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Are Tactical Boots Breathable? Benefits and Drawbacks

You’d agree that one of the major features sought out by many boot lovers is breathability. Why? For a long time, this feature has helped police and armed forces officers feel comfortable at the feet, even on a hot day.

Even though tactical boots were initially for the police, armed forces, and a few other professions, many people now wear them due to different reasons.

For instance, police officers need breathable tactical boots for long shifts, patrol, and for every other activity. Likewise, marines, infantry, and other law enforcement officials who are on duty in hot environments or tough terrains like the jungle or desert need breathable tactical boots too.

Since breathable tactical boots are necessary for these reasons, do they exist? Or are tactical boots even breathable at all?

If you are one of those unsure police officers or special force agents looking for the answer to tactical boots and breathability, this article is for you.

Here, we will answer all your questions about why (or why not) tactical boots are breathable. More than that, we will talk about when and where to use breathable tactical boots and the benefits of using them.

Let’s get started.

Are Tactical Boots Breathable?

Yes, tactical boots are breathable. However, not all of them are. Breathable tactical boots are somewhat of a necessity due to their benefits and the kinds of work that people use them for.

First, breathable tactical boots are necessary for different terrains, weather conditions, work characteristics, environmental factors, and so much more. For example, breathable tactical boots will be very beneficial during hot weather conditions, rigorous all-day work, lifting, climbing, desert hiking, etc.

Thanks to breathable tactical boots, people’s feet don’t sweat or get wet when working or during hot weather.

Second, breathable tactical boots are necessary for different kinds of work. People who are in the military, marines, law enforcement, work long shift patrols, hikers, police, and more.

They need breathable tactical boots to be able to carry out most of their activities comfortably and effectively. Therefore, manufacturers included many features in making tactical boots so that users could enjoy using them.

What are these features?

How Tactical Boots Are Breathable?

Tactical boots are breathable for the following reasons:

1. Upper material design

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Generally, tactical boots are breathable because of their upper materials. Due to their uses, we understand that manufacturers make use of strong, durable, and appropriate materials to construct tactical boots.

Besides, while using such materials, manufacturers also take breathability and proper airflow into consideration. So, of course, tactical boots have to be breathable to some degree.

The part that covers your feet and ankles, which is directly over the insole, is breathable. Manufacturers use different quality and heavy-duty materials for that part, like leather, mesh, and synthetics.

When the material is mesh or synthetic, it is usually very breathable. However, leather is not as breathable as the former. At the same time, leather types differ, so does their breathability.

For example, in the case of full-grain and split-grain, they are the least breathable leather options to go for when in need of breathability. If you need leather, the more breathable options to go for would be nubuck and suede.

Nevertheless, tactical boots are breathable, and depending on the material, you get different levels of breathability. And you can select one based on where and when you want to wear it.

2. Moisture-wicking fabric

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Tactical boots are also breathable because they have moisture-wicking lining them. As we mentioned earlier, tactical boots had to be breathable due to their usage, and manufacturers added some materials and features.

One of these features is the moisture-wicking fabric present in the boots. Why are they necessary? Of course, a covering over your feet would make them warm, and when it becomes excessive, it can cause your feet to sweat.

Coupled with you having to wear socks and have them on for strenuous activities over a period, your feet are prone to sweat. And when sweat collects in your tactical boots, it makes your feet wet, smell, and uncomfortable.

But, with the moisture-wicking fabric in tactical boots, the sweat doesn’t stay for long. Instead, the fabric or lining wicks the moisture and evaporates it outside the boots. With that and the breathable uppers, you can feel comfortable and keep your feet dry.

3. Thinner fabric

Tactical boots are also breathable thanks to the thinner fabrics producers use in making them. For example, the ankle area of tactical boots has a single fabric layer, allowing for more airflow into the boots via the area.

Since the thickness layer in that area is reduced, it makes the boots more flexible in the area.

4. Vented holes and lining

Bates Men's 5" Ultralite Tactical Sport Military Boot, Black, 12 XW US
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Some parts that make up the tactical boots also contribute to their breathability. They have features like vented holes, removable insoles, breathable lining, etc.

For example, tactical boots usually have vented holes around the boots that allow airflow into the boots. The holes replace the hot air in your boots with cool air and ensure that the temperature in your boots is stable.

You can remove the insoles in tactical boots to improve the temperature in the boots. And breathable lining ensures that there is adequate airflow within the boots.

The lining releases sweat quickly, leaving your feet dry all through the time you wear your boots.

Why Tactical Boots Are Less Breathable?

Tactical boots are breathable for obvious reasons, which we have discussed above. But, sometimes they may lack or have reduced breathability due to some reasons or features, which are:

1. The leather upper

black tactical boots with leather upper

This may seem confusing since we mentioned earlier that tactical boots are breathable because of the choice of upper materials. That is indeed true. However, this same feature can make them unbreathable at other times.

As discussed above, the upper materials differ, ranging from leather, mesh, synthetic, and others. Also, we did say that some materials are more breathable than others.

That is, the more breathable the tactical boot upper is depends on the material used. For example, full-grain leather would be less breathable than mesh or fabric tactical boots because it is less porous.

Likewise, full-grain leather is not as breathable as other leather types like split-grain, faux, nubuck, and suede leather. All the other types of leather apart from full-grain have been modified in one way or another, making them less breathable.

However, manufacturers often use leather materials rather than fabric or mesh because they are more durable. This is because of their original military use.

Since soldiers usually do strenuous activities or on rough or rugged terrain, they need tactical boots to withstand different weather conditions and elements. And since leather is somewhat more durable and can withstand different elements, manufacturers use it more.

But of course, this doesn’t mean that leather tactical boots have zero breathability. Therefore, you can still wear them and get a certain degree of breathability. However, you might want to opt for more breathable materials depending on the activities you need them for.

2. Waterproof features

waterproof tactical boots on muddy terrain

Another reason tactical boots are not breathable is because of their waterproof features. In most cases, you need footwear that is breathable and waterproof for different reasons.

Both waterproofness and breathability are different from each other. While breathability ensures that your feet get adequate airflow and wicks moisture within your feet, waterproofness prevents water or moisture from getting to your feet.

But of course, you need waterproof features because you cannot predict what can happen. For example, you may be in the field, and there will be a sudden rain shower.

Other times, you may spill water over your feet, or you could step into a water puddle. However, with the waterproof features in place, you can be sure that your feet will not be affected.

And thanks to that, your feet remain dry and feel comfortable all through. However, that comes with a price and less breathability.

Since water cannot get through into tactical boots, it would be hard for air to get in. However, the good thing is that tactical boots have a moisture-wicking lining that helps wick the sweat off your feet and socks so you can feel comfortable.

You could also look on the positive side that your feet are protected if you ever had an unexpected water situation while working.

3. Insulation

Tactical boots vary. There are winter and summer tactical boots, and from the name, you can tell which would be more breathable.

Since summer is hot, manufacturers want to make the boots breathable so that users’ feet can breathe in them. However, winter tactical boots are not breathable because they come with insulated construction to keep the feet warm during the cold.

Their features are high construction in terms of tall uppers, thick leather upper materials, waterproof and snowproof features, and their thinnest grams, which vary from 200g to 400g. Due to these factors, they are usually not breathable.

Therefore, if you want breathable boots, then you should not go for snow tactical boots.

Where And When Should You Use Breathable Tactical Boots?

Since we have established that tactical boots are breathable, you will need to know when and where breathable boots are suitable. However, as we said, there are some cases where tactical boots are not breathable due to their materials and waterproof features.

Of course, there are times when you would need waterproof tactical boots over breathable ones. But, likewise, the same is true for breathable tactical boots. Therefore, you should use them for the following activities and locations:

1. Hot weather conditions

man wears breathable tactical boots in hot weather

One of the most important times you should wear breathable tactical boots is during hot weather. Of course, this seems like the natural and most suitable thing to do.

It’s just the way it works for the clothes you wear. You wear thin and breathable clothes when the weather is scorching, and you wear thick clothes during winter.

When the weather is hot or not, we are prone to sweating, with or without clothes and shoes. However, this intensifies when we wear clothes and shoes since they cover our skin producing more warmth.

In this situation, you don’t need waterproofness unless, of course, you are working in an area covered with water. So, whether you are working, hiking, cycling, or climbing, tactical boots are your choice.

These boots will ensure that your feet get adequate airflow and your feet stay dry. Plus, it will help prevent irritable feet, which occur when you sweat.

2. Doing rigorous work

You should also wear breathable tactical boots if you are doing some rigorous work. It could be for work, running, construction, and so much more.

When you have to do this kind of work, you should go for breathable tactical boots. Why? When working, your body generates heat which is emitted in the form of sweat.

This doesn’t only apply to your body alone, but also to your feet as well. So, when you work, your feet sweat, and the last thing you want to deal with while working is messy feet.

Not only would it make you uncomfortable, but it would also cause your boots to smell and promote friction which may lead to blisters. But, with breathable tactical boots, you have a moisture-wicking lining that vaporizes the sweat and breathable uppers that allow airflow into your boots.

Plus, an almost perfect time to wear breathable tactical boots is when you have to work all day. This is not exactly work or job-specific.

Whether you are in the army or a constructor, hiker, cyclist, hunter, or in any other profession, if you intend to wear tactical boots all day for work, you should wear breathable tactical boots.

Since you will be wearing the boots all day, you need something that will make your feet breathe. Also, if you are working all day, you probably won’t have enough time to take breaks to remove your tactical boots and flex your feet.

And, of course, you want to keep dry feet all day as you work, so you need something light that would help ensure that happens

3. Outdoor activities

man uses breathable tactical boots for outdoor activities

Sometimes, people wear tactical boots for different outdoor activities, like hiking, motorcycling, hunting, camping, fishing and others, whether by choice or availability. But whichever way, tactical boots can function as an outdoor boot since they have features that make the activities safer, easier and more comfortable.

These activities require that you wear protective footwear that is breathable, supportive, waterproof, and has other features. For example, hiking covers different terrains, and breathable tactical boots will help keep your feet dry on the trail.

Combined with the traction tactical boots provide, you can prevent slipping on different terrains. The same thing applies to hunting, fishing, hunting, motorcycling and other activities.

Breathable tactical boots ensure that you are comfortable when outdoors and also help reduce the risks that you are prone to when doing these activities.

Benefits Of Breathable Tactical Boots

What’s the point of wearing breathable tactical boots? You can probably wear other tactical boots that are not breathable or not even consider breathability when choosing footwear.

However, they provide you with certain benefits you don’t want to gamble with when working in your tactical boots. You should wear breathable tactical boots because of the following reasons:

1. Keep dry feet

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When working, you need to keep and maintain dry feet as much as possible. This is because it will keep your feet healthy.

When you sweat in your tactical boots, it soaks your socks and probably your boots as well. And when the moisture cannot get out, it makes your feet wet, and eventually, you may have cold feet in your tactical boots.

As a result, there won’t be enough blood circulation to your feet, which can numb the area. You should not let this happen, as this can put you at certain risks. However, breathable boots ensure that air gets into your boots and moisture leaves your boots through a moisture-wicking lining.

2. Feel comfortable

Another thing is that breathable tactical boots help ensure that you feel good in your boots and are comfortable carrying out your work or activity. On the other hand, when tactical boots are too warm, they can make your feet sweat.

As a result, your feet may feel itchy, wet, or smelly in the boots. And itchy feet can make you uncomfortable as there would be urges to stop and scratch.

In other cases, wet feet don’t sit well with some people and can make them grumpy. However, breathable tactical boots help reduce the chances of that happening. Also, when your feet get enough airflow, you will feel good in your boots.

3. Prevent some foot conditions

man wearing breathable tactical boots to prevent foot conditions

Breathable tactical boots also help prevent some foot conditions. In addition, since they help ensure that moisture doesn’t stay inside your boots, they provide good foot health.

When your feet are wet, it increases friction which may cause blisters on your feet. Not only do blisters hurt, they also make your gait awkward.

Plus, wet feet can cause an athlete’s foot which can mess up what you are doing. In addition, fungi tend to breed in wet places, which also puts you at risk of fungal infections. However, breathable tactical boots help ensure that your feet stay dry and maintain good foot health while working.

4. They are lightweight

Another benefit of breathable tactical boots is that they tend to be lightweight. This is understandable because the materials used in making them breathable are mostly lighter than other heavier options.

For instance, the use of synthetics over leather; this reduces the weight on your feet and helps you perform better.

5. Flexible

man wears flexible breathable tactical boots

Breathable tactical boots don’t have tough materials, and for this reason, they are very flexible. They are usually softer, so they make your feet wiggle freely in your boots.

In addition, they are usually bendable and less stiff than tactical boots with leather material.

6. Easy to break in

Thanks to their soft materials like mesh and synthetic, breathable tactical boots are usually easy to break in. You don’t have to do much before the boots can stretch and fit around your feet.

Drawbacks Of Breathable Tactical Boots

Breathable tactical boots are all nice. They are flexible, lightweight, easy to break in and all of that, but they also have their weaknesses.

They are:

1. Less durable

Breathable tactical boots are usually mesh and synthetic, and for that, they are less durable than leather. They will stretch quickly, and after several uses, they will not be as tough as they should be and may not provide much support anymore.

2. Low water resistance

breathable tactical boots have low water resistance

Mesh and synthetic materials are usually very porous, which makes them very breathable. However, this also means that they would allow water, snow and debris to get into them.

Their vented holes also expose the foot to moisture, making it easy for water to get into the boots.

3. Less impact resistance

Another drawback of breathable tactical boots is that their breathability makes them less impact resistant.

After they stretch, they do not mold around your feet properly as they should anymore. As a result, you may not get the support you need anymore.

4. Not suitable for some terrains

man wearing breathable tactical boots on sandy terrain

Breathable tactical boots are not suitable for some terrain and weather conditions. For example, you cannot wear breathable tactical boots during winter because it would expose your feet to cold.

They don’t have enough padding or thick uppers that can protect your feet. Also, when in the desert or sandy terrain, sand, tiny rocks or other debris can get into your boots through the vented holes.

This also makes your feet prone to snow and water. Therefore, they are unsuitable for muddy or snowy terrains.


As you know, tactical boots are highly functional for different activities that extend beyond military usage. These days, many people wear them for different activities, like hiking, construction, hunting, motorcycling, and so much more.

Since you can use them for different activities, many people want to know whether they are breathable or not. In addition, they want to be sure of the activities breathable tactical boots are suitable for and when include their benefits; hence, the purpose of this article.

Are tactical boots breathable? As earlier stated, yes. In this article, we agreed that tactical boots are breathable based on different factors and reasons. On the other hand, they may not be as breathable as you think, thanks to some reasons as well.

Furthermore, we discussed when and where breathable tactical boots are suitable for and their benefits. So, it depends on what activities you intend to use them for.

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