Everything You Need to Know about Sizing and Getting the Best Comfort in Your Tactical Boots

Not choosing the right fit and size of tactical boots may lead to many foot problems so fitting your tactical boots the best way is essential, especially for the long run.

A bit of space for wiggling your toes in the front, a snug fit of the boots, your heel staying in place when you’re walking with no sliding up and down- these are only some of the hints that you should keep in mind when trying a pair of tactical boots.

What are the fit tips to remember when buying your tactical boots?

Even if a pair of tactical boots may feel comfortable enough in store, they may end up to be the worst choice after actually wearing. Last thing you want in the line of duty is not to be able to focus because of some blisters or some hot spots.

Here are some things to set in stone when selecting your new pair of tactical boots:

  • The toe room needs to be big enough!

The toe room needs to be big enough smYou should always seek that the tactical boots provide enough space in the front so that you may wiggle your toes. It’s expected that your feet are going to swollen throughout the day so it makes sense that the boots offer that kind of space. You can check for the toe space by sliding your foot all the way to the front of the tactical boot. Once you do that, you should be able to put a finger behind your heel. If the space in the back is larger than a finger, the boots are too big.


  • Your heel has to feel secure and in place

You’re not supposed to feel your tactical boots at any moment. They should, however, feel a bit snug across the width of the boot. A good tactical boot is going to let you feel your ankle, heel and forefront nice and secure, leaving just enough space for wiggling your toes. Your heel isn’t supposed to slide when you’re walking nor slide back and forth. You can also take a look at the laces as adjusting them the right way may improve the fit. Scroll down for more tips about that.

  • Take a walk test

Tactical boots walk testWhen you go in stores, taking a walk test is doable. You can still do it and buy online afterwards the same model, as you’re going to find better deals online. Anyhow, you should put on the boots and walk on some carpet so that you don’t get dirt on them. Pay attention to your walk and try to identify any hotspots or rubbing. If you’re already feeling some hot spots, take them off. Despite of what you may think, hot spots almost always turn into blisters and get worsen in time. Some boots aren’t going to feel more comfortable, no matter for how long you’re breaking them in. this is why you should try various types, sizes and brands until you find out the best fit and size for you.

  • Don’t forget about the boot socks

boot socksYou should always wear socks (the ones you normally do on the job) when trying on some tactical boots. boot socks are thicker than the athletic models as they offer more padding in the toe and heel areas. The padding is going to reduce your risk for developing hot spots or blisters later on. Having your feet dry and warm in the cold temperatures may not seem important, but it’s only when your feet are damp and cold that you realize that using the perfect tactical boots is essential.

You should look for some boot socks that improve your tactical boots performances. They should have wicking moisture abilities so that they keep your feet dry and nice at all time.

How to break in your tactical boots?

Once you got yourself a brand new pair of tactical boots, you need to break them in. There are several ways to do it, so here are our suggestions:

  • The wet method

Even if this method helps your boots break in faster, you’re not going to be able to use it for boots that need high-gloss shine. You can only use it for tactical boots with leather uppers as leather is going to shrink and take shape when it’s wet.

If you’re in a hurry and don’t mind much about the moisture, the wet method is a reliable and effective method for breaking in your leather tactical boots. Here are the steps to take:

  • Place your tactical boots in a bathtub/wash tub
  • Fill your boots with water. They need to be soaked.
  • Remove the water from your boots.
  • Put on two pair of socks and put on your wet tactical boots. the leather is going to dry and you need to wear two pairs so that you have enough space for the wiggling at the end of it all.
  • Wear the boots throughout the day
  • Get the insoles out and let them dry
  • place your boots outside for a complete dry (never in direct sun).

Summer tactical boots feature several vents on the side, so they’re going to dry faster than winter boots. if you live in a humid weather, it may take a couple of days until your boots dry completely. You may not get the best fit from the first try, but once or twice is going to do it 9 times out of 10.

You should also take the wet boots every couple of hours and let your feet dry completely. When they’re dry and warm again, put another two pairs of dry socks and put your wet boots back on.

  • The dry method

This is a method that works for the boots that aren’t supposed to get wet (high-gloss shine or dress boots). It’s a valid choice for the military boots, police boots and casual work boots.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Begin slowly. The first time you put your tactical boots on, you shouldn’t wait for more than 1 or 2 hours to take them off. Increase the time you spend in them every day until you feel they’re comfortable enough to wear throughout the entire day.
  • Put on some nylon socks underneath the thicker socks. This way you’re going to have a slim chance to develop any hot spots or blisters.
  • Play it safe and apply some moleskin to the areas that are prone to blistering or rubbing
  • Have no mercy on your boots the moment you feel that they’re broken in. the more you wear them when you walk, run or train, the more comfortable they’re going to become.

Do you need to shrink/stretch out your leather tactical boots?

This may sound a bit weird, but it’s not impossible to end up with a pair of tactical boots that don’t fit right anymore. You shouldn’t get your hopes up if your new boots are few sizes off, but may actually get a chance when they’re off only a size or so.

One of the best things about leather is that is a natural material that allows manipulation using extreme temperatures (remember the aforementioned wet method?). If your leather tactical boots are way too big for you, you should give it a shot with stretching them before giving them away.

  • How to stretch leather tactical boots?

if your leather tactical boots feel a bit too tight, you should be able to stretch them nice and easy, without even damaging the leather. Here’s how to do it right:

  • Fill a gallon-sized plastic food storage bag with water- but only one-third of the way full. You need to squeeze as much of the air out of the bag as possible before sealing the bag. Suffice it to say, you need to use a very strong bag as water may damage your leather tactical boots for good the moment it comes in contact with the leather.
  • Place the plastic bag inside of your boot, right in the area where you need to stretch the leather. It’s quite easy if it’s the toe or the heel area that need stretching (it can be both). It’s a bit more challenging when you need to work on the calf area. Stuffing some balled-up newspaper into the bottom of your tactical boot is going to help you place the bag of water the best way.
  • Put the boot (with the bag in it) inside the freezer and let it sit overnight (8 hours are going to be enough). The water in the bag is going to freeze, enlarge its volume and…stretch the leather boot.
  • Take the boot out of the freezer in the morning. You need to thaw the ice before taking the bag out of your boot. You don’t want to force it, as it may ruin your boot completely. You should let the ice thaw for 20 minutes (give or take) before taking it out in a gentle way.
  • How to shrink your leather tactical boots?

You just go up and see the wet method once again. It’s basically the same thing.

Why is good fit important?

Having the right pair of tactical boots is going to help you focus a lot better when in the line of duty. Wearing the pair of tactical boots that also feel comfortable is just as important as no one wants to look for their blister kit (assuming he/she has it in the pack) when trying to shoot.






Robert Dwayne

Robert Dwayne

To say that I am an outdoors enthusiast is probably an understatement. I am hyper passionate about everything outdoors: hiking, survival, hunting. On this website I am sharing my stories and experiences, and I hope you'll find inspiration to take up your own adventures!