The Pros and Cons of Zippers in Tactical Boots
Over the past two decades, there has been a concerted move by law enforcement personnel and first responders to tactical boots with zippers on the side, which allows the wearer to don or remove the boot without lacing or unlacing them.
Zippers make getting into our out of your boots quick and easy. No more time spent lacing and unlacing. This is great for anyone who has to spring into action quickly or who needs to take their boots off to avoid tracking dirt into the house.
Zippers also allow you to repeat the fit every time you put on your boots. When you unlace and re-lace your boots, you might be a bit tighter or a bit looser than the last time. With zippers, you can be assured of a high degree of repeatability.
How to I adjust my zippered boots?
The first time you put on a pair of tactical boot with a side zipper, we recommend that you zip up the zipper and then put the boot on as you would a boot without the zipper. Adjust the tightness of the laces over the course of the first day to get a good fit and ensure you are comfortable. Once you are satisfied, tie the laces into a double knot, locking them in place. When you go off duty and need to remove your boots, you can now use your zipper. Once you get the “perfect fit,” you can probably go several weeks without touching the laces if you tie a good, solid double knot.
Do Zippers Fail?
When zippers were first introduced, they tended to fail during use. That was more than a decade ago, and initial design problems have been overcome. Today, a good solid, YKK zipper that goes straight up and down the side of a boot will rarely fail. We average about 2 failures per 1000 boots sold, and if the failure happens in the first year, most manufacturers will replace the boot.
Does the Military Allow Zippers?
The U.S. Military does not issue boots made with zippers, and they do not officially allow them. In our experience, plenty of military personnel do wear them, and we ship hundreds of zippered boots with to APO addresses every year. Generally speaking, they are worn in the field, and not in the garrison. But we recommend that you check with your commanding officer first!
Can Zippers be Waterproof?
Adding zipper to a boot does provide another pathway for water to enter the boot, but manufacturers add a water-proof gusset behind the zipper to ensure any water that might penetrate the zipper does not reach your foot. So yes, you can have a zipper and maintain waterproof capabilities. Just make sure the boot is promoted as waterproof and not simply water resistant.
To Zip or Not to Zip?
Unless your uniform regulations prevent wearing a tactical boot with a zipper, the advantages of a zipper outweigh the potential disadvantages. For police, sheriffs, EMTs and others who wear tactical boots, we highly recommend going with a zipper.
Where can I buy tactical boots?
You can find a variety of tactical boots at Captain Dave's and at Voodoo Tactical