Military Boots Buyer’s Guide – Important Terms

army_bootsWhether you are purchasing your first pair of military boots or you want to replace a pair you have had for several years, it is important to understand a variety of common 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.


Desert Boots

Desert boots are essentially combat boots designed for wear in dry, high-temperature environments. Not only are they breathable to keep feet comfortable, but they also keep sand out of the foot bed. Often, they are tan suede, and called hot weather or temperate weather desert boots. The temperate weather option simply 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 up phenomenal traction.



This is a nitrogen-filled disk in the heel of Bates boots that allows altered levels of firmness and stability in the heel, important for those who spend a lot of time on their feet or who climb frequently.


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 damage or scuffs.


Lace Garage

This is essentially a small pocket at the top of the boot that provides a place to store excess lace length. This is perfect for outings when 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.



Military BootsIt 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 are, and just as they prevent moisture from entering the shoe, they prevent moisture from escaping. For this reason, waterproof boots are not for hot weather conditions.

As you can see, there are a number of terms to keep in mind and understand when you shop for your next pair of military boots. Most importantly, remember that standard issue means any number of things, so look for this description when you make your buying decisions.

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