12 Best EMS Boots in 2017

As Emergency Medical Service personnel, most days you put yourself in harm’s way to save lives. Not only does this take years of training and dedication, but if you need to keep your patients safe, you must be safe and well outfitted, too.

Staying safe on the job always starts with buying the right boots. EMS Boots (also known as station or tactical boots) need to offer you protection from impact, puncture, slipping, and even the elements.

In our guide, we will show you a list of the best EMS boots, provide you with useful tips that will help you understand how to choose some and conclude with reviews of our five favorite boots.

Top 12 EMS Boots Comparison Chart

DesignNameGenderHeightRating (1-5)
  1. 5.11 – 12007 Women’s A.T.A.C. 8″ Boot Women’s 8 inches 4.6
  2. Smith & Wesson Breach 2.0 Men’s Tactical Side-Zip Boots Men’s 6 inches 4.5
  3. Original S.W.A.T. Men’s Classic 9-Inch Tactical Boot Men’s 9 inches 4.4
  4. Bates Women’s Ultra-Lites 8 Inches Tactical Sport Side-Zip Boot Women’s 8 inches 4.3
  5. Thorogood Men’s 8” Side Zip Jump Boot Gen-flex Men’s 8 inches 4.3
6. Under Armour Men’s Stellar Tactical Boots Men’s 8 inches 4.3
7. Under Armour Men’s Valsetz RTS Side-Zip Tactical Boots Men’s 7 inches 4.3
8. Danner Men’s Striker II EMS Uniform Boot Men’s 8 inches 4.2
  9. Maelstrom Women’s TAC FORCE 8 Inch Military Tactical Duty Work Boot Women’s 7 inches 4.1
  10. Rocky Duty Men’s Alpha Force 8″ Zipper Boot Men’s 8 inches 4.1
  11. Magnum Men’s Response II 8” Side-Zip Boot Men’s 8 inches 4.1
  12. Magnum Women’s Stealth Force 6.0 Waterproof I-Shield Boot Women’s 6 inches 4.0

Be Ready for Anything: How to Find the Perfect Station Boots

As you can probably see from our list, there are a wide range of options available, and it is your job to choose some that suit your working conditions. The hardest part about choosing the best EMS boots is that on any given day, you could be faced with any number of challenging and dangerous environments, so you need to be ready for anything.

Let’s take a look at what you should be thinking about when you find yourself looking for a new pair of tactical EMS boots.

What Kind of Toe Type Will You Choose?

Your toes are the most delicate part of your foot and therefore require an extra bit of protection from your station boot. Contrary to what some might tell you, this doesn’t automatically mean you should be looking only for steel-toed boots. Here’s an overview of the toe types you’ll find in most EMS boots.

  • Soft Toe – Depending on your work conditions, a soft-toed shoe might be enough extra protection. Usually cheaper than other toe types, a soft-toed boot does not mean a weak-toed boot. If you choose a soft toe, make sure that it is still constructed of water and puncture proof leather or synthetic material; this will protect you from moisture and be your first line of defense against blood-borne pathogens.
  • Composite Toe – Composite-toed boots are new on the scene in the EMS footwear scene. They offer similar protection to a steel-toed boot but contain no metal. They are usually made of rubbers, plastics, carbon fibers, or a combination of any of the three. No metal means a lighter weight boot, but composite toes can cost more than their steel counterparts.
  • Steel Toe – An EMS boot with a steel toe tends to be hailed as the “epitome” of protection. The low cost and durable nature of steel mean that you will probably find steel-toed boots a more plentiful option when shopping for your own. However, the trade-off for protection comes in the form of weight and lack of insulation from the cold.

How Much Support Is Needed for Your Most Difficult Work Environments? – We recommend at least a 6-inch boot height for those in the Emergency Medical field. Even in urban environments, the risk of rolling your ankles can be high while maneuvering patients and at places with a lot of debris like car accidents. A boot that goes above the ankle will help you feel sure-footed.

If you work in forest or mountainous environments (like wilderness rescue) where logs, rocks, and other obstacles are faced on a daily basis, we suggest going for an 8 or 9-inch boot. The added height will give you that much more support in case of twisting your ankle on a rocky hill or wedging it between falling logs.

What Other Protection Is Needed? – As an Emergency Medical professional, you may need to be compliant with certain standards from your city and state. Make sure you are well versed in those standards, whatever they may be.

The most common regulations come from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). OSHA recommends that protective footwear should be held to the standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) guidelines.

The best EMS boots will suit the specific demands of your emergency medical occupation and the conditions under which you perform your duties. As long as you keep your needs in mind, you can’t go wrong!

Top 5 Best EMS Boots Reviews

1. 5.11 A.T.A.C. Station Boot

The number one EMS boot on our list is the women’s A.T.A.C. boot by 5.11. A combination of leather and textiles, the A.T.A.C. has everything you need to stay safe out in the field. What else do these boots have to offer?

  • Snug and Secure – First, these boots are equipped with sausage laces, which help them stay tied up through the most rigorous shifts; this combined with side-zip functionality means that once you put these on, they’ll stay secure.
  • Ankle Support – At 8 inches from the arch, the A.T.A.C. EMS boot offers extra ankle support that low-cut boots can’t These are great boots for people who work in uneven work environments.
  • Moisture Resistant – The liner of these A.T.A.C. station boots not only wicks away moisture from sweat and weather, but it’s also resistant to bacteria build up which can help with foot odor.

5.11’s A.T.A.C. Station Boot is our number one recommendation for women who need a little extra ankle support but love a lightweight, durable boot.

2. Smith & Wesson Breach 2.0 Station Boot

Smith & Wesson is known for their quality craftsmanship and practical, subtle design. That attention to detail shines through in their Breach 2.0 tactical EMS boot. Here’s why we love the highest-rated men’s boots on our list!

  • Durable Construction – The nylon portions of the Breach 2.0 provide a flexible, breathable feel while the leather gives you water, puncture, and all-around impact resistance.
  • Slip-Resistance – The rugged rubber outsole of these tactical boots was engineered to give you excellent grip on slick surfaces. In addition to the rubber, the unique traction pattern grabs ladders and anything else you may encounter on a daily basis.
  • Steel Shank-Equipped – A shank is a piece of material that protects and supports the arch and middle part of your foot. We usually recommend any EMS boots with shanks due to the added support.

Because of the added protection of the steel shank and their unique tread pattern, we recommend these Breach 2.0 EMS boots to any professional who wants a shorter boot for working in urban areas.

3. Original S.W.A.T. Tactical Boot

When you think S.W.A.T., you probably think about busted down doors and taking down bad guys, but S.W.A.T. Originals tactical boots also have all the characteristics needed for helping patients out in the field. Here’s why we recommend these classic-looking station boots:

  • Ankle Support – At 9 inches, these S.W.A.T. Originals are our highest boots on the list. 9 inches is usually tall enough to provide maximum ankle support, even in wilderness environments.
  • Full-grain leather – Not all leather is created equal. These EMS boots are equipped with nylon in combination with full-grain leather to offer you maximum protection. Full-grain leather is not sanded so it maintains most of its durability.
  • EVA Midsole – The Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate midsole on the Original tactical boot offers above-average resistance to stress and impact for the long hours we know you have to work!

Not only does the S.W.A.T. Original EMS boot look simple and professional, but they also provide a high-performance experience that can get the job done in many different environments.

4. Bates Ultra-Lite Side-Zip EMS Boot

This side-zip women’s boot by Bates is yet another 8-inch boot on our list. We love boots of this height because they offer enough support without being too cumbersome. However, the Bates Ultra-Lite has a lot of other things to offer:

  • Removable Insert – For people who spend all day on their feet, especially EMS professionals, more than likely you will eventually find aftermarket inserts that go with you from boot to boot. The removable insert on these EMS boots allows you to replace it with one of your own or just add a couple of more years to your boots’ life by getting a stock replacement!
  • Easy-To-Clean – The leather and synthetic nylon construction of these boots makes them a breeze to clean, which you will appreciate after a long, busy shift. It never takes long!
  • Breathable Lining – With safety being a number one concern in EMS boot manufacturers, comfort can often be over-looked. Bates offers an ultra-comfy, breathable liner in their Ultra-lite Tactical Boots.

We can recommend these boots to those of you looking for a light, comfortable boot with just enough support and plenty of protection!

5. Thorogood Gen-Flex Tactical Boot

These boots stand out feature is its polished toecap, which gives it a very clean, professional look. However, looks are far from the most important thing to consider when purchasing EMS boots. What else does the Thorogood Gen-Flex Boot offer?

  • 9-inch shaft – For those of you who like a nice, tall boot, the Gen-Flex (at almost 9 inches) is for you.
  • Removable Insert – While removable, you probably won’t want to take out this EVA insole because it is so comfortable.
  • Side Zip – It’s hard to find something as secure and comfortable as a good side-zip boot. It makes them easy to put on and take off, and you can feel secure walking around all day.

The Thorogood Gen-Flex Tactical Boot is a great option for those of you looking for a strong, high-support EMS boot.