Waterproof Tactical/Military Boots – Top 3 Best Rated
This is the 5th bimonthly update to the guide on best waterproof tactical/military boots and, to be honest, we haven’t seen that much of a change in the rating or rankings.The Bates GX-8 still reigns supreme and has been at the top since we first compiled the guide. The runner-up, 5.11 A.T.A.C. Storm is placed 2nd for 3 updates now, and Original S.W.A.T. Chase still holds the number 3 position.
The Chase looks really good and it’s been climbing the ratings ever since it hit the market and it might even be TOP 2. In other words, time is on its side, and we are looking forward to the following updates.
For those of you who have just stumbled upon SoleLabz, here’s a quick rundown of what we do here:
- We are one of the few (we can’t say only for legal reasons) website out there that brings together REAL experts to test and rate tactical boots
- Our testers include prominent names like Scott Gauvin, JJ Johnson and John Rourke…just to name a few.
- We combine their reviews and field tests with user reviews and rate the boots in 10 categories to come up with a FINAL RATING
The gist is that we don’t just offer opinions, we approach rating the tactical boot in different categories (like waterproof) with the precision of science.
But enough about us, let’s get to the “meat” of the guide and present the:
TOP 3 WATERPROOF TACTICAL/MILITARY BOOTS
|Bates GX-8||95 / 100|
|5.11 A.T.A.C. Storm 8"||92 / 100|
|Original S.W.A.T. Chase 9"||88 / 100|
In the rest of the guide we’ll present digest reviews of each pair of tactical boots:
- Their fact sheets as presented by the companies
- What the users and our featured testers shared in reviews – PROs and CONs
- Final thoughts and Overall Ratings of each pair
So, let’s get to it by “dealing” with the winner and why it’s where it is:
Bates GX-8 8 Waterproof tactical (military and combat) boot
- The upper is a mix of high-quality leather and synthetic
- Rubber sole optimized for traction + EVA midsole
- Outsole – slip-resistant rubber
- Patented Cement boot composition
The PROs as per the users and our featured testers:
- The most comfortable pair of waterproof tac boots I’ve ever worn in my 3 decades in law enforcement
- I’m always hesitant about buying footwear online, but these feel great and are completely true to size. The best lightweight waterproof military boot I’ve ever worn.
- Very short break-in time, especially for a combat boots, for me it was just a few hours
- If you can use the term head-turner for boots, this is the pair. I use them for hunting, and I have hands-down the best pair of waterproof boots in the party in spite of the fact that some of my buddies wear SWATs that cost twice as much.
- My previous 5.11s with similar features (weight, GoreTex, sturdiness) cost twice as much. This Bates is great value for money…
- I didn’t think much of it when ordering, but the side zip makes a difference.
- I bought the GX-8 this time last year, and I wear them 7-10 hours a day. They do look a bit beaten up but no seam undone. These are amazingly durable.
- I’ve worn tactical boots pretty much all my adult life and every time I used to add a cushion insole. This is the first pair that I’m wearing without and feels just as comfortable…
- The first thing I look in a boot is it being true to size and these Bates are spot on.
- This Bates is really light and completely waterproof, one of the better tacticals I’ve had the chance to wear
- Perfect fit, flexible and comfy and yet enough ankle support top carry twice my weight, at least, that’s what it feels like…
- The best waterproof combat waterproof boot I even owned, and this is my 5th pair since I shipped out…
- I tried these boots out on a treadmill, and they felt as flexible as a trail runner.
- I’ve been through hot, cold, dry wet with these military boots and not only are they waterproof, they’re also breathable enough that your feet don’t “cook” in the hot.
- This makes for a sweet motorcycle boot.
- Long-lasting and affordable. I’m sticking with Bates for my tac boots from now on
- Just great – rugged and high cut design, 100% waterproof, comfortable and supportive and haven’t changed a bit in over 6 months of constant use. I’m getting a second pair.
- My job takes me to icy terrains, and these are the best fit for the conditions. Completely waterproof, some days my feet are the only part of me that’s dry. More importantly, they deliver on the promise of the rubber sole being slip resistant.
- After 4 years I can say that this is military-grade quality, the convenient side zipper makes them easy to put on and off, the overall feel is great, and the price is surprisingly low for this kind of boot.
- Just as you would expect from Bates – I’ve had the Bates Enforcer for over a year and a half and decided to treat myself with the GX-8. Worth every penny…
- I have ankle problems from my basketball days and need extra support. Pretty much every boot I owned so far provided the support but felt like I have bricks attached to my legs. This military GX-8 is just right; the search is over for me.
- Stylish look for a tactical boot…
- Great for snow! Apart from truly being waterproof, it molds to the shape of your foot and feels light. I have problems with plantar fasciitis, and this feels like “the boot”
- Just what I was looking for, great-looking even when worn with everyday attire and reliable against our Minnesota winters
The CONs – what people didn’t like so much:
- The zipper on these came completely loose. I’m replacing these…
- Very little air circulation. I have feet-sweating problems, and these boots didn’t do me any favors…
- I expected more. It’s just 6 months, and I’m noticing some wearing on the sole…too soon for a Bates boot
- The boot is hard to put on
The Overall rating of the best waterproof tactical boot out there
5.11 A.T.A.C. Storm 8-inch Side-Zip Tactical Boot
Basic info sheet:
- Leather and fabric upper
- The soles are man-made
- Side panels made of 12k-denier Cordura nylon
- Hidden pocket on the side
- Anti-microbial Drilex lining
- Triple stitching
- Prone position grip
The positive user experiences:
- These 5.11’s were my most trusted sidekick for 3 years working as a state patrolman. I’ve marched and ran for miles and never even got a hint of a blister
- You can literally stand in 8-10 inches of water and still get away with completely dry feet, they really deliver on the waterproof promise with this pair
- The leather on these tactical boots polishes really well. All I need to get a real mirror shine are some cotton balls and Kiwi Parade Gloss
- The sizing is perfect
- I got bored with improvising and using tricks to make my boots waterproof and I didn’t have a great experience in the past with water-resistant boots, but this pair is the real deal
- The zipper works without any problems and it’s great help after 10-hour work days
- My feet are flat, and these provide a much better support that the ones I was issued for Basic Training
- The best tactical boots for me by far. I prefer side-zip models, but that’s a problem since zippers tend to die on me because of my internal brace. It puts too much stress on them until they give out. I’ve worn these every single day for months now, and the zipper is still holding on and they really are waterproof
- I used to wear lighter tac boots like the UA Valsetz, but a little added weight is worth it with this boot…much better protection
- I work as a cameraman, so I have to carry cameras, lighting, tripods and stuff over dirt, rocks, mud… The soles and heels on these are extraordinarily grippy and give me a secure and stable feeling
- Try being a street cop in a rain-heavy but drainage-poor area. These 5.11’s are the first pair of duty boots I’m not rushing to take off after my shift. They’re just that comfortable.
- I’m a police dog handler, and these waterproof boots are lifesavers. I received a call to a scene about 2 weeks ago; 3 suspects fled into the woods after burglarizing the house. The field was completely covered with 6 inches of water and mud. We got our crooks after sloshing for a couple of hundreds of yards. The socks of my back-up guy were soaked wet, and he told me he had around 6 hours left in his shift. My feet and socks were bone-dry. I ran into him a couple of days ago, and he was wearing a brand new pair of waterproof 5.11 ATAC Storms
- I’m a sucker for 5.11 tactical boots. The ATACs are pure quality. 100% WATERPROOF, well made and durable. Not to mention they’re the most comfortable combat boots I’ve ever tried.
- I’m a huge fan of medieval combat techniques, and I use these on my practices as well as the tournaments. They handle the pressure of my hobby like champs and give me great maneuverability along the way
- They feel like sneakers, and putting them on is so much easier with the zipper around. The zipper BTW is very tough
- I’ve been wearing them as my duty boots for a year now. They never gave me blisters or developed unpleasant odors so far
- The laces hold up really well, but then again, I almost never untie them because of the zipper
- The traction is off the charts, and the tread is more than tough. They’re with me for about 3 months. I use them daily for working the construction, and the soles still aren’t showing any signs of wear
Here’s what customers didn’t enjoy:
- They can’t be resoled
- The pocket is just useless!
- I’m left with a good inch of laces to spare after I’m done lacing up. They create a bulge when worn under or over garment, which gives off an unprofessional appearance
- The insoles started developing holes the more hard time I gave to these boots, so I just replaced them with Dr. Sholl’s
Overall rating of the 5.11 ATAC
Original S.W.A.T. Chase 9-inch Men’s Waterproof Tactical Boots
Basic info as per manufacturer:
- Rubber sole
- Shaft-from-arch 8.5”
- Heel measures 1.5”
- 1.0” platform
- Non-marking rubber outsole that’s resistant to chemicals and oil
- Construction of a running shoes featuring Comfort Molded midsole and insole
- Polishable full-grain leather toe with nylon upper
- Metal detector friendly supportive nylon shank
- Stitched heel and toe
The PROs users shared about these waterproof tactical boots:
- Really fast shipment
- They feel like New Balance running shoes I use for my workouts
- No break-in time required! They’re comfortable as a pair of trail runners right from the start
- My first pair of coyote brown Original Swats held up for years of unprecedented abuse. I’ve dragged them through water and mud, over rocks and gravel, hills and desert areas… They’ve taken a proper beating, let’s just put it like that. I’ve decided for a black pair this time around, and I know Original Swat tactical boot doesn’t disappoint
- They fit 100% true to size. The size chart is completely accurate
- They look really sharp and go well even with my casual combos
- They’re really warm. With a good pair of socks, they make one hell of a winter boot
- I bought them as my construction work boots. When I give 50 bucks for a pair of combat boots, I know they have about 5-6 months of juice in them. I’m rocking Original SWAT for a year now, and they look like they can go at least another round. Great value for the money
- They have a lot of extra padding all around, so they’re super comfortable and warm
- The width of these army boots is perfect!
- They look pretty heavy-duty, but you see how lightweight they are once you put them on. This is my second pair, but the first wasn’t scuff-resistant. This one is, thanks to the addition
- The overall finish just doesn’t give off the feeling of a cheap tactical boot. I’ve paid around 50 dollars for them, but they feel and look really professional and tight
- Best waterproof tactical boot for this kind of money, great protection for extreme conditions. I used to wear steel toe tac boots, but I’m never going back…
- I’ve replaced my standard issue with these Swats, and the comfort can’t even compare. They were highly recommended by two colleagues of mine, and I guess they knew what they were talking about. One great perk of wearing them is that I can run almost as is I was wearing running shoes. Great buy and a good pair of police combat boots
- I use the primarily for hiking. I like the look of a good combat boot rather than hiking iterations. Let’s just say they’ve solved my blister problem and kept my feet comfortable and dry on the trail. We’ve had three river crossings, and I’m the only one who got out with his feet completely dry
- When I put them on, I feel like I’m wearing a combination of a high-cut hiking shoe, a running shoe and a tactical boot. They’re extremely lightweight and comfortable, flexible and maneuverable, yet protective and completely waterproof. This is my first pair of Original SWATs, but I’ll be coming back for more
The CONs customers had to report:
- They’re comfortable right off the bat, but they do have a bit of a squeak in the arch in the beginning
- Added insulation makes my feet sweat more than usual. They’re completely waterproof, though, so it’s to be expected
- I admit, I’m used to my Magnum Responses. I wore them for 10+ years before I decided to try something else. These don’t feel as snug as Magnums. I’ve tightened the laces as hard as I could, and I still feel like there’s free space that shouldn’t be there
- I’m not used to boots this high. It’s not very maneuverable for me right now; I’ll see if I get used to it
Let’s sum up this update
Well, all I can say is that our winners from last time didn’t feel like getting off the list.
Our “Best waterproof tactical boots” category remains as it was two months ago. The rankings fluctuated slightly, but nothing worth mentioning.We’ll come back in two months time and revisit the overall situation. We’ll monitor the market closely for potential high-quality products and make sure our next iteration of this guide reflects the market state exactly.
See you in two months with some fresh info.