If you’ve been here before, you probably already know me as the “shoe” guy. That is, I research and review any and every kind of shoe to figure out which one really works best for its intended buyers. Now, while it is true that I’m no wildland firefighter, I do know a heck of a lot about shoes. So I decided to take what I know and try to find out which footwear options cater best to those that work one of the most dangerous jobs in the country.
Based on what I’ve learned, there are only about 20 different brands that manufacture boots for wildland firefighters. Of the shoes these companies offer, only a small percentage are actually viable choices. But because they all look like they’d work well, it’s likely that they might hook a few firefighters into making a purchase. I’m here to make sure you don’t end up with a boot that could potentially put you in harm’s way.
Now, if you’re ready to find out what my footwear knowledge has pointed out as the 8 best wildland firefighter boots, then keep on reading.
The 8 Best Wildland Firefighter Boots
|White’s Boots 400VLTT Smoke Jumper Lace-to-Toe Boot
|Danner Tactical Wildland Firefighter Work Boot
|Chippewa 8” Steel Toe EH 27422 Boot
|Thorogood Trooper 8” Side Zip Boot
|Smith & Wesson Breach 2.0 Tactical Side Zip Boots
|Adtec 1964 10” Fireman Logger Black Work Boot
|Danner Flashpoint II 10” All Leather Work Boot
|Thorogood Hellfire 8” Power EMS/Wildland Composite Toe Boot
White’s Boots 400VLTT Smoke Jumper Lace-to-Toe Boot
Taking the cake as the ultimate boot for wildland firefighters is the White’s Boots 400VLTT Smoke Jumper Lace-to-Toe Boot. The brawny boot features an extended silhouette that covers the length of the shin to give users extra protection. Unlike many other boots in this list, the Smoke Jumper uses a much more traditional aesthetic. It owes its classic look not only to its silhouette, but also to its use of features such as a kiltie.
For wildland firefighters, the White’s Boots 400VLTT Smoke Jumper Boot can be particularly beneficial because of its capacity to withstand even the most challenging of conditions. The design is heat resistant, slip resistant, and exceptionally durable. Of course, this does give them quite a bit of stiffness at the start. But after a few weeks of use, they break-in quite nicely.
What really won me over was the fact that the Smoker Jumpers are a lot more durable than many other firefighter boots I’ve found. They’re made with premium materials stitched together by hand, which is why they’ve got such a burliness to them. And for the price you pay, they’re definitely nothing short of a long term investment.
Danner Tactical Wildland Firefighter Work Boot
The second boot in my list of top picks for wildland firefighters is the Danner Tactical Wildland Firefighter Work Boot. Danner is a brand that has achieved popularity for their work boots, so it’s no surprise that they’ve landed a top rank on this list.
Their Tactical Wildland Firefighter Work Boot is a solid work horse that was built with the harsh conditions of wildland fires in mind. This ultra-heavy duty boot is fire resistant, letting you stride in confidence even with embers and small flames scattered around. It also uses some of the most durable materials for its soles and uppers, giving it greater defenses against the elements of the outdoors.
Although it probably isn’t as light or comfortable as the previous pick from White’s Boots, the Danner Tactical Wildland Firefighter Work Boot are far more affordable. So if you were trying to work within a smaller budget, this should make a better choice.
Chippewa 8” Steel Toe EH 27422 Boot
The Chippewa 8” Steel Toe EH 27422 Boot boasts a polished leather finish combined with a thick lug Vibram sole, giving it superb durability in the most challenging conditions. The lacing system on this particular boot is especially unique, using an outlandish zipper panel that connects to the rest of the boot via the laces. The zipper can be opened and closed in order to make securing the boot against your foot a little easier and less time consuming.
The 27422 was designed to pass ASTM standards for its steel toe, and also meets electrical hazard safety standards to give you extra protection out in the field. Perhaps the only problem I have with the design is that the polished leather doesn’t work so well to limit heat damage, so they might not look as clean or perfect after exposure to fire or excessive heat.
Thorogood Trooper 8” Side Zip Boot
Thorogood is one of the most reliable companies out there if you’re looking for a pair of durable, long lasting boots for work. Their Thorogood Trooper 8” Side Zip Boot has struck so well with so many firefighters across the globe because of their superb construction, comfort, and impressively flexible fit.
Unlike other boots, this design from Thorogood can accommodate your gait perfectly, giving you the freedom to move around without too much restriction on your feet. If you’ve ever had to navigate dangerous terrain with a pair of stubborn boots, you’ll know why pliability is a welcome relief.
Lastly, when it comes to prices, these sturdy work boots fall right smack in the middle of the price spectrum. So if you’ve got just enough to spare and you don’t really want something that’s all too cheap, then these will be perfect for your budget.
Smith & Wesson Breach 2.0 Tactical Side Zip Boots
It’s not really recommended that you settle with such a small budget if you’re buying boots for wildland firefighting. But if you’ve got a really humble budget, the Breach 2.0 Tactical Side Zip Boots from Smith and Wesson make a great pick. As the most affordable design on my list, these boots still put up a pretty decent fight when it comes to durability, comfort, and safety.
The Breach 2.0 uses a combination of nylon and leather to provide you a comfortable, flexible, yet hardwearing upper that can tough it out through some of the most demanding conditions. The boot also boasts a slip resistant outsole that’s engineered to give you exceptional traction on a variety of outdoor surfaces.
Lastly, the Smith & Wesson Breach 2.0 Boots are also particularly comfortable. Using a responsive EVA insole and breathable mesh panels around the uppers, these boots can minimize fatigue, stress, and pain even after a whole day of firefighting.
Adtec 1964 10” Fireman Logger Black Work Boot
Closely resembling the White’s Boots 400VLTT Smoke Jumper Lace-to-Toe Boot, the 1964 10” Fireman Logger Black Work Boots from Adtec are also pretty impressive when it comes to wildland firefighting performance. All the leather, rubber, and other materials used to create the design go through treatment to make them heat and fire resistant to give you exceptional protection out on the field. The boots can take on up to 500 degrees of heat without showing signs of damage, and without allowing too much warmth to penetrate through to your feet.
Another reason why these boots have hit it pretty big with buyers is because it comes with a light price tag. At just one fourth of the cost of the top pick on my list, you might recognize the Fireman Logger as the Smoke Jumper’s little brother. Of course, it won’t be as durable as the more expensive alternative. But with the money you pay, you definitely get a suitable wildland fire boot that can last several months before you need to find a replacement.
Danner Flashpoint II 10” All Leather Work Boot
Another entry from Danner is the Flashpoint II 10” All Leather Work Boot. Highly rigid and brawny, this heavy duty boot works well to protect not only your feet, but also itself from fire damage and injury. So with such superb durability, you would expect that it’s slightly too stiff for comfort – and that is true. But what it lacks in flexibility, it makes up for in lifespan. It’s not hard to assume that when you buy these boots from Danner, you’re probably never going to need a new pair for the next decade.
They’re fire resistant, puncture resistant, and water resistant, allowing impressive performance to shine through even through the toughest situations. The downside? These boots are the most expensive on the list – at just slightly under $500 USD. But if you’ve got the money to spare and you want to make sure you never buy another pair again, then these boots could make a suitable pick.
Thorogood Hellfire 8” Power EMS/Wildland Composite Toe Boot
The Thorogood Hellfire 8” Power EMS/Wildland Composite Toe Boot make a great pick if you want sure shot safety at the cost of a little comfort. Given these boots aren’t the easiest on the feet, they boast a variety of features that make walking around through fire easy and safe.
They’re flame resistant, cut resistant, and water resistant, letting you tread through dangerous terrain with confidence. The materials can resist blood borne pathogens by way of special chemical treatment which is particularly important if you’re walking through affected areas that have been home to wild animals. To top it all off, these boots comply with ASTM F2413-11 MI/75/C/75 and electrical hazard safety standards so you can be sure they’re guaranteed to work for your safety and protection no matter the situation.
Don’t go treading into dangerous territory with unprotected feet. If you’re a wildland firefighter, be sure to give yourself the right protective gear so you can get the job done without sacrificing your own safety.
If you’re not sure where to begin your search, just read more about the 8 picks I’ve listed above. Each one comes with their own pros and cons, but at the end of the day, these premium boots have what it takes to keep you safe and protected no matter what the wilderness might throw your way.