A few months ago, I was deployed to the Pacific Theater after serving in Iraq. I quickly became aware that I had a bit of a problem where boots were concerned. The military does issue jungle boots, but I wanted something which was going to be a better fit for my needs than the standard issue boots they gave me.
Here is a list of the Best Jungle Combat Boots on the Market
|Image||Jungle Combat Boots||Rating|
|Bates Men's Cobra Jungle Coyote Tactical Boot||4.0 / 5.0|
|Rocky Men's S2v Jungle Boot||4.0 / 5.0|
|Under Armour Men's UA Jungle Rat Boots||4.0 / 5.0|
|Rocky Men's 8 Inch S2v Fq0000105 Work Boot||4.3 / 5.0|
|Belleville Tactical Research TR511 Transition Boot||4.1 / 5.0|
|Blackhawk Men's Warrior Wear Desert Ops Boots||4.5 / 5.0|
|Belleville One Xero 320 Desert Tan Ultra Light Assault Boot||4.5 / 5.0|
|Belleville TR900 Jungle Runner Lightweight Panama Boot||4.4 / 5.0|
|G.I. Combat Jungle Boot Green||4.0 / 5.0|
|Fox Outdoor Products Vietnam Jungle Boot||4.0 / 5.0|
But here’s the thing … if you are shopping for desert boots which are AR 670-1 compliant, you are going to have a ton of options.
But when it comes to AR 670-1 compliant jungle boots, you are going to really struggle.
In fact, even outside the realm of AR 670-1 compliant jungle boots, you are going to be hard-pressed to find something really solid.
The reason for this is reflected pretty clearly by my own military experiences. Combat has shifted largely to the Middle East over recent years, and as a result, there has just been a lot more focus on outfitting soldiers for hot, sandy, dry conditions—not for damp, humid jungle conditions.
The Army did announce last October that new jungle boots are on their way, but won’t happen until late 2017.
So if you need something now, what do you do?
In this article I’m going to walk you through what jungle boots are, why you need them, and what features to look for. I’ll share the few AR 670-1 compliant options I found as well as some non-compliant alternatives (which might be useful to you if you are shopping for jungle boots for civilian use).
Why You Need Jungle Boots
Jungle boots are essential if you are going to be spending time in hot, humid environments for several reasons.
The first of those reasons is called “immersion foot.” Immersion foot is what happens when your feet are exposed for a long time to damp conditions.
There are several types of immersion foot syndromes which are well documented. The most infamous is trench foot, which occurs in damp, cold conditions. In the jungle, you are usually going to be dealing with damp, warm conditions. This puts you at risk for tropical immersion foot or warm water immersion foot. It takes just two days of exposure to warm mud or water for watery blisters and red ulcerations to start forming. This puts you at risk for secondary infections.
High-quality jungle boots are designed to keep your feet dry and provide you with proper ventilation.
Why can’t you just use conventional boots with Gore-Tex? Gore-Tex is something you actually need to avoid. Yes, it helps circulate air, but it also is permeable to water—and worse, it can trap moisture inside your boot. This can lead to immersion foot syndrome if things get bad. Chances are good you will also develop athlete’s foot (which may not be dangerous, but itchy, painful feet are no fun for anyone).
Key Features to Shop for in Jungle Boots
- Meets AR 670-1 regulations (if you are shopping for duty use). If you are buying your boots for duty use, you need to make sure they meet AR 670-1 requirements. This limits you to only a few really good choices, which I will share with you shortly. Do not buy black boots! Most jungle boots are black, but AR 670-1 boots must be tan (yes, this seems a bit useless, but that is the way it is for now thanks to the whole desert-centric design issue).
- No Gore-Tex. I have already explained this, but it bears emphasizing. Gore-Tex has no place in your jungle boots. It will only trap moisture inside your boots. That is the exact opposite of what you want.
- Weatherproofing. This is a must. The entire point of jungle boots is to keep your feet cool and dry. Jungles are damp environments. They are subject to a lot of rainfall, and you will be trudging through puddles and mud.
- Quality drain holes. Drain holes are an issue on old-fashioned army jungle boots. They have a tendency to get clogged up with mud, which then prevents them from doing their job. If you can, shop for boots which include smaller drain holes. These are less likely to clog, so they end up doing a better job over the long run keeping your feet dry. The 2017 army boots which are slated for release toward the end of the year will feature smaller holes like these.
- Fast-drying material. Shop for boots made out of a material which dries quickly, like rough-out leather. Rough-out leather is also low maintenance since you do not have to shine it.
- Strong sole. Your soles are going to get exposed to a lot of mud and water, so they need to be strong enough to hold up to all that wear without falling apart.
- Good grip. A deep pattern on the soles can provide you with the strong grip you need to not slip on slick surfaces.
- Ankle support and long neck. A long neck can help to stabilize your ankles—again very important when you are walking across slippery surfaces.
Be Wary of Cheap Jungle Boots
While shopping online for jungle boots, you are going to see a lot of cheap jungle boots which look like an awesome deal—but be very careful. A lot of these boots are essentially fake.
If you look more closely, you will find out that these cheap boots are usually manufactured in China. The prices are cheap because the manufacturers cut so many corners. So while you will save money upfront, you will find yourself having to glue the heel back on a few weeks later.
Cheap Chinese “military boots” are never going to be AR 670-1 compliant of course, but if you are shopping for civilian use, you should avoid them like the plague. It is worth it to spend more to buy boots that will hold up for months or years of hard wear.
Jungle Boot Classifications
Shopping for jungle boots can be confusing if you are not aware that there are technically several different types. Hopefully you are starting to get a feel for the categories, but here is a quick summary:
- AR670-1 compliant jungle boots: These are boots which comply with AR 670-1 regulations which are specifically designed for jungle use. If you are shopping for duty wear, in most cases, this is what you want to buy.
- Other AR670-1 compliant boots: If you need AR 670-1 compliant boots, but you are not happy with any of the options specifically designed for jungle use, there are a few other compliant boots which you might get away with. Even though these boots were not manufactured with jungle environments in mind, they have the weatherproofing, support and traction to provide you with an acceptable alternative which is compliant with regulations.
- Non-compliant jungle boots: Somewhat annoyingly, these comprise the vast majority of jungle boots on the market. They may be sold as “military” jungle boots, but they do not comply with army AR 670-1 regulations. They tend to be more affordable, and some are reasonably high in quality. But they are still better for civilian or light duty use. Be very cautious if you are shopping in this category. Most cheap jungle boots are not high in quality and should be avoided.
- Bates: Bates is a global giant in the world of military and civilian uniformed service boot manufacturing. The history of this company dates clear back to 1885. Today, more than 80 countries purchase boots from Bates.
- Rocky: Rocky is another military and outdoor boot manufacturer which has been around for ages. Since the brand’s inception in 1932, Rocky has been manufacturing comfortable, durable lightweight footwear.
- Under Armour: This sports apparel company started manufacturing footwear in 2006. The company’s athletic expertise has helped to influence the development of versatile tactical boots and gear.
- Belleville: This is another of the biggest brands in military boots. Since World War I, Belleville has made a name for itself by manufacturing boots which are ideal for harsh environments ranging from deserts to jungles.
- Blackhawk: Blackhawk has only been manufacturing boots since 1993, but they have quickly risen to the forefront of the industry. Their boots are comfortable and stand up well to tactical wear and tear.
- Altama: Based in Morristown, TN, Altama has been manufacturing military boots for the US Department of Defense since 1969. All manufacturing is carried out domestically.
Top Jungle Boot Reviews - AR670-1 Compliant
Bates Men’s Cobra Jungle Coyote Tactical Boot
Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
These boots are one of your best options if you need something which is AR670-1 compliant and made specifically for jungle military use. They have a consensus rating of 4 out of 5 stars, and sell in the $120-$200 range.
- Nylon ankle reinforcement
- Flesh-out cattle hide leather is resistant to abrasion
- Breathable medial and lateral perforated leather keeps your feet cool
- Rubber sole
- Multi-terrain rubber lug outsole
- Equipped with an “anti-fatigue endurance performance system”
What the Bates Men’s Cobra Jungle Coyote Tactical Boot Is Best For
These boots were designed with multiple types of jungle terrain in mind. With the flesh-out abrasion-resistant cattle hide leather, they would be an excellent choice if you expect to encounter a lot of dense underbrush and need something that can hold up to thorns or rough bark. The nylon reinforcement would also do a great job keeping your ankles stable when you are picking your way through dense foliage. It takes extra energy to wade through undergrowth, so the anti-fatigue features would also help out a great deal.
Pros and Cons
Customers who managed to get a good fit with these boots (see below) said that after breaking them in, they were very comfortable and lightweight, not so different from athletic shoes. They also offer an excellent grip on rocky and slippery surfaces. Any drawbacks? A few customers have mentioned that the synthetic upper makes an irritating “swooshing” noise, but otherwise there are few complaints.
Sizing Tips: These boots run a bit narrow, so if you have wider feet, they may not give you the right fit.
Rocky Men’s S2v Jungle Boot
Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
This is another option if you need an AR670-1 compliant jungle boot, again from a popular and reputable military boot manufacturer. The consensus rating is 4 out of 5 stars, and you can buy these boots for $50-$200 (obviously an excellent deal at the lower end of the price range).
- Lightweight, durable uppers made of leather and Cordurafabric which resists abrasions
- Drainage holes
- No interior lining; cushioning comes from an Air-Port footbed (this is to keep your feet cool and preserve a lightweight feel)
- Roll-stop ankle stability
- Vibramoutsole is flexible and lightweight for easy climbing
Rocky Men's S2v Jungle Boot Video Review
What the Rocky Men’s S2v Jungle Boot Is Best For
These boots were designed to hold up well to dense undergrowth, and also to provide you with excellent drainage and dryness in situations where you might be wading through mud or water. If you think you may be clambering up or down a lot of muddy or rocky hillsides, the Vibramoutsole on these boots is ideal for both ascending and descending.
Pros and Cons
Customers report that these are fast-drying boots which provide excellent traction. They break in quickly and fit comfortably after they do. The only consistent complaints seem to involve the insole. While the insole is supposed to ventilate the boot, some buyers report that it soaks up water, so it needs to be replaced with a different insole if you want the boot to actually fulfill its purpose. It is hard to say if this is a consistent problem with Air-Port or a manufacturing flaw which shows up only on some of the boots (likely the latter).
Sizing Tips: Most customers report that they got a solid fit from the Rocky Men’s S2v Jungle Boot, but a few mentioned that the boots were either slightly too wide or too large.
Under Armour Men’s UA Jungle Rat Boots
Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
Note: Only the coyote brown and desert sand are AR670-1 compliant.
These popular jungle boots sell for $70-$140, and have a consensus rating of 4 out of 5 stars. Like the previous two boots I reviewed, they were designed specifically for jungle wear. They come in a number of different colors, but if you are shopping for AR670-1 boots, you need to stick with the coyote brown or desert sand. The black or timber are not regulation.
- UA Storm gear with DWR finish repels water effectively while keeping the boot breathable
- Soft and light upper made out of 900D nylon textile and leather
- Medial side drainage vents expel water from the boot
- Ortholite sockliner
- Micro G® midsole and reinforced TPU shank help to improve stability
Under Armour Men's UA Jungle Rat Boots Video Review
What the Under Armour Men’s UA Jungle Rat Boots Is Best For
The great traction on these shoes makes them ideal for slippery rocks and mud. While they are not 100% waterproof (no boot really is), the water-resistance and the medial side drainage vents make these a great choice to wear if you expect to be splashing through some puddles as you make your way through jungle environments.
Pros and Cons
According to buyers, the Under Armour Men’s UA Jungle Rat Boots provides fantastic traction, fits comfortably, and holds up well overall to wear and tear. The only major drawback that multiple customers mentioned is the laces. The laces fall apart quite quickly, so you will probably need to replace them fairly fast with something more durable.
Sizing Tips: The vast majority of buyers report that these boots fit true to size. If anything, they may run slightly tight, but usually in a “snug” way, rather than a painful way.
Rocky Men's 8 Inch S2v Fq0000105 Work Boot
Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
Now we are onto boots which are not necessarily classified as jungle boots, but have more or less the right features while still being AR670-1 compliant. The first of these is the Rocky Men's 8 Inch S2v Fq0000105 Work Boot. This popular boot has 4 out of 5 stars and currently sells in the $150-$260 range, making it one of the pricier boots on this list. In the past, this boot has actually sold for more however (ranging up toward $300), so this is actually a great deal on one of the best all-around military boots on the market.
- Roll-stop ankle stability
- Synthetic sole
- Leather and textile upper is resistant to abrasion and water
- High-walled vibram soles
- Advanced s2v sieve technology keeps water out and lets air in
- Air-Port footbed
What the Rocky Men's 8 Inch S2v Fq0000105 Work Boot Is Best For
Because this work boot includes S2v air circulation and water-resistance, they would work great in jungle conditions where you need to keep your feet dry and ventilated. The only drawback for jungle wear is the insulation; in really hot climates, these boots might still end up being stifling. But in cooler jungle conditions, they would be an excellent choice.
Pros and Cons
Buyers report that these boots are solidly constructed and very comfortable to wear. Even over months of ruck marching, they can hold together well without any significant deterioration. About the only drawback consistently mentioned was a tendency for the laces to want to come untied. So make sure they are secure before you head out.
Sizing Tips: These boots sometimes seem to run a bit on the small side. For this reason, you may want to consider ordering a half size larger than you typically wear.
Belleville Tactical Research TR511 Transition Boot
Rating: 4.1 / 5.0
These military boots are currently priced at $100-$140, and have an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars. While they are not specifically designed for jungle use, they may be an acceptable AR670-1 compliant option if you want a lighter fit which offers you a wider range of motion.
- Constructed out of flesh-out suede leather and 1000 denier Cordura nylon
- Lightweight design makes these boots less than a pound each
- Aero-Spacer technology keeps the boots ventilated
- Hydrophilic lining keeps your feet dry
- A single density molded EVA insole and compression molded EVA midsole provide superior support and comfort
- Equipped with a Vibram outsole to reduce chances of slipping
- Quickly pull on your boots or take them off with a handy pull-on loop
What the Belleville Tactical Research TR511 Transition Boot Is Best For
As transition boots, these military boots are designed to offer you a lighter, more streamlined fit—similar to an athletic shoe. They may not provide you with the strong ankle support which you need to safely scramble over slippery surfaces in the jungle, but they do offer you the ventilation and water resistance needed to stay dry and comfortable. The Vibram outsole also is good for slick surfaces. So I would recommend these for light jungle duty, but not necessarily for an extended or particularly active mission. Wear them as jungle garrison boots, but consider stepping up to something more sturdy for field wear.
Pros and Cons
The best thing about these boots according to most buyers is their weight. They are so light that they could compete with tennis shoes. They also reportedly fit like tennis shoes and can compete with them in terms of comfort as well. As far as drawbacks go, the soles can wear out quickly.
Sizing Tips: Sizing seems quite inconsistent with these boots. There are buyers who say they half a size too small and others who report the exact opposite—that they are half a size to big. This is likely because the Belleville Tactical Research TR511 Transition Boot is designed to fit more like a shoe than your standard military boot. So think about your shoe size, not just your boot size, when you are making your purchase. Also note that these boots fit wide feet better than narrow feet.
Blackhawk Men's Warrior Wear Desert Ops Boots
Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
You can buy these desert AR670-1 boots in the $90-$210 range. They are quite popular, with hundreds of reviewers online giving them a consensus rating of 4.5 stars.
- Lightweight, water-resistant, ventilated construction features Cordura panels on abrasion-resistant suede leather
- Vibram “Multisport” outsole provides excellent grip on angled surfaces like rocks
- Toe is reinforced
- Ortholite footbed is antimicrobial and washable
- Dri-Lex inner lining wicks moisture away
Blackhawk Men's Warrior Wear Desert Ops Boots Video Review
What the Blackhawk Men's Warrior Wear Desert Ops Boots Is Best For
Technically, these are desert boots, designed with hot, dry conditions in mind. Nonetheless, they have some basic water resistance, and some great moisture-wicking features inside. With their breathable panels and the abrasion-resistant construction, they might stand up well to jungle use. The Vibram outsole should give you strong grip on rocks and muddy hills.
Because these are not built specifically for wet conditions, they would not be my top recommendation, but they may work for light garrison use in some jungle environments.
Pros and Cons
According to customers, both the water resistance and the traction are excellent, and the boots are lightweight and comfortable. Buyers do however emphasize that you should never submerge these boots, so keep them away from deep mud or actual puddles.
Sizing Tips: Buyers indicate that these boots fit true to size, but that they are also on the roomy side. If you will not be wearing them with heavy socks, you should consider half a size down. If however your feet are wide, you might need half a size up.
Belleville One Xero 320 Desert Tan Ultra Light Assault Boot
Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
You can purchase this light assault boot for $160-$200. It currently has an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5. While it is not a jungle boot per se, it is AR670-1 compliant, and may work for light garrison use.
- Manufactured out of flesh-out suede leather and nylon for a lightweight, comfortable fit
- Vibram sole for extra traction
- UL235 ULTRA-LITE polyurethane midsole
- Removable polyurethane insert
What the Belleville One Xero 320 Desert Tan Ultra Light Assault Boot Is Best For
These light assault boots are a lot like the transition boots in that they are built to be lightweight, comfortable, and flexible while still providing ample support. I would not necessarily recommend these for long marches or missions in the thick of the jungle, but they would probably suffice for garrison wear.
Pros and Cons
Buyers praise the comfort and breathability of these lightweight boots, and some customers specifically mentioned they work as well in the jungle as they do in the desert. This makes them an excellent versatile option.
Sizing Tips: Many customers mentioned that these boots run half a size large. They also are quite comfortable for wider feet.
Belleville TR900 Jungle Runner Lightweight Panama Boot
Rating: 4.4 / 5.0
You can purchase this jungle boot in the $100-$140 range. It is a pretty popular purchase, with an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. It is manufactured by an experienced military boot maker, but it is not AR670-1 because of the color.
- Leather design based on the classic Vietnam jungle boot
- Rugged full-grain cowhide leather and nylon fabric upper offer breathability and durability with double and triple stitched seams
- Outsole includes rappelling bars
- Water resistant
- Small drain vents
What the Belleville TR900 Jungle Runner Lightweight Panama Boot Is Best For
Because these boots are not AR670-1 compliant, make sure you are only wearing them in duty situations where AR670-1 is not being enforced. For light duty or civilian jungle use, the boots perform well and offer you a comfortable, rugged design. They are not waterproof, but they are water resistant and include drain vents.
Pros and Cons
According to buyers, the TR900 Jungle Runner Lightweight Panama Boot is nearly identical to marine issue jungle boots, providing excellent ankle support and good traction suitable for slippery slopes. The drain vents are a little smaller than standard military issue, but this is probably a good thing as they are less likely to clog with mud (remember, the army is moving toward smaller holes vents like these). Some customers do say the laces are low quality and that the leather is a little thin.
Sizing Tips: Buyers report that these boots are true to size.
Men’s Altama Black Domestic Vulcanized Boots
Rating: 4.2 / 5.0
These popular boots have an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars and are not compliant with AR670-1.
- Leather and black cordura for breathable, rugged design
- In-step drainage vents
- Vulcanized rubber sole
- Manufactured in the USA
What the Men’s Altama Black Domestic Vulcanized Boots Is Best For
Because these are not AR670-1 compliant, you should buy them for civilian wear or for light duty where regulations are not being enforced. Buyers say that they offer great support and grip, but you probably should not wear them in dense undergrowth. The leather needs to be shined, so they scuff easily and require a lot of maintenance to maintain their look.
Pros and Cons
Pluses with these boots include the sturdy build, the lightweight, comfortable design and the high top and strong ankle support. The fact that they are made in the USA is also great, because you are not dealing with Chinese manufacturers who cut corners. The biggest drawback is the maintenance required to keep the leather in good condition.
Sizing Tips: While a couple buyers said that they found these boots a bit snug, more customers said they were a little bit larger than they expected. So you may want to consider going half a size down.
G.I. Combat Jungle Boot: Green
Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
This is a cheap option which is not something I would recommend for military wear. But if you are a civilian shopping for military-style jungle boots at a low price, this is one of the more highly-rated options with an average of 4 out of 5 stars and a cost of only $20-$40. You can also buy them in black.
- Unlined nylon uppers are cool, lightweight and breathable
- Rubber outsoles offer cleat traction
- Vented in-step holes keep your feet dry
- Padded insoles add to your comfort and support
- Enlarged cap toe protects your feet and offers a wider fit
What the G.I. Combat Jungle Boot Is Best For
These are really only appropriate for civilian use. You can wear them on hikes or while you are out fishing or camping, or you can just choose them as a stylish option for everyday wear.
Pros and Cons
These boots have a classic style which is pleasing to the eye, and for the price, they perform well. But they really do not offer you the sturdy construction you need (they are made in China) for hard wear and tear.
Sizing Tips: The boots fit relatively true to size, though they are a tad on the small side. Note that they are a better fit for wider feet.
Fox Outdoor Products Vietnam Jungle Boot
Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
This is another low cost option which is ideal for civilian use. You can buy the Fox Outdoor Products Vietnam Jungle Boot in the $20-$50 range. It has an average rating of 4 stars.
- Leather sole and lower
- Comfortable insoles
What the Fox Outdoor Products Vietnam Jungle Boot Is Best For
Like the G.I. Combat Jungle Boots, these boots are great for making a style statement, and for light indoor and outdoor wear. They are not an appropriate choice for duty wear.
Pros and Cons
The best features of these boots are their low price and their stylish design. For the cost, the value is good, but I emphasize that you need to pay more for a real military boot. These boots are made in China, and it shows in the low-quality materials and construction.
Sizing Tips: Most customers report that these boots fit true to size.
As you can see, purchasing a jungle boot for duty or civilian use is a little more complicated than it appears on the surface. First, you need to ask yourself what you will be using the boot for. There is a big difference between light garrison use and combat missions that are going to take you deep into the jungle. Secondly, you need to ask yourself what the environment is like where you are headed. Are you simply looking for a boot that will function in a jungle climate, or do you need something that will hold up to regular treks through puddles, mud, slippery slopes and dense thorny brush?
Once you evaluate your needs, you will be able to narrow down your options and find the best fit. Remember, the army is getting serious about enforcing AR670-1 regulations, so if you are required to purchase an AR670-1 boot, make sure you do so. If you have some leeway, some of the other options I have recommended may interest you for light duty. The best jungle boots will cost you more than cheap replicas from China, but they will protect your feet in extreme conditions over the months or years to come.