By Jayden Mark
Firefighting is a tricky business and not for the faint-hearted. A firefighter's gear has to hold up to many challenging situations, including heat, different terrains, and prolonged workday fatigue. Every piece of equipment must be up to the task as it could mean saving a life, either a firefighter or another person's life.
Firefighters' boots are constructed to provide comfort, support, durability, and protection.
Now, are you curious about what firefighters' boots are made of? This article clarifies some of the questions pertaining to firefighters' boots and what types of firefighter boots are available.
There are primarily three types of firefighter boots:
Duty boots, often called bunker boots since a firefighter may keep them close to their bunks, are typically worn by urban firefighters. Bunker boots must meet puncture and toe protection standards. In addition, the boots must have either steel toes or a more expensive composite toe that is warmer and lighter. Recently, the bunker boot, made of rubber, has been supplanted with newer boot construction techniques. However, many firefighters elect to go with lighter-weight leather boots that are easier to drive with and are overall more comfortable than traditional rubber bunker boots.
These boots are the least regulated since being worn at the station and typically are not required to be puncture-proof or steel-toed. However, station protocols call for quality, black service boots worn while on duty.
Traversing rough terrain for hours on end, sometimes for days, wildland boots have special requirements. They need hiking boot traction and performance, provide excellent comfort when exhausted from working long days, and have the durability of the pulaski, the indispensable ax-like firefighters' tool for fighting forest fires.
These are some recommended top-rated firefighter boots, each for the specific requirements or conditions for a particular firefighter boot.
1. Danner 18054 Wildland Tactical Firefighter Boots
The Danner 18054 Tactical firefighter boots, made with fire-resistant leather, are explicitly crafted for wildland firefighters and are EH-certified (Electrical Hazard). Designed to provide superior protection, comfort, and support, they are highly durable and hold up to any rough terrain or weather conditions.
In addition, they are well constructed with steel shanks to provide stability and excellent ankle support.
2. Viking VW90 Men's Firefighter Felt Lined Boot
Rarely found in rubber boots, also called gumboots, these boots are flexible and comfortable yet provide excellent protection and comfort. The Viking VW90 felt-lined boots feature steel toes, puncture resistance, heat-resistance insulation, and fire and chemical resistance to provide superior foot protection.
One of the most comfortable rubber or gumboots available is not only comfortable but offers excellent foot protection against most urban fire and electrical hazards.
3. Thorogood Trooper Men's Gen-flex2 Series Tactical Jump Boot
With cushy insoles, lightweight, and flexible uppers, the Thorogood Trooper Gen-flex2 tactical jump boot is favored by the military, law enforcement, and responders. The Thorogood Trooper boots are comfortable for long shifts or demanding tasks and excellent firefighter duty boots.
The lightweight Trooper Gen-flex2 is more like hiking shoes and is built for all-day comfort.
4. Bates Tactical Sport-Comp Toe-M Side Zip Boot
Favored by first responders and troops, the Bates Tactical Comp Toe-M boots are very light and comfortable all-day wearing. They are comfortable and have ASTM-rated protection for electrical hazards and composite toe protection that makes them airport friendly, unlike steel-toed boots.
The rubber outsoles provide sure footing and are easy to put on or take off with velcro closures, zippers, and shoelaces.
5. Rocky FQ0002173 Alpha Force Zipper Waterproof Duty Boot
After a week-long break-in, this station boot is comfortable, and the Rocky FQ0002173 Alpha Force boot is worn by many law enforcement and first responder personnel. They are quick to remove and put on the turnout gear with side zippers.
Full-grain leather and fabric uppers are waterproof and have excellent breathability to keep the feet dry and comfortable throughout the day. In addition, they are lightweight and feature their patented Air-Port technology to absorb shock to the feet and keep you prepared for a long day's duty.
6. Bates ENFORCER 8 Inch-W Women’s Tactical Sport Side-Zip Boot
A favorite women's station footwear, the Bates ENFORCER Women's Tactical boot is a Bates bestseller for many reasons. They have excellent cushioned insoles providing exceptional support for long-duty days on concrete floors and rubber outsoles for traction.
Constructed with leather and nylon, they have superior breathability and moisture-wicking properties to keep the feet dry and feeling fresh. These boots require a more extended break-in period of more than a week but become very comfortable.