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Should Tactical Boots be Waterproof? Pros, Cons and Top 3 Picks

If you live in wet areas year-round, having a pair of waterproof footwear is vital.

But if you live in a place where abundant sunlight is all around in every corner, waterproofing is still the most important feature when considering buying a pair of work boots.

Since tactical boots have become the ultimate choice for many people, the need to find a pair of waterproof boots can be overwhelming.

Because this feature doesn’t seem to be really reliable from time to time, even if the ad looks so believable.

Technically, what makes tactical boots waterproof is a combination of water resistance, water repellency, and waterproof lining.

And this means that these features must be fully effective inside and out to keep your feet from getting wet even when submerged in 3 inches of water.

But the fact is, your footwear may not always be as water-less as you wish them to be.

Even if the boots are provided with absolutely waterproof construction and details.

For example, the waterproof coating will wear out after some heavy rain. So, you will need to re-coat it again to satisfy your expectations.

Now, let’s take a deeper look at what parts of tactical boots make your feet 100% waterless below.

Are tactical boots waterproof?

Yes, many tactical boots are waterproof, but not all of them.

Some tactical boots are water-resistant while others are completely incapable of preventing water.

Depending on the type of tactical boots, for example, wet weather tactical boots such as jungle tactical boots are often waterproof.

Tactical boots have suitable types for many different terrains and environments.

You will be hard-pressed to find desert tactical boots that are waterproof.

Usually, waterproof tactical boots have a different boot outer, lining, eyelet holes, and boot upper (tongue) construction compared to the non-waterproof tactical boots.

We’ll highlight the features below!

The boot outer

The first thing that comes to mind when talking about waterproof tactical boots is the outer.

The leather or outer covering materials account for 80% of the footwear area, so it can be said that this is the most important place to protect the inside of the boot and the foot.

Tactical boots are usually made from genuine leather, synthetic leather, or fabrics.

Genuine leather materials provide a medium level of natural waterproofness and are somewhat prone to water penetration after long periods of use, creating visible watermarks.

If they are not covered with a water-resistant outer layer, your feet are sure to get damp one day.

In this regard, synthetic leather seems to prevail when manufactured industrially and applied more effective water-resistant technologies than real leather.

Some high-quality imitation leather materials also have the same softness and durability as real leather along with better water resistance.

They’re also cheaper, so this might be a better option.

Fabrics are the worst material when it comes to waterproofness. These are easy to absorb water and water-based liquids if no waterproof coat is provided.

Waterproof coat

To make sure your tactical boots can effectively resist water from outside, a waterproof coat is indispensable.

Any material will be gradually soaked in water during exposure and resistant to many environmental factors and working environment.

If you are a fisherman or a car washer who decides to wear tactical boots as work boots, the waterproof coating on the boot surface is the only thing that can keep the wearer’s feet dry at all times.

However, even when this coating is provided right out of the box, it can wear out and fade with time and use.

So if you work in a wet or damp environment most of the time, you will want to re-coat every few months to ensure the best water resistance.

Another way to prevent water in an emergency is to apply leather oils such as mink oil or neatsfoot oils on the boot surface.

These active ingredients will provide temporary water resistance but will not last long.

Waterproof construction

This matter refers to how tactical boots are made that maximize the effectiveness of waterproofness.

Obviously tactical boots were not born as one seamless unit from start to finish. They are manufactured by stitching different sections and attaching them to the sole.

So, between the sections, there will be little microscopic gaps but enough for water to creep between those spaces and then seep into the boots.

To avoid this, some tactical boots are held together with waterproof glue instead of being sewn, which is called seam-sealed construction.

In addition, some boots are also sewn with waterproof threads to prevent water from getting inside through these fabric pieces of stuff and causing moisture.

Waterproof construction is not fixed according to any formula. It can be emphasized to some extent, depending on the different tactical boot brands and certain models.

Besides, most tactical boots have a rubber outsole that is designed to pull higher than usual.

This feature helps better prevent water from seeping into the boots through the outsole and around the edges of this part.

Waterproof membrane/lining

The waterproof lining is one of the most expensive advantages when you are looking to buy a pair of quality tactical boots.

It is extremely appreciated because they are the last and most important shield to prevent water from seeping into the wearer’s feet all the way.

It can be said, the waterproof lining is the thing that sets your waterproof boots apart from water-resistant or water repellent footwear.

Guess you have once heard about the Gore-Tex membrane when shopping for a pair of tactical boots.

This layer is placed between the entire leather and the boot’s lining. Technically, the material has 9 billion pores on every inch.

Each pore is just 1/2000 the size of a water drop, therefore, water or water-based liquids cannot go through this barrier while water vapor or sweat can easily get out.

That way, your boots can possess both waterproofness and breathability at the same time.

Since porous leather is barely water resistant naturally, Gore-Tex membrane makes the best and the most effective option for waterproofness from the inside out.

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Eyelet holes

Eyelet holes are a feature that allows water to flow inside in the most reasonable way.

Because any pair of tactical boots need a lace system and eyelet holes are indispensable.

When you walk in the rain for a while, raindrops will flow from top to bottom or splash from the outside into the boots.

Water will soak up most of the shoelaces or seep through the eyelet holes and go inside. You also cannot use the Gore-Tex membrane against this.

To overcome this, many brands have replaced eyelet holes with metal wire hooks to minimize the holes between the inside and the outside.

That way, these hooks just rest on the outside of the leather instead of connecting the inside and out. The chances that water creeps inside are somewhat eliminated.

Along with the lacing system, the boot tongue also matters. It is better to include a thick tongue underneath which is well waterproof.

These will significantly increase the overall effect of water resistance in rainy weather or when stepping on a large puddle.

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The boot upper

The boot upper is also an important part that contributes to the waterproof effect of the boot structure. Most tactical boots today use nylon material for the upper part for 2 reasons.

One is to reduce the weight of the boots instead of using heavy genuine leather.

The second reason is to help prevent this part from being watered from the outside since nylon is 100% water-resistant.

Besides, stitching nylon material will also moderate the microscopic gaps when connecting boot parts rather than when stitching leather. For that reason, the chances that water can get inside is restricted.

Tactical boots are often made from really thick nylon (800D to 1000D or more). Therefore, they are really durable, strong and well waterproof.

Should tactical boots be waterproof?

Yes, this feature is all good for your feet and your footwear longevity.

But if it doesn’t seem to be much necessary for your use, it is okay not to have it in your boots.

Proper waterproof tactical boots are also more pricey than ordinary boots but they tend to last longer and are more like snow, mud, and oil resistance.

Pros and cons of waterproof tactical boots

I guess you can at least choose for yourself a reason why you like a pair of waterproof boots.

None of us like a wet foot when we come home from the rain, or even from walking through a small puddle on the road.

Here we will state some points of why and why not you should have a pair of waterproof tactical boots and how they are used.


More protection over damages to boots

Most wet tactical boots will lead to long-term damage to the internal components. Water can oxidize or abrade any materials or fabrics.

Water sloughs off synthetic leather’s coating, shortening the life of the leather and reducing the boot’s aesthetics and protection.

This liquid can abrade the boot stitches, eventually leading to thread breakage, requiring re-stitching again.

Water also causes the layer of glue to peel off at the sole or between layers making every part of the boots

Tactical boots are often lined with a lot of padding and a lot more layers of different materials inside than usual shoes to increase the ability to support the foot for intense activities.

Therefore, heavily wet tactical boots are also difficult to dry back to normal and will be easily damaged in the long run.

Damaged tactical boots will lead to poor functioning when you have to do a lot of tactical operations on rough terrains.

You may don’t want to face the risk of slipping while being precarious in the middle of a cliff by torn boots.

That is why you need a pair of good waterproof tactical boots.

Keep feet dry and comfy

It is obvious that none of us like to be soaked in wet feet at all. When the feet get damp, it directly affects our comfort. As a result, bad moods will be triggered.

We don’t want all of those who often wear tactical boots every day to have a bad mood.

Because most of them have to do a lot of physical activity to earn hard money, instead of just going out for fun.

Some are security guards, some are policemen, some of them are technical engineers. Working in a bad mood will reduce your work efficiency.

In addition, wet feet also directly link to several health problems, especially in sub-zero temperatures.

Waterproof tactical boots tend to be snow-proof to keep feet warm and healthy in the cold weather.

Cold feet in winter can cause slow circulation of arteries, poor circulation of blood from the brain to the legs and other parts.

Limbs easily become numb and gradually cause bone and joint diseases.

Stay away from blisters

Water makes leather and fabrics stiffer and less subtle and increases friction when rubbing against different surfaces.

This leads to blistering when the foot is rubbed inside wet footwear. This is bad if you are a cop and are in the process of catching criminals.

Your feet can’t function well in wet tactical boots no matter how modern and greatly functional they are, especially when climbing walls or running fast.

Given these features, most people should wear waterproof tactical boots, especially those who work or operate around watery surfaces or humid environments such as fishers, fish and game wanders, technical engineers, car washers, hikers, policies or safeguards.

For military soldiers or hunters, waterproof is even the first criterion when they choose their tactical boots.

Because of the job requirements, they may often have to wear the boots for days or weeks without being able to change.

Therefore, a pair of good waterproof tactical boots will keep their feet comfortable while also functioning well.

Suitable for many types of terrain, environment, condition

Tactical boots are used for different terrain, mostly forest, mountain or plain. There will be sudden rains, large puddles and wet grass.

So, in fact, waterproof tactical boots will be suitable for more different terrains.

This is an important highlight of waterproof tactical boots compared to non-waterproof boots.


Lack breathability

One of the problems of waterproof tactical boots is the lack of ventilation.

Although the Gore-Tex membrane is capable of retaining the exchange of air and moisture between the inside and outside, the waterproof coating on the outside is likely to completely close this ventilation, to prevent water from seeping into the boots.

So we recommend using waterproof boots in autumn or cold or very cold seasons because your feet will sweat less during this time.

Also, if jobs like fishing, fish or game wardens, or technical engineers who work around the water surfaces require you to wear waterproof tactical boots to effectively resist water, then a pair of breathable, moisture-wicking socks will be a great aid.

Quite expensive sometimes

Fully waterproof tactical boots are usually more expensive than regular footwear.

But they are more durable, last longer, and help you more in many emergencies.

Certainly, the life of waterproof tactical boots will be relatively longer than usual, no matter what conditions you operate in (as long as the boots don’t tear).

After all, it is all worth every penny.

Why should you need tactical boots and why not?

Overall, this feature is greatly appreciated and is suitable for most users.

But if ventilation and price are big issues for you when you often work indoors more than outside, then you can choose a pair of regular tactical boots.

If you are going to do the work of hunters, fishers, fish and game wardens or any outdoorsmen, then waterproof tactical boots are still the best long-term investment.

As a hiker, I will not use waterproof tactical boots on the desert terrain.

But if it is jungle or mountain, I will choose waterproof tactical boots.

So, my advice is you should choose tactical boots that are suitable for your purpose (where, when, what you use tactical boots for).

Top 3 handpicked waterproof tactical boots

We have gathered around these 3 best waterproof tactical boots that have received a large number of top-rated reviews worldwide.

Many said they even exceeded their expectations.

Let’s check them out below:

Maelstrom Men’s TAC FORCE 8 Inch Waterproof Military Tactical Boots

One of the best waterproof tactical boots at a very affordable price is these Maelstrom Men’s TAC FORCE 8 Inch waterproof boots.

They truly amazed you about their waterproof capability.

Some said the boots could provide waterproofness when soaking in water up to 3-4 inches. After that, the boots are still in good condition and functioning well.

You may somewhat feel the water seeping through the zippers and possibly causing dampness inside.

Not a big deal, there is a gusset that acts as a barrier to stop water from getting in.

Click image for more info on Amazon

You don’t have to worry about getting cold and wet feet when stepping on a large puddle, wet grass or creeks anymore.

The answer is yes, you are safe, dry, and comfy. This is due to the nylon upper and breathable & waterproof membrane lining included in the small bootie construction.

Those features can guarantee your feet water-less from inside out to some extent.

However, if you have worn these boots for a long period of time, we recommend coating them with mink oil or waterproof spray to give better water repellency.

Besides, the boots require a very short break-in period, sometimes no break-in in hot conditions.

They have a super water-resistant, non-slip, and especially slip-resistant rubber outsole that works well on snow, oil, and rocky terrains.

You can stand or walk on this footwear for up to 12 hours without much foot fatigue and pains.

They hold up pretty well and fit very comfortably around the ankles.


  • Decent black full-grain leather with waterproof nylon upper
  • Waterproof membrane lining for better breathability and waterproof
  • Small bootie construction for water repellency
  • Padded tongue and collar for extra comfort
  • YKK side zipper provided
  • Non-slip, water-and-oil resistant rubber outsole on all terrains
  • Good values for the money


  • Moderate durability

Under Armour Men’s Stellar Tac Waterproof Military and Tactical Boot

If you are often working around wet or damp areas/surfaces, you must own these Under Armour Men Stellar Tac Tactical Boots.

They are great overall regarding waterproofness.

Many have reviewed that these boots can excellently survive when stepping on large puddles or staying under moderate creeks for a specific period of time.

After that, the boots remain in good condition. So your feet are kept dry and comfy all the way.

The boots are provided with reliable waterproof boot lining that creates a functional shield to prevent water from seeping inside.

Meanwhile, quick-dry construction allows the wearers to experience ventilation as well as good waterproofness at the same time.

Click image for more info on Amazon

However, keep in mind that the boots are only capable of waterproofness to some points.

If you soak them in deep and full water, they can’t resist water as much as you wish.

Besides, the boots have great water resistance overall. We suggest spraying a waterproof coat on the surface every 3-4 months of frequent use.

That way, your boots can last longer and keep waterproof ability well at all times.

Super traction rubber outsole in special tread patterns allows you to conquer many types of rocky, slippery, or inclined terrains.

The boots are amazingly lightweight and highly supportive of the arch due to the TPU shank.


  • Quality leather and 900D nylon upper for lightweight
  • Breathable and waterproof lining
  • Super grippy and non-slip rubber outsole
  • Available in black color
  • TPU shank for ankle support
  • Minimal quick-dry construction for better ventilation


  • Moderate durability

Bates Men’s 8 Inch Strike Side Zip Waterproof Tactical Boot

Bates has never disappointed you with these Bates Men 8 Inch Strike tactical boots regarding waterproofness.

These boots possess a special waterproof construction with waterproof membrane & gusset, water-resistant coating, and seam-sealed construction.

As a result, your feet are surely away from the wetness as long as the water does not go over the boot height.

The special waterproof lining is the key to eliminate water to seep inside.

Click image for more info on Amazon

Multi-direction rubber outsole is promised to be water-resistant and non-slip on all kinds of terrains.

However, it does not mean that they can stand under the water for too long. They will still get soaked and your feet will start to feel moist for sure.

But it is guaranteed to walk through moderate-to-heavy rain without having damp feet.

After a few months of heavy-abused use, you should re-coat the waterproof layer on the outer to enhance the water-resistant feature.

Besides, the boots hold up pretty well and fit comfortably straight out of the box with padded collars. They look durable and thick but are suitable for hot conditions.


  • Quality water-resistant leather and nylon upper
  • Special waterproof and the breathable membrane lining
  • The side zipper is provided
  • Anti-fatigue system for foot and ankle support
  • Multi-directional non-slip rubber outsole


  • Moderate durability

Wrapping it up

If finding a pair of waterproof tactical boots is a must for you, you need to consider some important elements to check out whether your boots are highly qualified or not.

In all cases, we suggest picking up footwear with an excellent waterproof feature.

Even if you don’t work around the water surface, you don’t know when you will catch heavy rain on the way back home and soak your feet in unpleasant wetness.

Waterproof tactical boots always work well to all extent and last longer than usual boots.

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