If you’re a fireman, you know that no two days on the job are exactly alike. You need to be ready to deal with extreme situations that can escalate rapidly. You need boots that are up to the task at hand, whether that’s a pair of bunker boots, station boots or wildland fire boots. Our top 3 choices of the best firefighter boots have you covered, regardless of what the day holds.
Updated April 2020 by Maya
In a Hurry? Our Top Pick:
ALL 3 have their own job specific features. Read on to find out which boots is best suited to your needs.
|Resistant||Soft||NFPA Rated: Wildland|
Kevlar high traction sole
Fireproof stitching & laces
Fire Resistant Leather
|Haix EMS |
|Leather & |
|Yes||Composite||NFPA Rated: Station use|
Heat & Slip-resistant sole
Arch supporting midsole
|Rubber||Yes||Steel||NFPA Rated: Structures|
Abrasion, oil, chemicals
& Slip-resistant sole
Critical Firefighter Boot Features
The top firefighter boots comfortably protect the firefighters who wear them.
Firefighters regularly put their lives on the line to help others. Whether they are racing across a huge field to confront a grassfire, or answering a call to help a citizen in need, they depend upon boots that will protect their feet from burns and blisters, from punctures and heavy falling objects.
Our top 3 boots have what firefighters need to do their jobs well in the station, at a structure fire, or at the scene of a wildfire. They include cushion, support, and breathability features to keep firefighters as comfortable as possible while they help others.
Our top firefighter boots are all certified by NFPA (National Fire Protection Association)
All 3 of these boots are certified by the NFPA as safe to wear in certain types of work situations that firemen face regularly. NFPA certification indicates that a boot has been deemed to be safe to wear in extreme conditions. The NFPA seal indicates a level of testing that’s been passed.
Whether they are station boots, bunker boots or wildland fire boots, our 3 top picks have all been certified as safe for firemen to wear with confidence. They all contain quality materials that are carefully assembled. They meet flame-retardant and heat-resistance standards, and don’t fail when a fireman’s life is on the line.
The 3 Best Firefighter Work Boots
Kenetrek Wildland Fire Boot
The Kenetrek Wildland Fire Boot features heat-resistant and flame retardant materials to protect your feet from burns, blisters and overall soreness, even if you have to wear them for days at a time. With extra padding in the collar and very lightweight materials, these boots are as comfortable as they are durable.
- Extreme protection from the heat
- High-traction, non-slip outsoles
- NFPA certified
- Very expensive
- No safety toe
Haix Airpower XR2 EMS/Station Boot
The Haix Airpower XR2 EMS/Station Boot is a smooth leather boot with Haix patented Sun-reflect technology to keep your feet cool, even in a black boot. The sole is slip resistant and heat resistant. A front zipper makes this boot easy to put on quickly. With a quick-dry insole and a midsole that provides excellent arch support, the Airpower XR2 keeps your feet dry and comfortable.
- Very high customer satisfaction ratings.
- Heat resistant
- Slip resistant
- NFPA certified
- Very expensive
Viking Firefighter Waterproof Boot
The Viking Firefighter FR Boot is designed for use by regular and auxiliary firefighters, general fire rescue workers and forest fire fighters. With a felt-lined shaft that fits snugly and a rugged sole that is puncture resistant and slip resistant, this slip on rubber boot will protect you on the job.
The sole also resists abrasions, oil and chemicals. The upper is flame retardant and chemical resistant. Here’s a sturdy boot that provides most firefighters with the protection they need, rain or shine. Although this boot is not insulated for winter wear, Viking does make an insulated version.
- Good for general firefighter use
- Sole resists heat, chemicals, punctures, and abrasions
- Knee-length shaft
- NFPA certified
- Not for use in wildland fires
It’s impossible to choose an “overall best” boot among our 3 top picks since they represent the 3 different types of firefighter work boots commonly worn by firemen. Not one of them is cheap. A couple are quite expensive. However, they are all the best in their category, given features, reviews, and price.
If you’re looking for an excellent station boot, a bunker boot, or a wildland fire boot, take a close look at our 3 picks. Then you should feel confident to try the boot that fits the type you need.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What are wildland fire boots?
Wildland fire boots are a specific type of boot worn when firefighters are battling a fire that’s raging across rural land. The stereotypical wildland fire is the summertime wildfire that burns across thousands of acres of forested land in the American West. The title also applies to family brush fires that get out of control, or to any fire that burns across land that’s mostly open and unpopulated.
Given this scenario, you’d guess that wildland fire boots are worn in rugged conditions over rough terrain. Sometimes they are worn for days at a stretch so that firefighters can work round-the-clock until the fire is brought under control. Wildland fire boots must provide great traction, lots of protection, and extreme levels of comfort. They simply must be durable, too.
Wildland fire boots come in men’s and women’s styles, and are typically heavy-duty leather boots made with a welt construction that allows them to be resoled rather than replaced. They look more like a tall, heavy-duty hiking boot than a classic rubber fireman’s boot.
A couple of good wildland boot choices are the Danner Men’s Wildland Tactical Firefighter 8″ Fire and Safety Boot and the Haix Airpower XR1 Dual-Certified Wildland, EMS, Station Boot. Both of these have deeply lugged soles and a sturdy, shock-absorbing shank.
What are Globe fire boots?
Globe has been committed to manufacturing fire equipment for over 130 years. Today, with their partner MSA, they make several lines of fire boots: most are made for firefighters dealing with structural fires.
Their products boast excellent safety features and athletic styling that is lightweight yet sturdy. Their proprietary technologies include
- 1) a Gore Tex fabric called CROSSTECH,
- 2) a Protective shield system that incorporates Kevlar, and
- 3) rugged Vibram outsoles and toe protectors that cushion and guard your feet.
All of these technology and safety features result in a high-quality product with a price tag indicative of the quality. Globe fire boots are very expensive. However, they get good reviews, despite the steep price tag. Most customers feel their Globe firefighter boots are worth the cost.
Popular Globe lines include the Supreme, Onyx, Supralite, Supraflex, Shadow, Station 1, Knockdown Elite, and Proximity. All of these are standard knee-length black boots that balance protection with comfort, and sturdiness with flexibility.
Can you recommend a good pair of steel toe firefighter boots?
Yes, but there aren’t many options where the safety toe is made of actual steel. Because steel conducts heat so well, it is uncommon to find safety toe firefighter boots with steel safety toes. Two good options–one a knee boot and the other a hip boot–are
This boot has a steel toe that meets the ASTM standards. The sole is slip resistant and the boot is also EH-rated for electrical safety. Redback’s anatomic sole supports your foot and relieves stress, making the boot comfortable to wear for long days on the job.
This boot offers maximum protection. Made of vulcanized rubber that’s waterproof, the Ranger 36” boot has a heavily-grooved sole and great traction. The steel safety toe meets ASTM standards. The boot fits well and is comfortable, thanks to a steel shank and cushioned arch as well as an adjustable belt strap.
Many safety-toe boots for firefighters feature a composite or aluminum toe. If you’re partial to a boot made in America, Danner has a good one.
This smooth waterproof leather boot is 8” tall and has an ASTM-rated composite toe. The outsole is deeply-lugged, oil resistant and slip-resistant. The midsole is puncture proof. Danner offers a 365-day satisfaction guarantee, too.
Which companies offer fireman hip boots? Which would you say is the best boot?
Many companies sell hip boots for firefighters. Industrial supply companies like Grainger and Servus offer a line or two of black and yellow hip boots for firemen. Industrial leaders like Viking, Honeywell, La Crosse and Dunlop also provide hip boots. (The Ranger boot mentioned in the previous question is manufactured by Honeywell.)
Although known for traditional men’s work boots, Thorogood also sells hip boots for firefighters, as well as a line of station boots, bunker boots and wildland fire boots.
In addition to these companies and others, a number of suppliers of firefighting equipment also manufacture hip boots. Among these are Black Diamond and Feld Fire.
I would say that the best pair of hip boots is the pair that matches the type of work you do, provides the protection you need, and fits you well. Consider several options and let this be one of them.
Read reviews about each boot in your price range that offers the features that are critical to you. Don’t forget to read the negative reviews; they are often very helpful. Then, choose the one that is the best match for you.
What’s the difference between firefighter station boots and bunker boots?
Firefighters typically wear 3 types of boots. The main differences between them:
- Station boots are worn at the station and on calls that don’t involve fires. A few weeks ago an ambulance and a fire truck pulled up at my next-door neighbor’s house. The fire truck was there to assist the ambulance workers. There was no fire at the scene. The firemen were wearing their station boots.
- Station boots are usually black, and tall enough to cover the ankle. They need slip-resistant and chemical-resistant soles. Some include a front zipper. Usually they don’t include a safety toe, or a puncture-resistant sole. Primarily, station boots need to be very comfortable, easy to get on and off quickly, and quite durable.
- Bunker boots (or duty boots or turn-out boots) are worn for calls involving urban fires. They need to be puncture resistant and to protect the firefighter’s toes. Traditionally, safety toes were made of steel. Some still are; steel is very strong and difficult to crush.
- However, steel is also heavy, and it’s an excellent conductor of heat. To overcome these difficulties, some firefighters now choose safety boots with a composite or alloy toe that’s lighter and cooler.
- Bunker boots are traditionally rubber, but some are now made of leather. Leather bunker boots are becoming popular since they are easier to drive in, and are more lightweight and more breathable.
Wildland Fire Boots
- Wildland fire boots are worn by firefighters battling a fire that’s burning out in the open. Because of the magnitude that wildland fires can reach, and the rough terrain wildland firefighters must traverse.
- Wildland fire boots are typically very sturdy, heavy-duty leather boots made with a welt construction that allows them to be resoled rather than replaced. They are heat-resistant boots with a lugged sole for traction.