Boots are a critical part of any patrol officers equipment. Something that was drilled into my head in Army OCS was take care of your platoons feet. On road marches we as platoon leaders were expected to make sure our platoon had the appropriate supplies (socks, mole skin, foot powder, band aids ect) to take care of their feet before the march. Hence the pre march equipment inspection. In addition we were expected to stop at the appropriate intervals to allow them care for their feet. The phrase that sticks with me is “A soldier that can’t walk on his feet cannot fight for you”.
Because everyone has different shapes and sizes of feet it’s impossible to suggest one boot that fits all people. I have worn, Bates (lots and lots of these), Bellville (lots of these too), Converse (only one pair that fell apart in a few months) Magnum, a nifty pair of Beretta boots and several different 5.11 tactical boots. The Bates boots are built to last and I still have some from the army as backups and they shine nice and last very well but they are heavy.
Because fit and comfort is a personal thing I will stick with performance, and that is just my opinion. Hands down my favorite pair of boots were the 5.11 XPRT. They are by far the most stable based on their talon system that keeps your ankle stable in nearly all conditions. This probably sounds strange but stability wise it feels like when you step onto any surface your foot is 12 inches wide because it feels so solidly planted. No of course in reality your foot is only a few inches wide but these boots make each step very very stable. I am prone to rolling my ankle and this was never, not even once an issue. Running after suspects, jumping fences and running over unfamiliar unstable territory is no problem in these boots. What I didn’t like was no zipper side and they are 8” tall. Also the sole wore out in a year. But to be fair I work in the Phoenix metro area and the asphalt can get rather hot when its 115 degrees out and I can’t think of one time ever no matter how bloody a crime scene or slippery a collision scene was that I lost grip. So in order to keep that kind of grip I suppose the rubber compound needs to be pretty soft. Much much lighter than the bates and much better traction in all conditions. The XPRT is in my opinion the maximum performance boot. But everything in life is a compromise. It would be nice if our patrol cars had 900 horsepower and 3 g turning like formula one cars, but you can’t fit suspects or a patrol rifle in a formula one car.
My next favorite boots were the 5.11 tactical 6” Haste. I love these because the 6” sides make driving so much more comfortable. As you know we spend hours driving patrol cars. Hands down these boots are the most comfortable for driving. They are very light and running after suspects they feel more like running shoes than most boots. They are not quite as stable as the XPRT and don’t last as long as the Bates, but in my opinion, these offer the best compromise in performance and economy. I will buy another pair of these, unless they make a 6” XPRT, hint hint.