26.2 miles over incredibly difficult terrain. Deep sand. Loose rocks. Elevation changes. Heat. Wind gusts. Sandstorms. Even if you choose to march the shorter 14.2 mile route, you’ll still encounter a rough and varied landscape and potentially unfriendly weather.
As soldiers start prepping for next month’s event, they inevitably ask us, “What are the best boots for the Bataan Death March?” Here’s our list of the top fourteen best boots for the march, along with why we think they belong on your feet.
Top 13 Best Boots for Bataan
We consider these the best boots for the Bataan march (in alphabetical order) because of their traction over desert terrain, their lightweight materials, and their ability to keep feet cool and dry. Everyone has their favorites, but if you’re considering a new pair of boots, take a look at one of these. We bolded the AR670-1 compliant offerings.
A word of advice: We don’t recommend breaking in your new boots during the march. Order them a few weeks ahead and wear them every day to get your feet and legs used to them. Even the boots with fast break-in periods still might take some getting used to.
- Belleville 390DES in Tan: The 390DES is popular because of its athletic feel, almost like a running shoe. It’s also available in women’s sizes.
- Danner Tanicus in Tan or Coyote: Super breathable, the Tanicus has a mesh lining that wicks moisture away from your feet. Also available for women.
- Garmont T8 Bifida in Tan or Coyote: Looking for fast break-in? Try the T8. It has Vibram’s “Bifida” sole, perfect for hiking desert and mountainous terrain, and the ball bearings in the lacing system add flexibility and movement to every step.
- Garmont T8 NFS in Tan or Coyote: Built on the same platform as the Bifida, the NFS (stands for Need for Speed) offers more of a running shoe feel with a lighter sole.
- Nike SFB Field in Tan or Coyote: This boot from Nike is an updated version of the original SFB, with some requested revisions like a more comfortable lacing system, a puncture shield in the sole, better traction through revised tread, and overall lighter materials.
- Reebok Dauntless in Tan or Coyote: Reebok’s newest addition to the lightweight boot category, the Dauntless is made from ballistic nylon and features a midsole bruise plate.
- Rocky C4 Trainer: This is Rocky’s lightest boot, with ultra lightweight, breathable, man-made materials for uppers.
- Rocky C5C: The newest tactical boot from Rocky, the C5C has unique “self cleaning” treads that prevent rocks and dirt from weighing you down.
- Rocky RLW in Tan or Coyote: If you liked the C5C, you’ll love the RLW. At only 18oz per boot, the new RLW is in the “ultra lightweight” category.
- Rocky S2V in Tan or Coyote: A popular choice for soldiers, the S2V has a tread pattern that wraps all the way around the sides of the boot, helping to prevent ankle rolling.
- Tactical Research Flyweight in Tan or Coyote: An ultralightweight boot, the Flyweight is made from microsuede and nylon, and purposely left unlined for the hottest marches.
- Tactical Research MiniMil in Coyote: It doesn’t get any more minimalist than this. The 5mm heel drop is as close to barefoot as you can get while still offering protection from rocks and debris.
- Tactical Research Transition in Tan or Coyote: New to the minimalist boot? Try this one first. The 8mm drop will get you used to being close to the ground.
Of course, you can’t wear regular old athletic socks with desert boots. They’re too thick, too short, hold moisture, and don’t offer the cushioning you need. Grab yourself a pair of tactical socks for the march.
Do you have a favorite boot you wore on a previous Bataan Death March? Tell our readers about it below!