The last thing any soldier wants to feel during combat or training is the signature plantar fasciitis stabbing pain in the heel. A good, comfortable tactical boot gives you enough support to stand for long hours without experiencing a plantar fasciitis flareup. The good news is most tactical boots provide more than enough support to help curtail plantar fasciitis pain before it starts, though, there are better brands than others. In this guide, we share the best tactical boots for plantar fasciitis and reviews of each boot.
How common is plantar fasciitis in soldiers?
According to the Boot Camp & Military Fitness Institute, the US military recognizes plantar fasciitis as a common injury among soldiers. Over the years, it’s been referred to by a long list of names, including “heel spurs,” “Policemen’s Heel,” and the more technical “Calcaneal Periostisis,” to name a few.
In today’s world, the military is taking the condition more seriously since the pain can negatively impact soldier posture and ability to perform. The condition gets its name from the plantar fascia, which is the connective tissue in the foot that binds the heel bone to the toes.
For this reason, plantar fasciitis pain usually starts in the heel as a stabbing pain, but it’s also known to radiate to the arch and ankle. PF sufferers often experience pain when they first stand up in the morning, after standing for long hours, after walking long distances, and at night when they go to bed.
When choosing the best military boots for plantar fasciitis, it’s important to look for:
- Medium arch support
- Ample cushioning in the heel, e.g. a heel cup
- Supportive EVA soles
- Gel cushioning
- Shock absorption
- Energy return
- Supportive shanks
- Removable orthotic inserts
- Support that helps to prevent overpronation
Below, we share an overview of our Top 5 boots before moving onto the detailed reviews of each boot. After the reviews, we share a good orthotic insert you may want to consider adding to your boot for additional support.
Top 5 Tactical Boots for Plantar Fasciitis
|#1) Danner Men’s Acadia 8″ Boot||
|#2) Bates Men’s 8″ Ultralite Tactical Sport Side Zip||
|#3) Reebok Men’s Rapid Response RB 8″ Stealth Boot with Side Zipper||
|#4) Rocky S2V 8″ Tactical Military Boot||
|#5) Merrell Moab 2 8″ Tactical Waterproof Boot||
Reviews of the Best Tactical Boots for Plantar Fasciitis
Now that you’ve checked out an overview of the five boots, we’re sure you already have a good idea of which boot(s) suits you the best. We made sure to include only the most comfortable tactical boots from each price category. You’ll also find waterproof tactical boots and boots with side zippers for easy entry.
Two of the most common features to look for in good tactical boots for plantar fasciitis are premium lightweight Vibram outsoles and heel cushioning. Vibram soles are well-known for being lightweight, super durable, and excellent at absorbing shock.
Below, we share reviews of each of the boots along with the most critical pros & cons to consider before you buy a boot. In the pros & cons sections, we blend our thoughts with important points made by current owners.
#1) Danner Men’s Acadia 8″ Boot
The most premium & comfortable tactical boot in our guide is the USA-made Danner Acadia. The unmatched blend of performance, comfort, style, and support this boot delivers is impressive, to say the least. Danner’s Acadia boot starts with the company’s signature stitch-down construction to ensure the boots can be resoled and the weather-resistant elements do their job without sacrificing flexibility throughout the boot.
Comfort elements that make this boot one of the best for PF sufferers are the stock Airthotic footbed and Vibram Kletterlift outsole for the highest level of shock absorption. The Klettelift outsole is built for excellent traction on both wet & dry surfaces while minimizing the lug depth for urban environments. Additionally, it features Vibram’s special TC4T compound to further enhance the already durable outsole.
Currently, the Acadia boot comes in a wide variety of styles, ranging from EH Certified to 400G Thinsulate Ultra. Danner is so confident in its Acadia boot that it backs it with a 365-day warranty against defects in craftsmanship. Lastly, be sure to consider that the standard width Acadia boot fits a narrow foot, and there are wide sizes available. Danner recommends sizing down a half size to receive the right length for your foot.
- Positive reports after 10+ years of use on a single boot
- Danner offers an excellent resoling service
- Made in the USA
- Superb traction in snowy weather
- Short break-in period
- Recommended by owners with narrow feet and plantar fasciitis
- The durability of the Vibram soles is impressive, showing little wear after a year of steady use
- The soles are very quiet, near-silent movements
- You may want to add your own insert for additional cushioning
- Minimal arch support
- The standard width may feel too narrow
#2) Bates Men’s 8″ Ultralite Tactical Sport Side Zip
The most affordable tactical boot in our guide is the Bates 8″ Ultralite boot with side zips. Of all the tactical boots we reviewed in this price range, the Bates Ultralite is the most comfortable and best suited for folks with plantar fasciitis. Two of the key elements that make this boot a good choice are the cushioned EVA midsole and a stock cushioned removable insert.
Depending on how you feel about the insert, it may be all you need to prevent PF pain. However, what’s nice is if you do choose to purchase your own orthotic insert, you’ll still be paying significantly less than you would for most of the other boots in our guide. Another comfort feature that’s good for PF sufferers is the side zipper to avoid having to slide your foot down into the boot, especially when you’re experiencing heel pain.
A couple of final highlights of the Ultralite boot are the non-metallic construction that makes it undetectable in electronic security areas and the slip-resistant outsole that passed the industry-accepted SATRA WTM 144 test for slip resistance. All in all, this is an excellent boot for the money, just keep in mind that it’s not waterproof.
- The side zipper makes putting on the boot and taking it off a breeze
- Very supportive, especially good ankle support
- You may like the stock insert in this shoe better than pricey inserts
- Lightweight construction
- Ample room to add your own orthotic insert
- Comfortable for all-day wear
- Recommended by motorcyclists
- Good tread with reliable traction on all wet surfaces
- Approved by big guys
- Not waterproof
- You might desire more arch support than the boot offers
- More durability issues reported than other boots in the guide
#3) Reebok Men’s Rapid Response RB 8″ Stealth Boot with Side Zipper
One brand you may not have considered while shopping for the most comfortable tactical boots is Reebok. We’re big fans of this boot, particularly for PF sufferers mainly because of the Shock Eliminator Heel Cushion and Foot Force F2A Removable Polyurethane Cushion Footbed. For guys who want ample cushioning in the heel out of the box, the Rapid Response boot delivers, and there’s a good chance you won’t need to use an orthotic insert.
Another advantage of this boot is the thick 1.5″ sole at the heel with an EVA midsole. Expect great shock absorption and all-day comfort from this boot with ample support throughout the footbed. Additional special features in the Rapid Response boot are the extra-wide toe box and YKK side zipper for easy on/off.
The wide toe box is good for men with wide flat feet who need more space to avoid pinching. Lastly, this boot provides electrical hazard protection, a protective composite toe, and it’s airport-friendly. For the money, the Rapid Response is packed with features often found in significantly more expensive boots.
- Meets ASTM F2413 safety standards
- The gel pad in the Foot Force insole absorbs heel strike impact
- Approved by men with big feet and calves
- The heel cushioning helps to prevent PF heel pain
- All-day comfort of 10+ hours on the feet
- Very reasonably priced
- Lightweight and comfortable construction
- Excellent toe protection provided by the composite material
- A reliable zipper that holds up well
- They stay cool in warm weather
- Uncomfortable according to some men
- A couple of complaints about fabric digging into the ankle
- They might be too bulky for your taste
#4) Rocky S2V 8″ Tactical Military Boot
If you’re looking for a uniform compliant and Berry Compliant (100% made in the USA) tactical boot that’s built for all-day comfort, the Rocky S2V should be at or near the top of your list. This boot is chock-full of comfort touches, along with features to help stabilize your foot and protect it in even the harshest environments.
The S2V starts with tough, lightweight 1,000 Denier CORDURA & water-resistant leather uppers before working its way down to the premium high-walled Vibram outsole that’s stitched directly to the upper. The main feature in the S2V boot that makes it good for plantar fasciitis is the Rocky Air-Port cushion footbed.
With the Rocky-Airport footbed, you get a heel cup right out of the box that absorbs shock before it reaches your heel while also helping to support your foot. Additionally, the Rocky-Airport offers more arch support than you’ll find in most other tactical boots and even metatarsal ridge support. All things considered, this boot gives you the best chance of skipping a separate orthotic insert purchase.
- More arch support than the other boots in our guide
- A standard heel cup for added cushioning and shock absorption
- Anti-Odor Protection
- Uniform Compliant (DA Pam 670-1 Date 1 JUL 15)
- Made in the USA
- Lycra tongue for a snugger, more secure fit
- As comfortable as wearing sneakers
- Reliable ankle support
- Holds up to long hikes
- Not the best choice for industrial applications
- May not hold up as long as you’d imagine for the money
- Heavier than other choices in our guide
#5) Merrell Moab 2 8″ Tactical Waterproof Boot
When it comes to constructing a comfortable hiking boot, it’s tough to beat Merrell. The Moab 2 is currently one of the top hiking shoes for plantar fasciitis, and we’re happy to see that Merrell now offers a tactical version of its flagship model. The one thing you’ll undoubtedly love about this boot is that it’s jampacked with comfort features. Merrell literally threw everything but the kitchen sink into this shoe.
Several of the features that make this boot ideal for PF are a molded nylon arch shank for arch support, the KINETIC FIT blended EVA contoured footbed that provides added heel support, Merrell air cushioning in the heel, a molded TPU heel for stability, and the Vibram TC5+ outsole with 5mm lug depth. This boot is built to tackle and grip even the gnarliest terrains without feeling rock poke through to your foot.
One final highlight is the Merrell M Select DRY impermeable membrane that keeps moisture out while allowing it to escape. Additional waterproof elements include the Strobel construction and waterproof PU-coated leather upper. Overall, this shoe is built for hiking over any terrain while keeping your foot secure, safe, and dry.
- Easily one of the most supportive and comfortable tactical boots on the market
- They last longer than 5.11 and Under Armour tactical boots
- Wide widths come highly recommended by men with wide feet
- The right amount of arch support
- Little to no break-in period
- Durable and smooth side zipper
- Lightweight construction
- Easy to keep clean
- Great ankle support
- Some complaints about the boot allowing water in
- You may prefer a boot with less arch support
- Some durability issues reported
When shopping for the best tactical boots for plantar fasciitis, Berry Compliant (100% made in the USA) is usually the first place to look to find the most comfortable tactical boots. Of the Berry Compliant brands, we like Danner and Rocky the most, especially for PF sufferers who need heel cushioning and maximum shock absorption.
Once you venture outside Berry Compliant brands, you’ll notice that the price drops since we all know it’s cheaper to manufacture boots outside of the US. In most cases, you get what you pay for, though when sticking with reliable brands like Merrell, Reebok, and Bates, you still get a top-notch boot.
Best Insoles for Tactical Boots
Before we wrap up the article, we want to share our top orthotic insole for tactical boots. By adding this insole to any boot, you give yourself a better chance of avoiding plantar fasciitis pain. Currently, our favorite is the SOLE Active Thick EVA Footbed for both men and women: