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Military boots are for everyone. The beefy, protective kicks have meandered their way through alternative fashion scenes over the decades, but now the best army boots can be spotted on runways, at campsites and even in offices, making them a great choice for tackling winter conditions — no matter your personal look or lifestyle.
What Are the Different Types of Military Boots?
Generally speaking, the term military boots (also known as army boots or combat boots) encompasses two types of shoes: combat boots and tactical boots.
Tactical boots, on the other hand, are more akin to the footwear worn by 21st-century soldiers, lending some military-level ruggedness for outdoor adventures like hiking backpacking. If you’re bold, tactical boots can be also an avant-garde style swerve (think, Yeezy-inspired looks with jogger pants and an oversized tee).
Where Did Military Boots Come From?
Military boots first popped up as a civilian piece when skinheads started rocking Docs in the fifties. Later subculture movements — including seventies punk and nineties grunge — also tapped army boots for their badass vibe, cementing the military garment’s place in fashion. Today, however, anyone can (and should) work some military boots into their footwear rotation — shaved head and cigarette no longer required.
The best military boots now include bold designer picks, tactical boots for outdoor adventuring and casual options for adding edge to everyday outfits. Because they’re made for harsh conditions on the battlefield, great military boots can tackle rain, snow and cold better than any civilian footwear, ensuring a more comfortable winter.
What Are the Best Military Boots?
If you’re in need of some go-anywhere winter shoes, military boots are a good place to start. Below are some of the best military boots to buy online, including both combat and tactical boots.
1. Dr. Martens 1460
The combat boot that started it all, Dr. Martens 1460, is still one of the best picks out there. Boasting a clean, timeless look and a premium leather construction, the boots come out of the box stiff and mold to your foot with use. The simple design makes the boots easy to wear, but signature yellow stitching and an “Air Wair” heel tab indicate the famous brand. They’ll last for years — if not decades — which is great because you can wear them with plenty of outfits from black jeans and a white tee to slim chinos and an Oxford shirt on date night.
2. Common Projects Combat Derby Leather Boots
Army boots can be pulled together, as proven by these Common Projects Combat Derbys. With polished black leather, layered rubber lug soles and the low-key Common Projects logo on the heel, the boots are smart enough for an office but retain a healthy dose of military-inspired edge. Thanks to Italian-made quality, they’ll hold up to daily wear too. We recommend pairing them with dark jeans and a minimal overcoat on the weekends, or a straight-fit suit for dressy dinners and meetings.
3. Under Armour Tac Loadout Boots
As an AR670-1 compliant boot, these Under Armour Tac Loadouts are built for real use in the army. But they also make a great pick for civilian wilderness expeditions, be it hiking or rucking. With a lightweight synthetic build and a comfortable, ankle-high fit, the boots deliver more flexibility than your average hiking boot. A wide, studded Vibram sole lends grip on any terrain for rock-scrambling or scaling a muddy incline. As with many Under Armour products, breathability is given special attention in the form of perforations in the uppers.
4. Nike SFB Field 2 Tactical Boot
Another great tactical boot is the Nike SFB Field 2. Built for performance in harsh weather, the boots feature a full-grain leather exterior and internal GORE-TEX for waterproofing, as well as Thinsulate insulation for breathable warmth. They also boast a foam midsole for cushioning, a TPU heel counter to help with carrying heavy loads and outsole grips for rough terrain and rope climbing. If you’re doing any kind of intense backpacking, rucking or survival adventuring, these are a worthy companion.
5. Sorel Ankeny II Rubber-Trimmed Leather Boots
These Sorel Ankeny boots exist somewhere between hiking boots and military footwear. Although they’re stylish enough to wear in the city, the boots can handle serious weather thanks to a waterproof OutDry membrane, rubber trimming and a grippy sole. However you wear them, removable EVA insoles should keep your feet comfortably supported. For urban wear, we suggest teaming the Ankenys with crisp jeans, a throwback jacket and a neutral crewneck sweater.
6. Celine Homme Ranger Leather Boots
Another pair of upscale army boots are these Rangers from Celine Homme. Showcasing a balance of urban chic and ruggedness, the Italian-made boots feature a hefty lug sole, leather linings and a high-quality cowhide leather upper. A lace-up front with buckle straps, meanwhile, adds a throwback military touch. For best effect, wear these with dressy outfits: crisp black jeans, a button-up and a trench coat, or a plaid suit, for example.
7. Brunello Cucinelli Lace-Up Boot
If you want a pair of boots for wintertime weekend errands, dressy dinners and everything in-between, check out these Bunello Cucinellis. The Italian brand opts for a suede calfskin upper, beefy lug soles and a moc-stitched apron toe. Overall, they do a great job of looking sophisticated without being stuffy. That means you can wear them with beat-up jeans and a T-shirt or slacks and a sweater — all while getting a splash of military style.