Understanding the Importance of Quality Boots for Correction Officers

In professions involving law enforcement and safety, a good pair of tactical boots is essential. Correctional officers often have to be quick on their feet. Even during a calm, quiet shift, you might still required to stand for prolonged periods.

Only a pair of boots that offer good traction, support, and comfort will do. They must be practical and durable, keeping your feet protected for hours at a time, regardless of if you are walking, standing, or even running. The break-in period for new boots should be as quick as possible.

Injuries such as foot sprains are not uncommon in this profession. Anything can happen at a moment’s notice, requiring you to jump up on your feet and sprint into action. Without proper footwear, you could end up with a foot or ankle injury, or even worse if you slip and fall.

Essential Characteristics to Look For

Features such as the height, heel, midsole, outsole, and overall structure of the footwear all factor into its support level.

Here are some of the criteria that should be considered when shopping for quality correctional officer boots:

  • Heavy-duty, yet lightweight and flexible sole that provides good grip and traction.
  • Good insulation to ensure warmth, while at the same time allowing for breathability
  • Approximately 6 – 8 inch height, plain-toed, and black in color
  • Materials like suede and full grain leather or synthetic leather
  • Good ankle and arch support
  • Insoles should be cushiony to prevent blisters; if not, then they should be removable and/or replaceable
  • Good amount of traction on the outside, and a bit of room for the feet to move around on the inside, but not so much that stability is lost
  • Good craftsmanship and stitching

No one pair is going to be “perfect”. The best anyone can do is select the pair of boots that meets as many of these requirements as possible.

Lightweight design is crucial for tactical footwear. If they feel too heavy on your feet, they might hinder your movement and ability to maneuver quickly. Since you will probably need to start wearing them almost immediately after purchasing them, the break-in period should be as short as possible. Keep an eye on reviews to see if there are complaints about discomfort by other users.

Now that you have a quick overview of what to look for, here are some of the best correctional officer boots for 2021:

 

  1. Bates Men’s GX-8 Gore-Tex Waterproof Side Zip Boot

Gore-Tex is one of the best materials used in boot construction. In these Bates boots, which are described as being “perfect for all seasons”, the Gore-Tex membrane protects the feet from any cold, wet weather. There is also a moisture wicking line that efficiently pulls moisture away from the feet to ensure all-day freshness and comfort.

The boots themselves have crucial features, like a YKK Nylon Side Zipper for quick access (GX-8), cement construction, waterproof leather (70%) / nylon upper (30%), and non-metallic composite toe. The rubber outsole, has Ultra-Lites Xtreme rubber, which results in exceptional traction and stability. Also, the outsole design passed the SATRA WTM 144 slip-resistance test.

Arch support is moderate.

Pros:

  • Waterproof design holds up
  • Toe box is comfortable and “well-built”
  • Offer good ankle support
  • True to width
  • Tend to last longer than many other tactical footwear
  • Good zipper mechanism

Cons:

  • Heel might be uncomfortable for some
  • A bit too narrow; even the “Wide” sizes aren’t as wide as they should be

 

  1. Danner Men’s Acadia 8″ Boot

These 100% leather and condura Danner men’s boots, made in the USA (Berry Compliant), are known for their quality stitchdown construction, which provides more stability for the feet. The Gore-Tex lining is breathable and waterproof. The upper area features a combination of full-grain leather and 10000 Denier nylon.

The Acadia boot is 8-inches in height, non-insulated, and available in black. It provides decent oil and slip resistance, Airthotic footbed, and a fibreglass shank.

Another area where this boot shines is its handcrafting for high ankle support and wider platform. There are specialized Vibram outsoles to ensure waterproofing and slip-resistance.

In addition to an (approximate) 8-inch shaft, the Acadia 8” boot also has a platform measurement of 3/4-in and heel measurement of approximately 1 ¼-in.

Pros:

  • Many of Donner’s stitchdown boots are recraftable, extending their usability
  • Oil and slip resistant
  • Vibram TC4T for extra durability
  • Nice, snug fit for narrow feet
  • Non-metallic toe

Cons:

  • Might be too tight for those with wide feet
  • Hard to find insoles to fit
  • Some might find them to be a bit pricey, although they can be long-term investments

 

  1. 11 Men’s ATAC 2.0 8″ Military Tactical Boot

With features such as a full-grain leather toe, dual durometer Ortholite footbed, and nylon upper (8400), the amount of craftsmanship on this boot is pretty impressive. Its Strobel construction and midsole and outsole shock mitigation system provides a good amount of rugged protection.

Don’t think that just because the ATAC 2.0 boot is built with a rugged design that comfort is in any way sacrificed. The Ortholite footbed is full-length, and there is an “Achilles heel” flex zone that gives the foot more range of motion while still maintaining support. Also, the tongue has a breathable design that allows maximum airflow.

Other essential design elements include a built-in knife pocket, conveniently placed right next to the YKK side zipper. These tactical boots are easy to slide on and off, and the placement of the knife pocket means that the knife is always in reach, whenever it is needed.

Pros:

  • Slip- and oil-resistant outsole
  • High abrasion resistant
  • Ortholite Achilles cuff for added flexibility and comfort
  • Nice, sleek appearance
  • Affordability
  • More slip-resistant than most other correctional officer boots

Cons:

  • Some might find the zipper location and design to be cumbersome
  • Sizes tend to run small – it’s recommended to order 1 – 1 ½ size up
  • Wear and tear can begin within just a few months
  1. Thorogood Men’s Gen-flex2 Series 8″ Tactical Side Zip Jump Boot

Anybody who works as a correctional officer or any other law enforcement profession, it’s extremely important to have a good pair of boots that will allow you to be quick and respond to an emergency. That’s exactly what this pair of Thorogood Men’s Gen-Flex 2 series boots are designed for.

The outsole features GENflex2 dual-density rubber material, which features multi-directional traction lugs for ensuring resistance to slick surfaces (meeting ASTM F2913 test standards) and a superior grip.

As for appearance, the leather around the heel and toe of the boot has a high-shine polish. It comes in Black Walnut and features a composite shank and Goodyear Storm Welt construction. There is a single-density polyurethane footbed for comfort, which can be removed and replaced if needed.

Pros:

  • Easy to walk in – good support
  • Don’t require much cleaning and maintenance at all
  • Provide protection from water and dirt
  • Quality stitching
  • Good side zipper

Cons:

  • Perhaps a bit on the “heavy” side; not as lightweight as other boots
  • Reports of noticeable “squeaking”

 

  1. Smith & Wesson Men’s Breach 2.0 Tactical Size Zip Boots

Smith & Wesson is another brand known for offering reliable, durable boots. The Breach 2.0 is made with a leather / nylon upper to provide comfort and protection and a steel shank for support. There is breathability thanks to the foam-padded tongue and collar. The tongue is also gusseted to prevent debris, dirt, water, etc… from getting in, and the Pu Collar also helps the Breach 2.0 to stay clean.

Are you on your feet for several hours a day? Then these boots might be what you’re looking for, much in part due to the board-lasted construction, which provides torisonal rigidity, resulting in reduced foot fatigue. The Eva midsole is designed for cradled support and lightweight comfort.

With the rubber outsole and innovative pattern, traction loss is minimized considerably, making the Breach 2.0 Tactical boots resistant to slippage on dirt, fences, waxed surfaces, and anything else that can potentially cause you to fall.

These are available in most men’s regular and wide sizes in black or brown.

Pros:

  • The 100% polyester laces add to the nice aesthetic
  • EXTREMELY affordable
  • Non-marking rubber outsole
  • Offers decent arch support
  • Mostly true to size

Cons:

  • Not fully waterproof
  • Some may find the soles to be too hard
  • Not as durable and well-made as other Smith & Wesson boots

  1. Rocky Men’s Rkc050 Military and Tactical Boot


Made in the US, these 100% leather and synthetic, Coyote Brown Rocky Men’s boots look great and feel great. They are Berry-compliant and approved for wear with every OCP (Operational Camouflage Pattern) variation.

The craftsmanship includes a rubber (Vibram) sole featuring proprietary high walls, polyurethane midsole, a Wicking Dri-Lex lining, Stretch Lycra tongues, and a fibreglass shank that provides arch support. The leather is highly durable and water-resistant and flash-resistant. There is also PTFE-coating to provide flame-resistance.

Another impressive feature is the drainage vents, which are designed with advanced S2V Sieve technology. This allows air to be circulated and for water to be pushed out.

There is a lessened risk of ankle injury thanks to the Roll-Stop Ankle Stability element.

The shaft of the Rkc050 Military / Tactical Boot measures approximately 8.25-inches from arch, and its platform measures around 1-inch.

Pros:

  • Footbed features an Aegis microbe shield to fight against bacteria and odor
  • There is a version in Black
  • Triple stitched construction to increase durability and quality
  • Appears to be true to fit
  • Very comfortable

Cons:

  • On the expensive side, compared to other boots
  • Toe box isn’t wide enough for some buyers
  • Heels might develop an audible creak or squeak after awhile
  1. Bates Men’s 8″ Ultralite Tactical Sport Side Zip Military Boot


Here is another pair of Bates boots deserving to be on this list, as it is very popular and stylish. Made of materials such as durable leather and performance nylon, the 8-inch Ultralite Sport boot is designed with support and longevity in mind.

For comfort, there is a cushioned removable insert and EVA midsole. The outsole is constructed with rubber to offer slip-resistance and added traction. This can be considered a “sport” style boot because of the ventilation provided by its mesh lining, and the flexible, high-performance fit provided by its athletic cement construction.

 

 Pros:

  • Good arch and heel support
  • Waterproof
  • Ergonomic zipper
  • Good traction with rubber sole
  • Both lightweight and sturdy
  • Easy to clean and polish

Cons:

  • Some may find the lace to be too thin
  • Stitching around the zipper closure area could be done better
  • Signs of breaking can be seen within just a few months
  1. Corcoran Men’s 10 Inch PR Marauder Work Boot

As far as durability goes, you really can’t beat a pair of boots that feature a stainless steel bottom plate with puncture-resistance as well as a Garrison Army Munson last. These PR Marauder Work Boots are 100% leather and come with a 3-ribbed shank, high-speed lace system, and moisture wicking lining. All of these features ensure quality, convenience, and comfort.

If these are made in OCP compliance with US Army and Air Force standards, correctional officers will definitely benefit from the Marauder Work Boot as well.

The non-marking, polyurethane Falcon outsole is oil-resistant. 1000 Denier Cordura Nylon and moisture-wicking lining provide a good deal of flexibility and breathability.

These Corcoran boots are made in the USA.

Pros:

  • Comfortable right out of the box (for most correctional officers)
  • Enough breathability to prevent sweat and odor
  • Good ankle support, thanks to webbing reinforcement
  • Reasonable price for boots of this caliber

 

Cons:

  • A special insert for better arch support might be required
  • A break-in period is required for some in order to prevent ankle chafing


Conclusion

Many pros and cons are subjective. Keep that in mind when evaluating your options for the best pair of boots. Nobody else’s feet are exactly like yours, so it’s up to you consider your own needs and preferences.

The boots on this list serve as a starting point for correctional offers who are looking for a new pair or replacement pair for 2021.