Looking for the best EMS boots around? Or the best boots for firefighters at the station or police on patrol? Check out our selection of boots that stand up to your tough job!
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Best Boots for First Responders: What We Looked For
First responders have unique needs when it comes to boots, and our criteria for the best EMS boots, best police boots, and best firefighter (station) boots include:
- Tall (6”-8”)
- Waterproof (noted if not waterproof)
- Protective toe
- Good traction
5.11 Tactical A.T.A.C. 2.0 8” Shield Boots (Men)
- 8” tall
- Lace-up with side zip
- ASTM/CSA CARBON-TAC toe
Considered some of the best EMS boots and patrol boots around, these are long-lasting, durable, comfortable, and built to very high standards (they are ASTM 2413-17 M I/75 C/75 EH PR certified & CSA Z195-14 Certified). They’re made with waterproof, breathable, and bloodborne-pathogen-resistant materials, and the outsole is slip- and oil-resistant. They shield your feet with a CARBON-TAC toe and a puncture-resistant midsole board for protection. A side zipper makes for easy on and off, and the shock absorption technology and a cushioned footbed add comfort. Comes in men’s sizes.
HAIX Airpower XR2 (Men & Women)
- 8” tall
- Lace-up with back and middle zip
- Composite toe with TPU exterior toe cap
The HAIX Airpower XR2 is a certified EMS boot and is another favorite among firefighters and law enforcement officers. It’s waterproof and puncture-proof, with an EH-rated slip-resistant sole that doesn’t melt on hot surfaces or degrade upon contact with chemicals. The unique design features laces along the side and a zip up the middle and up the back so you can tie the laces just once to your desired tightness and slip them on and off with ease afterward. Not just great for EMS, these are some of the best boots for firefighters and law enforcement officers, too. Comes in men’s and women’s sizes.
Under Armour Men’s UA Micro G® Valsetz (Men & Women)
- 6” tall
- TPU toe cap
- NOT waterproof
Under Armour is best known for its high-performance athletic shoes, but some of its boots are favorites among first responders who put a high priority on comfort. These low-rise tactical boots feature Micro G® midsole cushioning to provide comfort for hours on your feet. Made with lightweight material that’s durable and breathable with an oil- and slip-resistant rubber lug outsole for enhanced traction. Comes in men’s and women’s sizes.
Merrell Moab 2 Mid-Tactical Waterproof Boot (Men)
- 6″ tall
- Rubber toe cap
Merrell makes excellent hiking shoes that are supportive, comfortable, and durable. These tactical boots have key features that first responders look for in a boot, like waterproof outer material, a breathable lining, and a grippy sole. The lightweight design is easy to wear, too. Worth noting: the toe is not a composite toe or steel toe but comes with a rubber toe cap that offers a degree of protection. Comes in men’s sizes.
Wolverine Carlsbad Waterproof 6” Steel-Toe Work Boot (Men)
- 6” tall
- Steel toe
Featuring a true steel toe and a steel shank, these heavy-duty Wolverine work boots offer great protection for the most unpredictable situations first responders may find themselves in. They’re made with a waterproof full-grain leather upper, a breathable mesh lining, and a rubber log outsole for traction. Comes in men’s sizes.
HYTEST Apex Waterproof Puncture Resistant Composite Toe 6” Work Boot (Unisex)
- 6” tall
- Composite toe
These unisex work boots from HYTEST, known for its safety footwear, are waterproof, breathable, oil- and slip-resistant, and puncture-resistant. They’re also surprisingly lightweight and comfortable for a work boot, with an EVA cushioned midsole and footbed, something customers rave about. Comes in men’s and women’s sizes.
Do EMS boots have to be steel-toe?
It depends on your employer and the dress code at your workplace. Some first responders are required to wear steel-toe boots, while others are encouraged to wear footwear with a protective toe – steel, composite, or otherwise.
Do you need waterproof boots for EMS?
Yes, EMS boots should be waterproof, because emergency medical professionals are required to work in all kinds of weather and locations and will likely encounter wet and rainy situations. The best EMS boots are resistant to bloodborne pathogens, too, making them an excellent choice for first responders.
How tall should EMS boots be?
Many EMS boots are 6” or 8” tall, offering support and protection to the ankle area. However, the dress code at your workplace may not require boots, and protective shoes may be acceptable.
Erin Danly is a freelance writer whose work focuses on marketing content and verbal branding for B2B and B2C clients. Before turning to writing, she was a pastry chef and a psychology lab manager at Columbia University. Erin lives with her family in Mt. Pleasant, SC.