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Law enforcement officers protect people and property every day. They patrol neighborhoods day and night, control traffic, arrest criminals, and respond to emergencies. To help them deliver their duties, police officers need the right gear. And boots are one of the most important pieces of gear for all law enforcement officers. From patrolling the streets to chasing after bad elements, police officers are on their feet almost every minute of the day. Therefore, if you are a police officer, then you need to invest in a solid pair of boots. Proper footwear will protect you against various hazards while making sure your feet remain comfortable throughout your shift. If you are buying police boots for the first time, here are some key features that you should check out to ensure you are investing in the right product.
Comfort and Fit
Whether you are a highway patrol officer, a fish and game warden, a sheriff or a traffic police officer, your boots should provide optimal comfort so that you can deliver your duties with ease. Painful ankles, blisters, and mangled feet can significantly reduce your athletic and working capabilities. Considering that you will be spending most of your time wearing boots, you need to make sure that you purchase a pair that fits properly and offers exceptional comfort. A high-quality pair of police boots should provide great ankle and arch support, to ensure your feet remain happy and healthy throughout your shift.
When it comes to sizing and fit, you should ensure that you get the measurements right. Just because you wear size 8 tennis shoes doesn’t mean size 8 tactical boots will fit you comfortably. Boots and shoes have different built configurations. Most outlets that sell police boots have tools that you can use to take accurate measurements. Staff will also help you to find the right pair of boots for your foot configuration and size. If you are purchasing boots from a physical retail store, then you will have an opportunity to fit them there and assess them. If you are buying them from online platforms such as Amazon, most sellers will allow you to return the boots in exchange for another pair or refund.
You also need to remember that your feet will expand throughout the day. This means that a pair of boots can fit comfortably in the morning, only to start pinching your toes in the evening. It’s therefore advisable to try on boots towards the end of the day after your feet have already expanded. And if you use aftermarket orthotic inserts or insoles, don’t forget them when you are trying on a pair of police boots, since they will definitely affect the fit. Some police boots come with replaceable insoles while others are non-removable. The model you choose will depend on your preferences.
Durability and Materials
One of the most important things to consider when investing in a pair of police boots is how they are built. The materials used to build the boots as well as the method used will determine their durability. If a pair of boots is made of high-quality materials, it’s highly likely they will last longer, compared to one made of flimsy or low-quality materials. For the materials, you need to examine the different components of the boots, including the upper, insole and outsole. Most tactical boots come with uppers made of full-grain leather, split-grain leather, nubuck leather, or synthetic materials.
Full-grain leather is one of the most popular materials used to make police boots. It’s sturdy, durable and abrasion-resistant. Also, full-grain leather is also water-resistant. Boots made of full-grain leather tend to have a longer break-in period, compared to those made of synthetic materials. They also tend to be heavier. Also, you should note that different materials are meant for different applications. If you spend most of your time chasing after criminals or patrolling the streets, then you should go for boots made of high-quality leather. On the other hand, if you spend most of your time working from an office or in a less demanding environment, then a pair of boots made of synthetic materials might be sufficient for your needs.
You also need to check the laces. Poor quality laces can rip, or break when you are in the middle of your shift. And if you were chasing a bad element, then you will be forced to abandon your chase. If you happen to love a certain pair of boots but the laces they come with are of poor quality, then you should upgrade to a sturdier option. If you are buying a pair of boots with side zippers, you need to ensure that those zippers are running smoothly. A broken zipper system can render your boots useless, even if they are new. Another important feature to check is the quality of the stitching as well as the construction method used. Police boots made of Goodyear welt construction are more durable compared to those whose components have been glued together. Also, boots made of Goodyear welt construction are resoleable.
Waterproof and Breathable
As a law enforcement officer, there is a high chance that you will come across wet conditions several times in the course of your work. And the last thing you want to worry about is wet feet or shoes when patrolling the streets or responding to an emergency. Choosing a pair of waterproof police boots will ensure that your feet remain dry at all times, even when you encounter water or moist conditions.
Breathability is equally important when it comes to tactical boots such as police boots. Considering that you will be working several hours, you might not have an opportunity to remove your shoes and allow your feet to cool down. But if your pair of tactical boots is equipped with moisture-wicking and ventilation features, then your feet will remain cool, dry and fresh throughout your shift. However, it’s important to note that some waterproof and water-resistant boots tend to have poor breathability. Therefore, you need to evaluate your working environment and then choose a pair of boots that suits your situation.
The outsole is probably one of the most important components in tactical boots. Considering that it’s the part of the shoe that comes into contact with the ground, the outsole will not only protect your feet against sharp or harmful objects, it also supplies grip and traction. The traction that the boots offer is as important as other features. If you are running in wet conditions or surfaces, the outsole of your boots might mean all the difference between standing your ground and losing your footing. Vibram outsoles are among the best when it comes to traction. These outsoles are made of high-grade rubber, which is resistant to a wide range of industrial chemicals. It’s also non-slippage and non-marking.
Height and Weight
When looking for police boots, you should also consider their height. Height will affect the comfort level and support. For instance, low-cut boots offer more freedom of movement and less support. On the other hand, high-cut boots offer more protection to your legs and less ankle mobility. Your job demands and personal preferences should be the deciding factor when it comes to height. Weight is also an important factor to consider when choosing police boots. As much as most people don’t pay attention to weight, if your boots are too heavy, then they will wear your feet down quite fast. If possible, go for a pair of boots that you can comfortably move around with without feeling as if you are dragging bricks on your feet.
Cushioning and Support
As noted earlier, you will be spending a considerable amount of your feet either walking or standing. This means that you will be putting a significant amount of strain on your feet. If you are wearing shoes that don’t have adequate cushioning, then you might end up with knees, back and legs. Therefore, you need to make sure that the boots you choose have adequate cushioning. And if you have a foot condition such as plantar fasciitis, arthritis, diabetes or bunions, then you should choose your boots carefully. Plantar fasciitis police boots should have ample cushioning, ankle support and arch support, to ensure you have a comfortable and pain-free experience as you serve and protect.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Now that you’ve taken the time and effort to research and purchase your preferred police boots, you need to maintain them in great condition, if you want to maximize your investment. Regular cleaning and shining will help to minimize your boots’ wear and tear while keeping your feet comfortable and happy throughout your shift. So, how do you maintain your duty boots properly?
Here are some tips that you can use:
- Clean Your Boots: Deep cleaning your boots every day is not only impossible but also unnecessary. On some days, your boots will only have a few spots of dirt while in others they will take a real beating and end up with all types of dirt. At a minimum, you should wipe them with a brush every day to remove grime and dirt. If you do this consistently, you will prevent the build-up of dirt and grime. And for the hard-to-reach areas, you can use Q-tip or an old toothbrush to scrub the dirt away. If your boots are filled with dirt and mud, then you use a piece of wet sponge or cotton clothing to wipe them off. Make sure you allow your boots to dry completely before wearing them. When deep-cleaning your police boots, you should first remove the laces to make sure that you can comfortably reach and clean all the areas.
- Polish Your Boots: If you will be using your police boots every day, then it’s highly likely they will get scuffed and nicked. Also, it’s highly likely they will lose their shine. Therefore, you need to have a shoe shine kit in your home. Your shoeshine kit should contain a cotton polishing rag, horsehair shine brush, Q-tips, cotton balls, newspaper, and black shoe polish. Once you’ve assembled this kit, you can then use your preferred method to polish your boots.
- Weatherproof Your Police Boots: If you live in an area that receives plenty of rain and snow, then it’s highly advisable to weatherproof your boots. Salt, water and various other elements can significantly damage your boots, thus shortening their lifespan. An oil-based silicone spray is one of the best products for weatherproofing leather boots. You can also use acrylic polymer spray to weatherproof your boots. When applied, it forms a flexible, microscopic layer on the surface of the boots, which resists water penetration while allowing leather to breathe.
- Invest in Shoetrees: Some people assume that shoetrees are only designed for fancy or high-end dress shoes. However, that is not the case. Shoetrees will do a great job of helping your boots to maintain their shape.
As much as maintaining your boots might appear overwhelming and time-consuming, the benefits will be worth it. Taking a few minutes of your time every day to take care of your boots will extend their life and protect your valuable investment.
When you are tasked with maintaining law and order, you can never be certain how each day will turn out. And that’s why you need to choose a pair of police boots that can handle everything that might come your way in your line of work. Whether you are looking for heavy-duty police boots for working in hazardous conditions or a lightweight option for chasing criminals, the above tips will help you to find a suitable pair of tactical boots that align with your needs and personal preferences.