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8 Lightweight Military Boots 2020 – Buyer’s Guide & Reviews

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Tactical boots and some other tactical gear have become the go-to option for hikers and bikers these days. What started as a uniform shoe for Soldiers and police officers, is now gaining attraction in a wide range of professions.

Mining engineers and other site engineers are seen wearing tactical shoes more often now. That’s is how caterpillar got into shoemaking. They were initially making machines for transportation, hydro projects, and tunnel mining but then felt the need to make shoes for their engineers, then for their workers, and eventually became a world-renowned shoemaker brand.

Similarly, we see Wildlife photographers and their crew wearing tactical shoes. Therefore, tactical shoes have become a must-have for every individual who has to participate in any outdoor activity either for leisure or for professions.

Tactical shoes have garnered a reputation of being uncomfortable for the feet, heavy and expensive. They are often blamed for causing blisters and agonizing pain in the feet. However, your favorite military boots can be lightweight, inexpensive, comfortable, good-looking, and durable at the same time.

Here is a list of top 8 boots that you may want to choose on your next purchase.

Top 8 Lightweight Military Boots Review

Under Armour - Quick Dry

Under Armor is a brand for the sportsmen and the athletes, their tactical shoes have the innate flexibility to allow running in hard and rough terrain.

These shoes are not only flexible but also very easy to break-in. Besides their short break-in period and flexibility, their most impressive feature is their anti-odor feature that prevents the smelly feet or smelly sock that we fear after a long day of wearing footwear.

Stellar Military image

Oh! Did I forget mentioning that despite being 100% leather and textile, these boots are water-resistant and quick-dry. That means if you ever get them wet, neither will the moisture go inside the boot, nor will it take hours or days to dry. They’ll keep your feet from getting wet, dry quickly, and prevent bad smell from developing while looking amazing.



  • Flexible

  • Easy to Break In

  • Anti-Odor

  • Water Resistant

  • Quick Drying

  • Lacks Insulation

Smith & Wesson - Slip-resistant

Since these shoes are made from leather and nylon, doubting their durability is completely out of the question. People have used them for over three years and claimed that they were not showing any signs of deterioration.

However, aside from being so durable, the interesting thing about them is their functionality. One might assume that such durability often comes at the cost of functionality, but these footwear have proved that wrong. They are lightweight and built with amazing attention to detail.

Smith & Wesson Tactical Boots image

Yet, they provide full protection to your feet as they have a gusseted tongue in place that keeps the dirt away and protect your feet as you walk or run. Their EVA midsole is very good at absorbing all shocks as you walk or run, keeping the feet away from fatigue and discomfort despite being worn for several hours.

Smith and Wesson are known for manufacturing Firearms and ammunitions, and therefore their shoes have an innate liking for soldiers and police officers. These shoes were manufactured, especially for American soldiers fighting in Vietnam. Since then, they have gained popularity in all spheres.

They cost less than most of the boots out there and are worth the money. These shoes also have a slip-resistant, non-marking rubber outsole. That makes them great for doing things such as climbing ladders, traversing over rocky terrain, and not slipping on wet pavement.

Their YKK side zipper makes wearing them and taking them off much easier. These shoes come in two colors, black and coyote, and two sizes, 6-inch and 9-inch.


  • Durable

  • Functional

  • Safety Protection

  • Affordable

  • Slip-resistant


  • Stitching is Not Structural

Garmont - Durable

You rarely see a tough-looking and durable footwear that is super-comfortable to wear too, well Garmont has been able to do just that with their T8BIFIDA boots.

The upper part of the shoes is made of split-grain leather and heavy-duty DD gird material, proving they were made for the soldiers.

A lot of positive reviews by Army men regarding these boots, especially appreciating their durability and the comfort they provide.

They have a backward-sweeping design that, unlike most other tactical shoes, prevents feet from blisters. To provide support to your ankles, arches, and shins, they come with a snug fit roller bearing. Moreover, adding an extra sole, especially the Vibram Bifida, will allow better traction and comfort during multi-terrain skirmishes.

Garmont T8 Bifida Tactical Boot image

Its tapered nylon woven footboard guarantees excellent stability and shock absorption. Below it is a nylon footbed that further prevents stress caused by heavy steps, in the ankles, and up to the knees. Garmont claims that they’ve incorporated their shoes with their innovative heel retention technology that doesn’t let unstable landscapes impact your body.

Garmont’s shoes have been authorized by the U.S Army and USAF for OCP uniforms.


  • Stylish

  • Comfortable

  • Heavy-duty

  • Ankle Support

  • Shock Absorption


  • Friction Points

5.11 - Antibacterial

The 5.11 ATAC has made a huge reputation for itself among the Military as well as the hikers. These shoes are lightweight, comfortable, and durable, but they have another quality that makes them stand out, and that is water resistance.

Made from suede leather and nylon, the ATAC outstands all moisture, even bloodborne pathogens, due to its anti-bacterial Dri-lex lining.

Moreover, the shoes are equipped with 5.11’s special made sole, known as the Vibram Nuansi 2, that further increase water-resistance of the shoes, allowing us to hike through wetlands and algae-covered rocks safely.

5.11 Storm Boots image

The second most impressive feature of the ATAC is its comfort. The Ortholite X-25 footbed and nylon loops minimize pressure on the feet. The toe cap has an additional layer of rubber that protects toes from colliding with hard surfaces.

Like most other hiking boots, the ATAC is not easy to break-in, too, but they are worth the initial and temporary discomfort. They keep your feet warm in extreme cold and are breathable during the summer. Despite having no side zipper or speed-lacing system, they are easy to wear, given the pull-tabs on the cuff and the tongue.


  • Comfortable

  • Durable

  • Water Resistant

  • Antibacterial


  • Difficult to Break-in

Free Soldier - Breathable

The Free Soldier Men’s boot is one of the most-lightweight boots to the point that most people admit sleeping with them on. Their light and breathable nylon fabric make them permeable and weightless, at approximately 2 lb each.

The same breathable nylon fabric that allows ventilation, also aids in drainage of moisture, keeping the feet cool and dry.

FREE SOLDIER Desert Boots image

However, the manufacturer hasn’t compromised on durability for the ultralight design. Their 1.6-1.8mm abrasion-resistant Suede Leather reinforced with Ripstop 1000D Nylon makes them highly protective and durable.

They provide excellent support and protection to the ankles, whereas the EVA midsole provides good cushioning, anti-collision toe, and a shock-absorbing heel. The rubber outsole is slip-resisting, wear-resisting. Therefore, leaving no doubts about the protection as well as comfort.

Although they are not AR-670-1 compliant, they’ve been recommended by bikers, backpackers, climbers, mountaineers, hikers, and site engineers.


  • Durable

  • Good Cushioning

  • Shock-Absorption

  • Anti-Collision Toe


  • Not AR-670-1 Compliant

Danner - Removable Insole 

These boots are another lightweight tactical boot on our list that has many other features too. Starting with comfort and protection, these boots provide the right amount of support to keep your feet healthy and pain-free regardless of the wild terrains you are exploring. 

The open cell-cell polyurethane made footbed makes sure it absorbs all the shock and protect your feet while you walk or run. A removable foam insert is added to provide extra comfort for your tendons and muscles. 

Danner Coyote Military Boot image

A patch of nylon fabric is added on both sides of the boot to keep the shoe lightweight, breathable and quick-dry. The shaft will provide the necessary protection, fast movement, and, therefore, enhanced performance. The foam inserts, the nylon fabric, the shaft, and the footbed are also preventing you from the fatigue and discomfort that you normally have after wearing other tactical boots.

Now talking about the outer material of the shoe, the quick-dry material and three lacing systems are easily noticeable and very effective. Even though the outsole is slip-resistant, the manufacturer made sure it remains lightweight.


  • Comfortable

  • Support

  • Shock Absorption

  • Quick-drying

  • Slip Resistant


  • No Top Padding


Since we are compiling a list of lightweight tactical boots, we are coming up with boots that are not very popular and are mostly missing from other lists of boots. WWOODTOMLINSON’s LD lightweight combat boot is another often forgotten, but they are very lightweight, comfortable, and inexpensive.

Their microfiber makes them super breathable for hot weather. Although they are very lightweight, they don’t compromise on their durability and protection. The fabric is strong and provides much better traction on rugged terrain.

WWOODTOMLINSON Combat Boots image

They can be worn all day without making you feel fatigued and painful. Their Rubber Outsole provides protection, stability & extra grip. They come in two colors; black and Tan.


  • Comfortable

  • Affordable

  • Breathable

  • Durable


  • Visible Glue Lines

Bates - Abrasion Resistant

Now, anyone who has gone through our list of lightest shoes must be wondering why have the bates not been mentioned yet. Well, here they are. We know that Bates has made shoes for every category of tactical boots.

However, the only reason why we decided to put them, in the end, is because they are expensive. Besides being expensive, they have everything you need in a tactical shoes.

They are made from 80% Wolverine Warrior Leather and 20% Nylon, which is mostly used for the shaft and a small patch on the sides for ventilation. These footwear are Oil resistant, stain-resistant, and abrasion-resistant. They are probably the lightest shoes that money can buy.

Bates Tactical Boot image

They protect the feet very well and allow great movement during rough terrain and military excursions. Their athletic construction not only makes them elegant looking but also keeps the feet comfortable even when worn for several hours.

The EVA foam is removable, provides cushioning and amazing shock absorption. The only problem that some people have felt using them is that they take some time to break-in. We highly recommend these only if you can afford them.


  • Oil and Stain Resistant

  • Good Ventilation

  • Abrasion Resistant

  • Shock Absorption


  • Expensive

Lightweight Tactical Boots Buying Guide

Now that we have given you our list of 8 lightweight tactical boots, you might have a hard time deciding which one of these should you choose. We agree about choosing the right shoe for yourself might not be as easy as going through a list. You might want all features in a boot, or maybe, you’re interested in one feature and as much about the rest.

Maybe, you don’t want to buy shoes that break your wallet, but you’re afraid the cheap boot will break much sooner. It’s better to research before deciding with your hard-earned money rather than buying something and regretting it later. Therefore, we’ve come up with a guide on what things to consider before making the final purchase.

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Quality Materials

Now, as we all know, the quality of the raw materials is what makes the product. Similarly, pure leather and nylon are the most used raw materials to make tactical boots.

Pure leather is expensive, but it's worth it because of its durability, elegance, and soft touch. Synthetic leather is cheap, but its neither durable nor is it as shiny as the pure leather. So, if you’re buying cheap shoes, remember to check the quality of the leather. If it's pure, then it's expensive, but it will be worth it if you can afford it.

Leather is supported by Nylon in almost every boot because leather alone will make the boot heavier and will not leave room for ventilation and breathability.

Nylon will make your shoes lightweight and breathable.

Other things you should look out for are:

  1. Zippers
  2. Glue
  3. Stitching
  4. Lacing

Insole cushioning

So, have you ever felt that tactical shoes would hurt your feet, or maybe you’ve heard someone complain about how these boots can cause blisters? Well, its probably because of insole cushioning as these are responsible for supporting your arch and keeping your muscles and tendons in great condition.

These are usually made from EVA or polyurethane. EVA is very lightweight and provides great cushioning. Polyurethane is very durable but will cost more. It's up to you to decide what to choose and what to compromise on. However, the latest boots have come up with either mixture of these two or other materials such that they provide great cushioning, are lightweight, durable, and don’t cost that much either.

It is better to choose removable insoles so that you can change them when you feel like. Make sure to pay attention to insoles because bad ones can make you fatigued and painful if you wear them for several hours.

Ventilation and Breathability

Ventilation and breathability are probably the most overlook features of tactical boots, but they shouldn’t be overlooked. Any shoe that is not breathable and has no system for ventilation will cause sweet in the feet and skin infection, especially if you are wearing them for several hours on end.

A good way to identify breathability is looking for Nylon or another sort of fabric. In some shoes, microfibers are used, which can be great unless they don’t tear easily.

Ease of Wearing

We all dread wearing and taking off our shoes, but recent tactical shoes are designed to put on and off easily. Some shoes come with a speed-lacing system that is quick to put on and off, but they reduce laces’ ability to stay in place.

Zippers are another good option for easy taking on and off, but they are fixed in place and are not as adjustable as traditional laces are.

Keep in mind the adjustability of the process because you might be wearing them for several hours consistently. You don’t want them too tight or too loose.

Outsole Resistance

To make sure our footwear have good outsoles for better traction and durability, we should pay attention to their material. Good shoes should be lightweight so that they don’t tire you or weight you down. 

They should be slip-resistant so that you can run or walk on any surface, and lastly, they should be non-marking, meaning that they should be resistant to wear and tear.

Benefits of Wearing Lightweight Boots

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Now that we have explained the important features of tactical boots that you should be skeptical about, now we’ll briefly go over the benefits of why you should buy lightweight boots.

They Won’t Weigh You Down

It's very commonly known that tactical shoes are heavy and, therefore, not for everyone. Now that better technology and designs have given us the lightweight tactical shoes that we’ve been waiting for. We shouldn’t be worried about their weight anymore.

They Prevent Fatigue

Traditional combat shoes were known for causing fatigue, but now we have such lightweight shoes that we can even sleep in them.

They are Breathable

Lightweight boots are either equipped with microfibers, nylon, or other synthetic fabric that allows ventilation and is breathable.

They are Inexpensive

Some of the lightweight boots have more nylon or synthetic fabric that is cheaper than leather, and therefore they cost less than heavy tactical boots.

Foot Health

Traditional combat boots are known for causing blisters and skin infections, but modern lightweight boots have space for ventilation and breathability. Therefore, keeping the feet in good health.


Style is another feature that lightweight boots have come up with. With changing trends and fashion, tactical boots are being worn more and more in the cities due to their style.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are lightweight combat boots good for running?

Yes, on our list, we have mentioned several boots that have been reviewed as positive for running. Such as the Bates Ultra-Lite, Smith and Wesson’s breach 2.0, and many others. Go through the list and see which ones.

Are waterproof army boots lightweight?

Yes, our list contains many lightweight waterproof boots. Must go through the description to know which ones.

Is it needed to wear a light tactical boot for rucking?

No, not necessarily. You can choose to wear heavy boots while you weight your back, but if you prefer to wear lightweight tactical boots, we’ve provided you with the list.


Now that we’ve given you the list of the best lightweight boots, the guide on lightweight boots, and reasons of why you should be buying lightweight boots, now it time you pull the trigger.

However, keep in mind there is no one fit for all. You cannot wear the same shoes for snowy winter as you were wearing in rugged plains or deserts. Cities might require lightweight shoes, but the durability might not be your major concern. Or you might be in the Army or Navy and can’t afford to compromise on durability.

Whatever you do, keep in mind there is always a tactical boot that will match your needs. So, don’t give up on these good looking and wonderful shoes and get at least one in your wardrobe as soon as possible.

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