Military Boots Buyer’s Guide – Important Terms

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Whether you are purchasing your first pair of military boots or you want to replace a pair you have had for years, it is important to understand the terms you may come across while shopping.

Berry Compliant

These boots must comply with the Berry Amendment, a federal regulation passed during WWII requiring the Department of Defense to procure goods made in the USA. As such, when you purchase a boot labeled “Berry Compliant”, they are 100% made in the USA – from the materials to the construction of the boot itself.

AR670-1 Compliant

AR670-1 refers to U.S. military uniform regulations.  According to our sources, AR670 boots must meet the following guidelines:

  • 8 to 10 inches in height
  • Tan or coyote flesh-out cattle hide leather
  • Plain toe and sole matching color of the upper
  • Rubber or polyether polyurethane outsole
  • Outsole will not exceed 2 inches in height when measured from bottom of sole
  • Outsole will not extend up the back of the heel or over the top of the toe
  • All leather upper or leather and nonmesh fabric

Refer to your command for the final word on the details required for your uniform.

Desert Boots

Desert boots are combat boots designed for wear in dry, high-temperature environments. Not only are they breathable to keep your feet comfortable, but they also keep sand out of the foot bed. Often, they are made of tan suede, and can be called “hot weather” or “temperate weather” desert boots. The temperate weather option also provides water resistance whereas hot weather boots do not.

Military Boots

Heel Kicker

A heel kicker is a series of serrations on the outsole that allow you to brake while sliding down a hill. These kickers also offer phenomenal traction.


This is a nitrogen-filled disk in the heel of Bates boots that allows you to customize the level of firmness and stability in the heel.

Kick Plate

A kick plate fits on the back of the heel, allowing you to use the toe of one boot to remove the other without causing scratches or scuffs.

Lace Garage

This is a small pocket at the top of the boot that provides a place to store excess lace length. This is perfect for situations where brush or equipment may snag the laces.


The midsole is a layer between your foot and the actual sole of the shoe that provides cushion, shock absorption, and comfort. Shoes with thick midsoles are best for individuals who spend a lot of time on their feet.

Standard-Issue Boot

A standard issue boot is one supplied to you by the military. Because the military uses a number of different boots, there is not a single standard-issue brand or style.


It is possible to submerge a waterproof boot up to the gusset of the tongue without getting your feet wet. These are not as breathable as other boots, and since they prevent moisture from entering the shoe, they also tend prevent moisture from escaping. For this reason, waterproof boots are not the best for hot weather conditions.


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