It’s just now that I realized how much more ankle support I get from 8-inch boots. Not to mention the overall fit is much snugger and secure than before
- We all know about 5.11 and their quality. I expected a sturdy boot right off the bat. What I didn’t expect, however, is how lightweight these waterproof duty boots are. They’re not exactly a pair of running shoes, but they come really close to that feel
- I use them as my work boots, and I have only good things to say about them. I don’t usually write these reviews when I buy something, but this time, it’s different. I constantly wore bulky, heavy-duty work boots for protection, disregarding what they did to my feet. All that unnecessary weight was killing me, and I started developing a number of foot maladies, plantar fasciitis being the most challenging one. After trying these on, I’ve realized a good pair of comfortable and protective boots doesn’t need to weigh a ton in order to get the job done
- I have a full closet of my husband’s military boots, and I keep on reminiscing about all those times when I had to polish those damn things. All kidding aside, these new 5.11s he bought are by far the easiest waterproof duty boots to clean. I polish them in no time, and they also keep the shine like no other pair he ever owned
- I’m a logger, and we were ankle-deep in the snow last week trying to cut down a pretty hard-to-reach forest patch. We were working dusk ‘till dawn, but my feet remained dry and warm the whole time. I don’t know if these boots let all the sweat evaporate or something, but my feet got out of the whole jam like champs. It would’ve been a blister bonanza if I wore my old Caterpillar work boots
- 5.11 really did a nice job designing these boots. They look good on every occasion, in my opinion. They’re my work and hunting boots, I go hiking wearing them, and I can also fit them nicely with my biking gear. This boot is definitely not a one-trick pony; more like two dozens tricks pony
- These boots come prepared for anything! I mean any terrain and weather conditions. I’ve been dragging them over mud, asphalt, sand, gravel, sharp rocks, tree roots and they didn’t even blink. They’re well-ventilated, so they keep me cool during hotter months, but winter climate is where they really shine. They’re warm and cozy, and they keep my feet safe from any water trying to get in. Best waterproof duty boots so far! and they look and fit great with my uniform.
- This is my first model with a zipper on the side, and I have to say it’s a really refreshing experience. They’re much easier to put on/take off, and they save a lot of time when you look at it on a weekly or monthly level. The zipper works perfectly, and it has a very smooth up/down motion
- They’re not resolable because 5.11 opted for cement construction. Luckily, they look very durable, so I don’t expect to experience any problems
- The only thing I would change here are the overly long boots. I can’t tuck them in anywhere without it looking bulgy and highly unprofessional
- For what I’m making as a police office, these were definitely a hit on my budget
- I don’t understand this secret pocket. It’s too small for anything useful or, at least, meaningful to fit, so why is it there in the first place???
The final category and overall ratings of the Speed Freek
Under Armour Speed Freek Tactical Boots
Let’s see what Under Armour had to say about these GTX waterproof police boots:
- Waterproof GTX membrane
- Push-through technology in the outsoles
- Toecaps are made from TPU and feature high resistance to abrasion
- EVA midsole
- Molded Ortholite insoles
- Shanks in the upper for speed lacing
- 10 oz
Here’s what the customers liked about them:
- My last pair of Speed Freeks served me well for about 3 years of constant abuse. I used them for hiking, work and hunting, and these boots performed just as people said in their reviews, without a hitch
- The material they chose for the uppers feels really high-quality, and it’s incredibly easy to polish. All I need is a bit of Kiwi Parade Gloss, some cotton ball and I’m good to go. Under Armour isn’t well-known for their polishable tactical boots, so I’m really glad this model still exists
- I put their waterproof lining to the test during our hike last week. We’ve had 2 river crossings, and they kept my feet bone-dry the whole time. The water was somewhat above my ankles, and I imagine it would’ve gotten in if I submerged these babies completely, but no waterproof boot in the world could stop that from happening
- I know my way around Under Armour tactical boots, and I know I can expect light weight and supreme comfort. I already bought Valsetz and Valsetz RTS, and they’re great pieces of tactical footwear. Speed Freek is everything they are, but with a waterproof membrane, which is more than a sweet deal. Let me put it like this. Imagine the comfort and breathability of a running shoe with the support and protection of a tactical boot. Add waterproofing into the mix and you get Under Armour Speed Freek
- They’ve pretty much helped with all the pain I was feeling for years now. Once I started wearing them regularly to work, I felt the pain in my back, knees, ankles and heels starting to let go a bit. Who would’ve thought uncomfortable work boots could cause so much trouble. These are beyond comfortable, and being 100% waterproof comes in handy more often than not
- Finding a pair of duty boots that would keep your feet dry during the winter or rain season, but also let all the sweat get out is nothing short of a miracle in my experience. I expected good performance from an Under Armour GTX boot during the winter, but the breathability they have during super hot months really caught me off guard
- The best darn looking duty boots I ever worn, it’s been the talk of the office ever since I got them. It looks classy and fits the dress standards and yet, in the lack of better words, it just looks cool…
- The traction is really something on these boots. I’ve always imagined Under Armour tactical footwear as these lightweight and comfortable but not really serious pieces. Speed Freek had me stand corrected. It grips the ground like there’s no tomorrow and has the same performance as my old 5.11s. Way to step up your game Under Armour!
- I wore a pair of Rothco duty boots before these, and they just obliterated my toes. The boot overall was decent quality for the price except, the toe room was nonexistent, and my toes kept on getting cramped day after day. After I got these, I can finally look at a downhill slope without a feeling of silent terror and fear for my toes
- I’m a member of Washington DC law enforcement, but I also use these as my hunting boots. UA tactical boots were always water resistant, but that doesn’t do squat once you find yourself ankle deep in a swampy slush. This is the first legitimately waterproof UA model I know of, and GoreTex is really doing its job. We’ve spent the entire weekend hunting pheasants, and my feet were dry and ventilated the whole run
Under Armour Speed Freek – newly reported issues:
- They were stiff out of the box, but broke in completely in no time
- They’re definitely not for everybody’s budget. I’m going to feel that price later this month
- Why don’t they make the side-zip version of these!!!
UA Speed Freek – ratings:
Best waterproof police boots – conclusion
This was such a requested topic (and still is) I hope you enjoyed what the last two months had to offer to this category.
We’ve gathered new user reports, some good but also the bad; we’ve tested Under Armour Speed Freek one more time (just in case). We had one of our featured testers take it through a medium Fairbanks trail. You’ll be able to read more about that in an article shortly due for publishing.
Stay safe and choice wisely,
Sole Labz team
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