Whoever invented the side zipper for tactical boots deserves a medal. Getting in and out of your on-duty boots can be a chore. That’s why so many uniformed pros are opting for side-zip variants of their favorite boots. Check out the best side-zip tactical boots of the year right here.
DANNER – Stalwart Tactical Boots
Inspired by the legendary Danner Acadia, the Stalwarts carry on the tradition of extreme durability and trusted performance in the line of duty. Designed for patrol, foot pursuits, and long-lasting shifts, each pair is specifically constructed with a Bi-Fit board integrated into the mid-sole to greatly reduce the total weight of the boot while maintaining the level of support that Danner is known for. For those that seek to avoid a tight squeeze, the Stalwarts are built with a wider toe-box than their Arcadia counterparts. Prioritizing comfort, Danner has also added a plush, full-length, removable footbed to make sure all those long hours on your feet don’t leave any lasting damage.
ORIGINAL S.W.A.T. – Chase 9″ Waterproof Side-Zip Boots
Never underestimate the extreme annoyance that comes with wet socks. Original S.W.A.T. understands your pain like any good boot brand worth its salt, which is why these boots made our list of the top ten bestselling police boots. The element-conquering Chase boot is a solution to wet-weather operations and keeps you dry on the job. Featuring an all-leather design, this foot soldier incorporates a waterproof bootie construction with a moisture-wicking lining and antimicrobial properties to defy dampness and prevent foot odors from assaulting your senses every time you strip these off. Whether marching through the marsh or heading straight into a storm of biblical proportions, the slip-resistant outsole provides a stumble-free pace no matter the setting.
ALTAMA – Vengeance SR 8″ Side-Zip Boots
A quick response merits a boot that doesn’t weigh you down when you need to get moving. Enter the Vengeance, your solution for high-speed action and maximum readiness. Showcasing polymer speed lace eyelets and the YKK side-zipper in a durable Vision pattern for getting them on and off easy, you’re always just seconds away from getting your feet set and starting the mission. From a comfort standpoint, the custom-molded phylon EVA midsole provides lightweight support with an airport-friendly nylon shank. For those concerned with keeping what’s outside, well, outside, the gusseted tongue keeps dirt and debris in their rightful place.
BATES – 8″ Tactical Sport Side Zip Boots
Consistently championed as one of the most comfortable duty boots by GovX members, Bates has raised the bar with their Tactical Sport submission by way of unparalleled comfort and reliable performance. Highly breathable and designed to serve as your daily workhorse, each pair comes equipped with a lightweight cushioned EVA midsole for increased flexibility and performance when you’re on the go. Boasting a minuscule break-in period, Bates is your best bet for putting everything into your preparation without sacrificing your comfort levels.
UNDER ARMOUR – Stellar Tactical Side Zip Boots
Ready to stomp through any terrain, Under Armour’s lineup of tactical boots come set for the field as soon as you slip them on. The Stellar Tactical Side Zip Boot are no exception. Outfitted with UA Storm gear, the boots utilize a DWR finish to repel water without sacrificing breathability. A must-have feature for anyone familiar with wet weather conditions or harsh environments. The long hours spent on your feet are made more tolerable by the fatigue-reducing, anti-microbial Ortholite® sockliner, which molds to your foot for extra cushioning as the EVA midsole provides reinforced support. This all adds up to one solid addition to the footwear arsenal to any American. In uniform or out.
Belleville Boots – Men’s Ultralight Tactical Boots
Belleville specializes in ultra lightweight tactical boots that don’t skimp on durability or comfort. This is a boot built for agility and speed, with an athletic ghillie lacing system that laces up quick and evokes the feel of a running shoe. The breathable mesh panels offer ventilation for those operating in warmer climates. The leather toe is polishable for maintaining that crisp, professional look, and yes, before you ask, they DO come in both regular and wide fit.
BATES – Men’s Velocitor Waterproof Boots
Need a side-zip tactical boot in rougher climates? Bates has you covered with the Velocitor, a weather-ready duty boot with a waterproof construction designed to keep your feet dry. This pair confidently passes the slip resistance test, meeting SATRA TM144 slip testing standards. So practically speaking, what does that mean for you? It means on oil-slick roads and rainy pavements, you remain sure-footed and ready to do your job.
HAIX is a monster in the tactical boot space. Especially popular among firefighters, European-made HAIX boots embody durability and reliability. The built-in stabilization zone in the foot bed keeps your foot ideally positioned and distributes weight evenly throughout the boot. The outsole is truly special here, reacting to the temperature of your environment. It’s heat resistant and cold insulating at the same time, and the non-marking tread is self-cleaning, releasing any dried mud with the natural stepping motion of your foot. The cushioned, moisture-wicking, antibacterial insole is washable and replaceable, so you’re looking at a boot that can last you years and years of reliable service.
Rocky Boots – Men’s Size Zipper 10-in Jump Boot
This retro-looking tactical boot would look right at home in a C-47 over Normandy. Rocky’s 10-in paratrooper boot is jump ready, with full-grain water-resistant leather, a contoured EVA insole for comfort, and a rubber lug outsole that grips the terrain confidently upon landing. As a 10-inch boot, its height makes the side zipper especially welcome. Everyone knows the chore it can be to get your foot into a tall boot without the benefit of a side-zipper entry. Especially when you’re preparing to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. (Oh, here’s a tip. Order a size up. These boots run large.)
5.11 Tactical – A.T.A.C. 2.0 Side Zip 8 Boots
We’ll finish strong with a 5.11 Tactical powerhouse. The ATAC 2.0 is an innovative boot for the modern uniformed professional. The Ortholite X25 foam insole provides an athletic, responsive footfall, and the air flow construction keep your feet cool, dry, and comfortable all day long. The new Achilles heel flex zone in the 2.0 version gives your foot even more range of motion than its predecessor. And as a bonus feature, you’ve got a discrete knife pocket for last resorts. We’re hoping it doesn’t come to that, but it’s always good to be prepared.