From finding lightweight tactical boots to remaining AF 36-2903 compliant, there are so many things those serving in the United States Air Force must consider when selecting the right footwear. To make things easier, we’ve compiled a short guide to help you navigate finding the right Air Force Boots, no matter the mission.
Air Force Boot Buying Guide
As with the Army’s OCP uniform requirements, Air Force members must adhere to coyote brown boots. Outside of color, there are other features to consider when finding the right Air Force boots. We’ll break down how to size your boots, some important features to consider, and call out a few boots that have made the top of our list (all of which conform to Air Force Uniform Regulations).
Size and fit can vary greatly by brand and style. Ill-fitting boots can easily cause foot issues over the long term. It’s important to go into the selection process knowing your exact shoe size. Use a Brannock device, if you can.
For most manufacturers, you’ll want to allow a little wiggle room for your toes. Feet will naturally swell over the course of the day—especially if you’re spending many hours on them. A good rule of thumb is to push your feet to the front of your boot and measure the space from heel to shoe. Roughly, you’ll want the width of a finger and you should be able to curl your toes.
You should also make sure that your heel stays in place while you move about. Your boot should feel snug, not tight. Depending on boot style, the lacing system should allow you to make minor adjustments to overall fit.
Don’t overlook your socks, either. Find a pair of boot socks that are thicker than your typical athletic sock and made of moisture wicking material.
You may also want to reference our ‘Tactical Boot Socks Review’ if you’re looking to purchase a new pair of socks with your Air Force Boots.
Finally, your boots will need some time to break in. When you’re buying boots made of this type of heavy-duty material, bending and flexing will help them fit and feel better over the long haul.
Soft Toe vs. Safety Toe Boots
Soft toe boots are much lighter in weight than most other styles of military boots. While they do provide protection from chemicals and harmful microbes, as well as keep you stable in wet environments, they will not necessarily protect you from heavy impact.
On the other hand, safety toe boots provide more protection for your feet, maintaining a layer of protection from heavy impact and compression. What’s easy to overlook is the additional space the toe box will take up in the front of the shoe. When considering this type of boot, remember to account for the toe box when sizing your boots.
Air Force OCP boots with side zips are an option and remain AFI 36-2903 compliant in coyote brown. The real benefit for military boots with a side zip is that they are much easier to get in and out of, allowing for efficiency in the field. Danner’s Tanicus Side Zips and the Reebok Rapid Response military boots are good examples of OCP Air Force boots.
The Tanicus Side Zip features a composite toe, extra cushioning in the midsole and a moisture-wicking liner. The Rapid Response boots sport similar features, along with a F2A polyurethane cushion insert for added comfort.
Nike Air Force Boots
The SFB Jungle boots are a lightweight, yet extremely dynamic military boot and made to keep you comfortable in wet conditions. The shoe is constructed from full-grain leather and nylon canvas, with midsole ports for maximum water drainage. To reduce punctures, the boots feature an internal Kevlar layer. To keep you stable in less-than-ideal environments, the boots have a Pebax plate on the bottom to ensure stability. This is the perfect boot for wet environments.
The SFB Gen 2 provides stability, comfort and is built to withstand any rough terrain. Inspired by Nike Free Technology, it’s a boot that is designed to maximize comfort without sacrificing performance. Along with a breathable canvas and synthetic leather exterior, the Gen 2’s also features Nike’s internal Rock Shield to prevent punctures. The boots also feature a reinforced toe and heel strike zone. This boot was designed to be a lightweight boot that can withstand a ton of punishment.
With so many boots on the market, it can be difficult to find the Air Force boots that are best for you. Don’t let improperly fitting boots get in the way of your ability to be mission ready. Check out our selection of authorized boots, we are sure we’ve got what you need.