For women, buying tactical boots can be a headache and a half, especially if the boots you’re looking at are only available in men’s sizes. The fact is, men and women have different feet! Typically, men have lower arches and a wider and bigger heel than women do. Women generally have higher arches, along with a more narrow heel and wider forefront of the foot (wider ball).
The proportions of the calves, ankles, and feet are also different and can have an effect when it comes to women wearing men’s footwear. Here are some things to keep in mind to get the best fit from boots that only come in male sizes.
Male to Female Boots – Sizing
First thing first are sizes. Typically, the difference from female to male is approximately 1.5 to 2 sizes. So if you normally wear a women’s 9, you’d start by looking at men’s sizes 7 or 7.5. However, you also need to see if the boots typically run true to size. Many boots may run a half to a whole size larger or smaller. You can usually find this information by reading reviews online or talking to fellow service members who wear the boots.
In general, women who take a wide in female boots should start at 1.5 sizes down in male boots. However, you should actually measure both feet to be as accurate as possible. Many shoe stores have foot measuring tools, and if you’re buying online, there are several apps available to help you out.
Male to Female Boots – Foot Shape
If you are one of those women who have high arches, you should remove the low arch insert and replace it with an insert that is properly fitted to your foot. Maybe even consider having the insert cut to fit or even buying custom insoles. Unsupported arches will eventually collapse, leading to a very painful condition called Plantar Fasciitis. The thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes gets inflamed, and you’ll experience severe pain in the heel area with every step.
In addition to arch support, you’ll want to look for boots that have deep heel cups, well-cushioned soles, and a stiffer midsole with added support like a steel shank.
- Some other things to check that will affect fit:
- If you have wider calves, you’ll want to look for boots that have Achilles notches. These notches will help alleviate any rubbing on your ankles and lower calves.
- Make sure they fit properly in the heel area. Too loose or too tight heels can cause too much movement and create blisters.
- Make sure they fit properly in the toe box. Too loose, and they’ll feel floppy and cause clumsiness (not to mention blisters). Too tight, and you will experience bunions, corns, and ingrown toenails.
Women’s Tactical Boots
Fortunately there are brands that make tactical boots specifically for women, taking into account female anatomy and specialized fitting needs. Some of the brands I’ve found with female boots are Danner, Belleville, Merrell, Reebok, Corcoran, 5.11 Tactical, and Bates. These boots will have a deeper heel cup, better arch support, and most come in half sizes with multiple widths available.
Bonus Tips – Trying on Boots
There are four things you should always be sure to do when trying on new boots.
- Wear your favorite boot socks
- Try them on in the afternoon or evening, because your feet swell throughout the day
- Lace them exactly how you will when wearing them
- Don’t buy boots that are slightly snug, expecting them to stretch out over time. They won’t – and you’ll end up with sore feet and toes, not to mention wasted money
It can be frustrating finding well-fitting women’s boots, and when you have to shop in the men’s department, it can add several more layers of aggravation. Hopefully these tips help you out on your quest for your new pair of female tactical boots!
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.