Are you looking for the best wildland fire boots? Look no further. We’ve put together a list of NFPA-approved boots that boast of enduring strength, maximum safety, and protection against wildland hazards.
Given the hazardous nature of firefighting, both frontline and non-frontline firefighters need to wear boots that protect their feet from burns and cuts. While industrial and office workers can do with any shoe, these guys need top-notch boots with exceptional elements of safety.
After hours of research and talking to a couple of wildland community folks with many years of experience-firefighters included (and having downed uncountable cups of coffee), we managed to come up with a list of the best wildland fire boots that bear NFPA certifications.
You deserve the best and the boots reviewed in this article will get you covered so you return home safe to your family. Without further digressing, let’s slide into the juicy stuff. If you are short on time for any reason, you can spring directly to our top recommendation Danner Men’s Wildland Firefighter boot.
For rangers army, See our guide to the top ranger school boots.
What kind of shoes do firefighters wear?
A firefighter should consider comfort, well protection, great support and durability when choosing a boot. And the boot must be NFPA Certified. Steel toe, extra rubber sole can be a plus. There are 3 types of fire boots available in the market: Station boots, Duty boots and Wildland firefighting boots.
Best Wildland Fire Boots (NFPA Certified)
|Danner Men’s Wildland Tactical Firefighter Work Boot||See On Amazon||Leather, Rubber Sole|
|White’s Boots Men’s 400VLTT Smoke Jumper Lace-To-Toe Boot||See On Amazon||Leather, Vibram Sole|
|Scarpa Fuego Mountaineering Boot||See On Amazon||Leather, Vibram Sole|
|La Sportiva Men’s Glacier WLF Hiking Boot||See On Amazon||Leather, Synthetic Sole|
|Lowa Men’s Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot||See On Amazon||Leather and Synthetic, Vibram Sole|
|Haix Missoula Wildland Boot||See On Amazon||Leather, Rubber Sole|
|Thorogood Men’s 9″ Waterproof Boot||See On Amazon||Leather, Vibram Sole|
The best offers for both frontline and non-frontline fire operations include:
1. Danner Men’s Wildland Tactical Firefighter Work Boot
A few years back, you would have to choose between beauty and practicality. An attractive design would give you appealing looks at the expense of quality. Guess what, Danner Men’s Wildland Tactical has both.
Being a dual purpose boot, Danner can take you to everywhere-from work to casual strolls. That’s advantageous since you won’t need to drag along another pair of shoes. Its composition consists of pure leather, fire-resistant Vibram sole, and a steel shank integration.
The better part about the leather used is that it allows for break-in. That means if you order a smaller pair, you can hope for it to expand and fit you. Furthermore, it’s breathable, lightweight and NFPA-approved.
Danner Men’s Wildland Tactical boot bears the following specs:
- 100% leather
- Vibram sole
- Mountaineering-inspired with an athletic vibe
- Steel shank integration
- NFPA 1977-approved
- Lightweight design
- Fairly breathable and comfortable
- Reliable under and upper foot protection
- Waterproof, oil, slip, and fire-resistant
- Top-quality outsole
- Indisputably durable
- No steel toe protection
- Doesn’t feet as expected in most cases
Danner Men’s Wildland Tactical is worth every penny you will spend on it. Despite lacking steel toe protection, it doesn’t trade off its protective features for anything. It’s highly recommended by previous users although most of them acknowledged that it is smaller than they anticipated.
2. White’s Boots Men’s 400VLTT Smoke Jumper Lace-To-Toe Boot
Out of the box, White’s Men’s 400VLTT Smoke Jumper looks like a million bucks. The boot is supremely made to handle the most demanding jobs-whether that is putting out fires or felling trees. This bad boy’s leather is thick enough to form an impenetrable layer to all hazards.
Nothing shouts good quality like the existence of the most elegant features. This boot packs a Vibram sole with ferocious treads on the bottom. That guarantees maximum traction and stable gait no matter how wet or slippery the floor gets.
The front-end comes reinforced with steel to protect your toes. For a secure fit, this boot’s lacing runs from the high top to the end of the tongue. Regarding water resistance, the tanned leather does prevent seepage, but with time or heavy downfall, it gives in-which is normal.
Some of the core features of Men’s 400VLTT Smoke Jumper boot include:
- Full-grain leather
- Vibram sole
- Extended lacing
- Stands 10 inches high
- Hand-sewn to perfection with stitch-down construction
- Lasts for many years
- Loaded with all the necessary safety features
- Extensive lacing for a secure fit
- Special arch system for additional support
- Water, oil, and slip-resistant
- Weighs a bit much
- They tend to run large
Men’s 400VLTT Smoke Jumper boot is a top contender when it comes to the best wildland firefighting boots. It goes a mile further by offering arch support and comfort-things that most wildland boots ignore. Furthermore, it is well rated by former users.
3. Scarpa Fuego Mountaineering Boot
As we have pointed out somewhere in this article, many people are starting to shift towards mountaineering boots because their flat-feet nature is less stressful. Walking the entire day on shoes that feel like heels can affect your back and knees.
This boot excels at providing maximum comfort that is ideal for those who engage in extreme pursuits. The interior provides a plush feeling thanks to the EVA midsole and the Pro-Flex XT insole.
There are enough safety features in place to keep harmful agents at bay. For instance, the Vibram sole is perfect for keeping out heat when putting out fires. The full-grain leather topping is also rugged to prevent sharp objects from piercing your feet.
- 100% leather
- Vibram sole
- EVA MP midsole
- Classic style
- Pro-Flex XT insole
- Gusseted tongue
- Rugged upper for handling the extremes
- Ample cushioning
- Classic design for dual purpose use
- Relatively lightweight
- Not rebuildable
- The shanks crack a bit early
Scarpa Fuego Mountaineering Boot is a stylish shoe that sports a design that is in demand currently. Being a flatfoot, this boot can handle anything from firefighting, skiing, to trail-running. Thanks to the absence of unnecessary features, this boot is reasonably lightweight.
4. La Sportiva Men’s Glacier WLF Hiking Boot
La Sportiva Glacier is a premium quality boot that is ideal for non-frontline firefighting, trail-building, forestry, and land management duties. Due to the lack of some safety features like steel toe, this boot cannot offer excellent protection for frontline firefighting.
Nevertheless, the top leather is rugged (extremely tough) to handle the needs of demanding jobs. The structure of its synthetic sole integrates Vibram for proper traction and MtnFlex for improved comfort. Truth be told, its sole could be the most flexible in this article.
Wildland activities are burdensome-especially when you have to carry extra tools and work gear with you. As such you need a boot that doesn’t add any more weight. That’s why La Sportiva Men’s Glacier is a great pick. Super lightweight materials without needless nuances.
The adorable features of La Sportiva Men’s Glacier WLF boot include:
- Full-grain leather
- Heat resistant synthetic sole-Vibram of course
- Mountaineering style boot
- Half steel shank
- Lightweight materials
- Lightweight materials
- Sufficiently breathable
- One of the cheapest wildland boots
- Better traction Vibram sole
- Extremely multipurpose
- Not designed for frontline fire operations
- De-laminates easily
La Sportiva Glacier should be a top choice for anyone who needs a lightweight boot. It’s durable, multipurpose, and breathable. With steel shanks, Vibram sole, and heat resistant abilities, you can rest assured your feet will be in good shape while dealing with wildland fires.
5. Lowa Men’s Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot
Gold-standard, top-rated, and absolutely marvelous. Well, that how we would put it if Lowa Men’s Renegade GTX had to be described in three words. If you ever needed a WATERPROOF boot, this would be it. Just as long as the water doesn’t get in from the top.
With a climate-control footbed, plush padding (on the collar and tongue) and Gore-TEX lining, this boot are a must-have for those with tender feet. The outer leather integrates synthetic material which explains why it’s not as painfully aggressive as the rest.
Lowa Men’s Renegade GTX is ideal for hiking, climbing, mountaineering, and frontline fire operations. It’s got a classic design as well, and that means no need to carry an extra pair of shoes for after-work strolls.
The core features of Lowa Men’s Renegade GTX boot include:
- Vibram Evo outsole
- 5-inch high boot
- Heel measures approximately 1.75’’
- Climate-control footbed
- A mixture of leather and synthetic
- Full-length nylon shank
- Polyurethane Monowrap
- Heel-pull tab
- Top-quality Vibram sole
- Waterproof protection
- Premium level cushioning
- Internal stabilizing technology
- Multi-purpose boot
- No toe protection
Lowa Men’s Renegade GTX’s mountaineering design and supreme comfort make it a staple work boot in many folks closets. Albeit the almost perfect engineering, this boot doesn’t bear ample tech for active firefighting duties. Nevertheless, it’s an awesome buy for everyday use.
6. Haix Missoula Wildland Boot
We know you long for a boot with a steel toe end because people say it’s the best. That’s not entirely true. Composite elements like the ones in Haix Missoula Wildland Boot are far better than steel reinforcement. They don’t absorb or store heat. Totally safe.
This boot also tries to borrow a leaf from other reliable boots by offering other key features such as heat resistance, breathability, climate-control, and comfort. This is actually one of the few shoes you might not log a complaint against.
Another important reason why we think Haix Missoula Boot is a great purchase is because of its flat foot design. Such a configuration can stabilize gait by allowing for much freedom to execute different moves. Quality-wise, this boot is sturdy and can survive many years of being pounded.
Haix Missoula Wildland Boot boasts of the following:
- Vibram nitrile rubber sole
- Leather overlays
- Flame resistant
- NOMEX laces and stitching
- Cushioned insole
- Flatfoot design
- Non-slipping outsole
- Flame resistant material
- Does not delaminate like other wildland boots
- Adequately breathable
- Generous cushioning
- Dries quickly
- non-heat transferring composite
- Nothing serious worth mentioning
Whether you are passing through uneven terrain or climbing up a bushy mountain, Haix Missoula Wildland Boot is a reliable partner to bring along. The beauty of it is that it tries to provide the best qualities other boots have. It’s a worthy looking into.
7. Thorogood Men’s 9″ Waterproof Boot
This boot is a must-have for seasonal wildland individuals-and by that we mean people who participate in mountain activities, climbing, firefighting, trail-blazing, and other adventurous pursuits.
Besides Thorogood Men’s 9″ Waterproof Boot is a crossbreed between the station and firefighting boots, its laden with other practical features that make it an ideal pick. Its Vibram outsole not only provides reliable traction but it’s fire/flame-resistant as well.
Thanks to Goodyear Welt Construction, this boot can last so many years. Apart from the padding on the collar, comfort is also provided by the dual-density polyurethane footbed.
Also check: The 7 Best Minimalist Boots (Zero Drop) of 2019
Thorogood Men’s 9″ Waterproof Boot core features include:
- Full-grain leather
- Flame resistant
- Composite safety toe
- Goodyear Welt Construction
- Dual-density footbed
- Waterproof overlays
- Puncture-resistant outsole
- Built to last
- Fully flexible
- You will find it a bit heavy especially if you’ve never worn such a boot before
Thorogood Men’s 9″ Waterproof is an ever-ready boot that you can turn to when you don’t know what you might be facing. Given its versatile nature, you can never go wrong with it. Like the rest, it is NFPA-approved (NFPA EMS 1999).
Important things to Check Out Before Buying Wildland Fire Boots
Those who work in offices don’t need to obsess over many features because most of the time they are on their butts (pardon our French). As a firefighter, you cannot afford to go on the field with flimsy shoes that resemble a canvas shoe.
You need to crosscheck so many things before hitting the buy button. This buyer guide is super-detailed, and we believe even seasonal fire operators may gain one or two life-saving tips from it. Let’s take a look at some of the things you need to keep at the back of your mind while shopping for your next pair of NFPA approved wildland fire boots.
Quality is about safety
Yeah, quality is all about safety, and veteran wildland community members can reiterate that. When fighting the fire, you deal with a lot more than that. You have to anticipate nasty weather or challenging terrains. Sometimes you will lose track and start trailblazing all over again.
Look for safety features above everything else. Go for a shoe that is made from real leather with toe protection technology. Some people argue that composite toe caps are better than steel toes because they are lighter. They don’t conduct heat as well unlike steel which does.
You need to ensure the boot you are about to buy provides ankle support. The sole must be reliable not just in delivering ample traction but in resisting slips as well. The guys we talked with prefer Vibram soles or any material that is designed to withstand extreme temperatures.
Proper foot support is essential, especially for those who are heading into the “Badlands.” There are a host of dangers to expect from sharp objects, uneven terrain to toxic plants-let’s not even mentioned possible burns. When it comes to supporting, the sole type is usually at the forefront.
We have already pointed out that Vibram soles are reliable. To add to that, we recommend looking for a boot that offers a bit of arch support and ankle protection.
It pays to invest in a boot that can last for more than a year while providing full benefits in terms of comfort, safety, and protection. Of course, a pair that combines all the good stuff has to come at a pretty penny.
Top quality leather, abrasion, and fire resistant soles and other things such as reinforced toe ends are the core indicators of a long-lasting shoe. While saving a few bucks every time we shop makes us happy, we would advise you to not penny pinch on wildland boots.
Must meet the standard requirements
If a boot is not certified by NFPA or any other recognized wildland firefighting institution as protective footwear, drop it like it’s hot. Why? Because boots that don’t conform to the given standards will get your feet caught in the crossfire-literally.
Obviously, not all boots that sport NFPA and other approval certifications will be entirely efficient, but they provide good-enough protection. FYI, the best wildland firefighter boots can be regarded as a solid contingency plan in case things get heated.
Of course, you are not looking for sneakers or shoes for painful feet that come with dense padding. However, buying a firefighter boot that bears ample cushioning can make your day less uncomfortable. If you work as a correctional officer, read this review.
Again, you are not going to get frontline operation boots that sport high-end padding because most of them are rugged. They are designed for combat operations, and thus toughness is usually the hallmark than softness. Nevertheless, some boots are still comfy.
It’s perfectly okay to acquire a boot meant specifically for firefighting. In fact, it’s what we root for. However, having a shoe that can accompany you to put out a forest fire and later on hit the town for some groceries is a big plus.
If you stick to utility boots only, you may be compelled to drag an extra pair with you all through so you can put it on after work. If you go back to our list, you’ll find some good-looking dual purpose shoes.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wildland Fire Boots
Here are a couple of FAQs to go through so you can familiarize yourself with wildland boots:
Why Do I have to insist on NFPA approved wildland fire boots?
Because they have been tested and found to be ideal for fighting fires. In a world full of beguiling marketing slogans, (we can call them empty words) people produce imitations for the sake of making a sale.
The only way to avoid the fakes is by looking for legit certifications such as NFPA or any other recognized firefighting institution.
What are firefighter boots made of?
Previous wildland fire boots were mainly made of leather or rubber. The current model’s sport improved leather and other synthetic materials like Nomex that are good at resisting heat. These materials also do keep out water as well.
Other materials to look for include Vibram soles, silicon-tanned leather, Crosstech lining, PU foam, and Kevlar threading. Most boots will be tough enough to resist chemicals but if you are skeptic then look for an element that assures that.
Any chance a firefighter boot will expand to fit my feet?
Huh, that’s a nice question. Unlike most shoes, wildland boot is super tough because the work conditions necessitate that. Therefore they might not expand as you can expect them to do. This means you need to order your shoe in exact measurements.
Let’s be frank with you; it would be better if your boot leaves a bit of space for breathing and toe movement. Shoes that fit snugly can be a pain in the butt when the temperatures hit the extremes.
How to choose wildland fire boots?
From the buyer guide section above, you should be able to make a wise decision next time. Just stick to what we said and insist on the materials we have talked about. If you are in doubt, just revisit this article for some clarification.
This is it good people; we have come to the end of this somewhat long article. But before we close the curtains, a bit of reminder won’t do any harm. When scouting for the best wildland fire boots, pay attention to the quality of the leather and sole.
There is a massive movement towards mountaineering boots-those with a lower-lying heel because they tend to go easy on the back and knees. There is no point to don a lovely pair of wildland boots only to end up nursing painful aches later in life. Learn to listen to what your body needs.
If you find yourself in doubt on what to pick, most of the offers we have reviewed are well-suited to safeguard your feet. They are also NFPA approved so rest assured they will do their work sufficiently.
Is there a boot that is so outstanding that we missed out? Feel free to let us know via the comment section below.