As a firefighter, you know how important it is to take good care of your feet. Your life and the lives of those around you depend on your ability to think fast and move even faster. Long hours and days can take a toll on your feet.
Wearing the right boots can make all of the difference in keeping your feet comfortable.
The Basics ---
- For firefighters, it's key to consider comfort, protection, support and durability.
- There are three types of fire boots: Station boots, duty boots and wildland firefighting boots.
- Unless you're buying custom boots, you'll probably need to add arch support insoles to your fire boots to keep them comfortable on your feet (particularly if you're buying inexpensive boots).
- If you're looking to add energy to tired feet, the flexible support of Ramble Insoles is for you. If you prefer firm, structured support in your boots, try Pace Insoles.
What You Need To Know ---
What Should I Look For In The Best Firefighter Boots?
The best boots for firefighters should have the following components - comfort, protection, support and durability.
- Comfort - Aching feet will not serve you when the wind changes and speed is of the essence.
- Protection – Wildland terrain is extremely rugged. The urban landscape can be equally challenging. Your feet need to protect you from rocks, debris, water, and heat.
- Support – Without support, your feet will fatigue. Like a truck, your feet need firm suspension to smooth out the bumps and provide a stable ride.
- Durability – In the end, the best value is not the bargain boot. Cheap throwaways cost more in the long term. Buy quality and resole as necessary.
What Are The Types Of Firefighter Boots?
There are three distinct types of firefighter boots: Station boots, duty boots, and wildland firefighting boots.
Station Boots – Worn at the station and on non-fire calls. Many stations give wide leeway on what can be worn. Local fire stations often ask for quality, black service boots, but they don’t require safety toes or puncture-resistant insole plates.
Bunker or Turn-Out Boots – Worn for urban firefighting, these must meet standards for toe protection and puncture resistance. Traditional bunker boots are rubber. But more firefighters are opting for a newer crop of leather boots, which are lighter weight, more comfortable, and easier to drive in. Toe protection can be steel or composite. Composite is lighter, warmer in cold weather, but also more expensive.
Wildland Firefighting Boots – Worn in rough terrain and sometimes for days at a time, these boots need to have the traction and performance of a hiking boot, the durability of a pulaski (the axe-like tool many firefighters carry with them) and the comfort to keep you on your feet when you’re exhausted. Heavy-duty, welted leather boots are the norm here. They are re-soleable and built to last.
What Are The Best Firefighter Boots?
Because of the wide variety of accepted boots, there are many brands and styles available. As with any type of footwear, you get what you pay for in terms of comfort and durability. Many service-style boots have been influenced by the design of athletic shoes. As such, boot weights are decreasing. Boots are also gaining more flexibility and comfort. There are boots ranging from inexpensive to mid-range to high quality from various manufacturers like Magnum, Haix, and Nick's Boots.
- Magnum – For under $100, Magnum makes a good boot with a steel toe and athletic fit. Check out the Response III.
- Thorogood – Also under $100, the 8" Academy Lace-Up looks to be a comfortable boot without a safety toe. Available in a wide range of sizes.
- 5.11 Tactical – The Skyweight Side-Zip Boot is light weight and offers the convenience of a side zip.
- Oakley – For a contemporary look and a quality Vibram sole, the 6" Standard Issue Assault Boot is a perfect choice for warm weather work.
- Danner – Stitch-down creation and a Vibram sole are indications of quality construction. This boot can be resoled for added value. Best fit for narrow feet. Made in the USA.
- Haix – With a futuristic look, the Special Fighter Men’s Boot, Quad-Certified from Haix, is high tech and rebuildable.
Best Bunker or Turn-Out BootsIn some cases, stations provide rubber boots, but often the cost of leather boots comes out of the firefighter’s pocket. This can get expensive. But remember that if you take care of your feet, they will take care of you. There are several good websites with a wide variety of bunker boots.
- Haix – Engineered in Germany, this brand has various technological features. In addition, many of their boots can be refurbished, thus increasing their value. Check out their Fire Hero Extreme.
- Globe – A leader in footwear for firefighters, Globe offers a variety of turn-out Boots. Their Structural-Proximity, 14" Leather Pull-On Boot is a top-of-the-line model (with top-of-the-line prices).
- Cosmas – Based in Italy with a U.S. office, Cosmas boots have an engineered fit for great performance. The Apollo 14" boot is less money than some of the competitors, but still comfortable and protective.
Best Wildland Firefighting Boots
- Thorogood – The value play. Made by the Weinbrenner company. Check out their 834-6383 Wildland Boot. Not quite the level of quality of the boots below but substantially less money.
- Wesco – West Coast Boot Company. A longstanding company with a great product and a great fit. Available as stock or custom made. Look at their Firestormer model. I wore a pair of their linesmen’s boots, and they were fantastic.
- Nick's Boots – Located in Spokane, WA, Nicks has both stock and custom boots. Consistently good reviews. Their Firefighter model is especially strong.
Firefighter Boots Give Your Feet the Support They Need
Whichever type of firefighting boots you wear, unless they are custom, they likely don't provide the arch support you need to make them comfortable. But, there's an easy way to change that. Add a pair of arch support insoles to your firefighting boots.
When you're adding insoles to your boots, look for ones that offer firm support that mimic the contours of your arches. You'll have more energy in your step and can focus on the job at hand.
Questions? Drop us a line at email@example.com. We're here to help.