How Should Tactical Boots Fit? | Get A Custom Fit [2024]

Written By Sunny

I don’t think I need to wax lyrical about tactical boots, but one thing I can tell you is; how exactly they should fit.

After having meaningful discussions with military personnel (both present and ex) and doing my own research and testing, I’ve come up with this informative post that will allow you to have your answer.

I’d say, go through each line properly (so you don’t miss any useful information) and I can assure you by the end of this article you’ll know how exactly tactical boots should fit.


So, without further ado let’s delve in.

How Should Tactical Boots Fit?| Answered

Tactical boots are the hot cake of the boot family if you consider the current scenario. And, why wouldn’t they be? They’re super versatile, offer comfort, style, and most importantly safety.

But, what good is a pair of tactical boots if they don’t fit you right? But no worries, I’m here for that!

If you want to get the best fit in a pair of tactical boots, then you’ve to consider five important aspects. And, they are; toe, heel, width, length, and weight. If you get these factors right then you’ll have a custom fit. 

Let’s start with the toe first, the thing is it’s the same with all the other types of footwear. There should be enough wiggle room at the toe box so your toes do not feel cramped inside a box or something.

If you want to know; how much gap there should be between the tip of your longest toe and the end toe box, then the answer is 1-1.5 inches (at max).

Now comes the heel. After the toe, it’s the most important aspect to consider. Because trust me, heel slippage is one of the worst experiences you could ever come across. But, that doesn’t mean your heels should be glued to that area of the boots.

Also read, what are Tactical Research Boots.

A little bit of movement is alright. So, when you first wear your tactical boots you can expect a heel slippage of a quarter of an inch or ⅜ inches anything more or less is not recommended.

Once your tactical boots are properly broken-in, then the slippage is reduced or comes to an adjustable position. So yeah, you can expect a bit of heel slippage in the beginning.

As for the width, your boots should have enough space for the ball of the feet. How do you ensure that? You should be able to wiggle your feet and your feet should feel flexible.

You can say what should be the degree of flexibility or wiggling? The answer is; the level of your convenience as the preference may vary from person to person.

What about the length, you ask? It’s really simple actually, your tactical boots should not be too long or too small. You’ll get a feeling of strict confinement if the boots are too small.

On the other hand, you’ll get a great degree of internal slippage if your boots are too long. If you keep the fit of the toe and heel right, you should be just fine. If you have wide or narrow feet then it’s a good idea to call the people you’re going to buy from, and ask for their assistance.

Check out our separate post: Tactical Boots VS Work Boots Are Tactical Boots Good Work Boots.


And last but not the least, it’s the weight of the boots. You may ask what does the weight has to do with the fit? Don’t worry, you’ll find out.

When you’re going to buy tactical boots, you need to know the purpose first. For example, you’ll need lightweight boots when you’re into light hiking, military training. 

You’ll need the heavier ones when you’re into advanced-level hiking or carrying a heavy load as they provide better stability.  Each type has its own fit and it varies from brand to brand.

The fit of tactical boots varies from one manufacturer to the other. Therefore, before you come to a purchasing decision see their size chart, go through the users’ review and descriptions. In short, do your research first.

Also read, Are 5.11 Tactical Boots Any Good.

Key Points To Remember To Get The Best Fit In Tactical Boots

I’ve already mentioned the exact way to get the best fit possible in a pair of tactical boots. Now I’m gonna tell you some important tips that will help you to get the job done even better.

Here are the key points you should remember to get the best fit in tactical boots:  

  • There’s a widespread belief that tactical boots fit true to size. But, it’s not true. It varies as I mentioned earlier. Therefore, always check the size chart of the manufacturer you’re buying from. 
  • If you have wide feet consider going a half-a size up and vice versa if you have narrow feet. You should read the customer’s review too. 
  • The instep position is often undermined but it’s an important part of the footwear so tie the laces snuggly around that area.
  • To get better comfort and higher flexibility, tie your tactical boots snuggly around the instep, a bit loose at the top of the foot, and ensure a snug fit at the ankles.
  • If you’re blessed with high arches or flat feet go for tactical boots with good arch support.
  • None of us have both feet equal, so while you’re doing the trials wear both boots. This way you’ll get a better understanding of the type of fit you need.
  • When you put on your new boots for trial in the store, take a walk inside the store to see if there’s any inconveniences.
  • Do the trials wearing socks as you’ll be wearing your tactical boots with socks anyway, it also gives you a better idea of the fit you need. If you’re one of those people who wear their kicks barefooted then you can skip this option.
  • Always check if the company (you’re buying from) has a good return policy.

Also related to this guide Are Tactical Boots Good For Snow.

When Should You Buy Your Tactical Boots And Why?

Now, this is one crucial factor buyers tend to ignore when purchasing a new pair of boots, and as a reason, they suffer later on. I’ve noted it down so that you don’t have to face any inconveniences later on.

Your feet generally swell throughout the day and it’s in the evening or afternoon when the swelling hits its peak. Therefore, it’s always recommended you buy tactical or any other footwear during this time as your foot is in its largest-ever size possible.

If you buy your tactical boots in the morning you may find them tight or highly uncomfortable during the afternoon or evening.


Once you’ve bought your kicks in the evening, make sure to check if they fit properly, the following morning.

Related content you should read What Tactical Boots Do Navy SEALs Wear.

How To Break In Your Tactical Boots?

Ah, this is one aspect of every type of boots or shoes you’ve to go through. Some fit right out of the box, but that’s a different story. Most boots need a break-in and your tactics are no exception.

If the ones you got feel ready to go right out of the box, then kudos. But, if you need to break in your boots then follow these steps.

Here are the steps to break into tactical boots:

  • As the first step, put on your new tactical boots and walk around your house for 3-5 minutes. Don’t forget to put on a pair of socks.
  • Gradually increase the time until you feel your boots are ready to hit the road. It may take 3-4 days or even a week.
  • If you find any blister prone area, you can use moleskin to those areas to avoid blisters or anything similar.

Pro Tip: Don’t rush it, take your time for a better result. Patience is the key to success in this method.


This method is a quicker method and is for tactical boots that don’t have a glossy appearance. It’s for the boots that have more of a matt appearance and mainly have leather uppers. Keep in mind, this method will shrink your boots once dry but eventually they’ll take the shape of your foot.

Here are the steps to break-in leather tactical boots:

  • Fill a bathtub with water.
  • Place the boots in the water-filled bathtub and soak them completely.
  • Now take out your tactical boots out of the tub.
  • Put on two pairs of socks.
  • Now put on your wet tactical boots and wear them throughout the day. 
  • Now, take out the insoles (if any) and let them dry.
  • Put out your boots to dry. Avoid placing them directly under the sun.
  • Once they’ve completely dried, wear them with two pairs of socks. You may feel cramped during the first couple of attempts. But, eventually you’ll get there.

Pro Tip: Take off your wet boots every one or two hours or when you feel like it. When your feet are completely dry, put on your boots with two pairs of different socks. It’s a whole day process but takes only one day.

Follow our guide on How Much Taller Do Tactical Boots Make You.

What Are The Negative Impacts Of  Wrong-Fitted Tactical Boots

Now this is something which I think you should really be aware of. Many have bought tactical boots of the highest caliber but have suffered as they were of the wrong size. I don’t want you to suffer a similar fate. Hence, I’ve written down the drawbacks of wrongly fitted boots.

Here are the impacts of wrong-fitted boots:

  • Internal slippage
  • Improper balance, which may lead to an ankle twist
  • Blisters
  • Cramped feeling
  • Corns
  • Calluses
  • Abrasions
  • Discomfort

Do Tactical Boots Run Big?

A big No, tactical boots do not run big. They come with almost 90% fitting accuracy, there are bound to be some exceptions. You’ll get a snug fit both at the heel and the toe. As for the rest of the factors, you’ll have to adjust them depending on the type of your foot.

I mean it’s good news isn’t it? There’s a very bad chance of going anything wrong (regarding the size) if you order them online. But, if you do your research properly then there should be no issues.

You may feel like there’s plenty of room at the toe area but that’s mainly due to the lining to protect that area. It’s not really an issue. Going to the store and buying your boots or any footwear is always the best option.

If you go to the store for purchasing, you can sort all the issues right there and then. I always recommend going to the store to my readers. It has no better alternative.

Parting Thoughts

I’ve given it my all out on how tactical boots should fit and the things related. You just need to get it right in the heel, toe, width, length and weight department. The heel and the toe are the two most important aspects.

Don’t hesitate to let me know if I’ve missed anything important. All you have to do is drop your information down in the comment box below. Also, don’t hesitate to ask further questions. It’s a wrap for today. Take care.

About The Author
Sunny is all about action and activities. He finds it difficult to contain himself. Be it motorcycling, playing football, or exploring the great outdoors, he loves to keep his legs busy.Sunny quickly realized the importance of footwear to keep himself going healthily. This was when he decided to share all his knowledge and expertise regarding different footwear and their significance.Now, he’s on a mission with this humble platform by his side. With time he plans on doing bigger and better things.Apart from his writing and other hobbies, he loves spending time with his cat Sophie. He loves to cook for his friends and family too.

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