As a firefighter and EMT you have to spend hours on your feet, which is why making sure you have the right pair of station boots is essential.
Station boots are the footwear worn whilst performing duties about the station, practicing drills, performing maintenance tasks and community work, and also whilst you are out on any non-fire related calls and emergencies.
This means that you wear these station / duty boots the majority of the time you are at work, as a very small percentage of the calls that firefighters attend actually involve having to put on turn downs and bunker boots to fight fires.
OUR TOP PICK
These military style ankle boots by Under Armour are a great option for any firefighters and ETMs who want supple and flexible boots to wear around the station.
Customers have noted how these boots feel as soft and malleable as tennis shoes, which is ideal when you have to spend all day on your feet answering calls, presenting educational talks and performing moderate maintenance tasks.
They also have reinforced ankle support which helps to keep you on your feet for longer without feeling ankle fatigue, and stops your ankles from wringing over.
What is more, the UA toe cap protection makes these boots a sturdy defence against knocks, kicks and hazards.
They are not the most weather resistant boots on our list, nor are they they best for hard physically demanding days. However, as an easy to pull on, and comfortable pair of station standards, these Under Armour ankle boots are perfect.
- Side Zip for ease of entry
- UA ClutchFit ankle support system for support and injury prevention
- Lightweight synthetic fabric - very comfortable and cushioned
- Thick rubber sole - shock absorbant
- TUP toe cap - protects toes from knocks and falling objects
- Not suitable for snow and heavy rain
- Durability issues if worn for extensive time periods
Bates really are experts when it comes to service boots, and these ultra lite tactical boots are a bestseller for a reason.
They are wonderfully lightweight (the clue is in the name) and so do not wear your legs and feet down if you have long days of walking and running.
In fact, the cushioned midsole actually provides a good degree of bounce back to your stride, so allows you to keep going for longer without aches, pains of fatigue.
The side zip is great for easy access should you need to pull these boots on in a hurry, however some customers have noted that the tag is a little small and hard to grip hold of.
These boots protect the leg right up to the mid calf and have a slip resistant sole, meaning you can wear them in wet, slippery environments and still feel confident underfoot.
The breathable inner lining is also moisture wicking and so will keep your feet warm in cold conditions. And if you get hot the insole can be removed and washed, making these a seriously versatile duty boot option.
- Side zip for easy access
- Soft, shock absorbing midsole
- Slip resistant sole
- Removable insole
- Breathable / moisture wicking inner lining
- Very lightweight
- A bigger pull tab on the zipper would make on / off easier
Wow, Rockrooster have produced a really hardy option with these pull on leather duty boots.
The reinforced steel toe cap and steel shank midsole both make these incredibly durable and resilient boots that will protect your feet when you are working with heavy machinery or in rough and dangerous situations.
However, the added protection does mean that these boots are heavier than some other pairs on our list and will wear your legs down over long distances.
The large heel and ankle tabs are very easy to grab hold of and pull the boot on in no time, so you won’t keep your fellow firefighters waiting but will be the first one on the engine!
What is more, these boots are very comfortable. The leather moulds to your foot shape, as does the memory foam insole, which cradles the contours of your foot perfectly, ensuring you don’t get sores and blisters.
And the outsole has been treated so that it is oil resistant, water proof, shock absorbent and even static dispelling. These are the perfect choice for firefighters who know that they have to put their feet through arduous daily wear.
- Steel toe caps for maximum toe protection
- Large heel and ankle tabs for super speedy on / off
- Resilient leather upper for all weathers and environments
- Contoured footbed with memory foam technology for supreme comfort
- Non slip, deep tread outsole
- Moisture wicking interior lining
- Sizings are a little large
- Very heavy so not great for walking duties
These Reebok duty boots aren’t advertised at ‘rapid response’ for no reason. They are in fact super easy to pull on and off thanks to the large side zip that provides a wide leg and ankle opening.
What is even better about these boots is that they also have adjustable laces running up the full length of the boot. These laces can be cinched to the tightness you desire and allow the boots to hug your lower leg, ankle and foot very snuggly.
This makes them great for station duties and light daily tasks.
But they are not just lightweight and comfortable, these duty boots really can handle most firefighting EMT duties as they also have a composite toe cap that will protect you from falling objects and knocks, as well as having a thick leather upper that provides plenty of protection and support.
The outsole is the real star of the Reebok duty boot, as it has electrical hazard protections built in, as well as chemical resistance, waterproofing, oil resistance and great traction even on slippery surfaces.
Whether you are working near water, chemicals, toxins, electricity or oil, these boots will serve you well.
- Side zip for easy on / off
- Laces along length of boot for snug fit and support
- Electrical hazard protection
- Athletic contoured footbed
- Composite toe cap for protection
- Multifaceted outsole
- Can rub to begin with so be sure to wear them in
- Quite expensive
These Haix-Airpower XR1 are the only boots on our list that are NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) standards. Due to their 9 inch height, they are actually certified as wildland appropriate. Any boots that are less than 9 inches tall are not wildland suitable.
These boots are very, very durable and can last for years if they are well looked after. This means that the high price point is more justifiable because these boots provide plenty of wear.
They are also very hardy and protective, having composite toe caps and thick leather uppers that protect against hazards and injuries.
The outsole on these Haix AirPower boots are thick, slip resistant and chemical resistant, as well as being waterproof and shock absorbent.
They really are able to cope with any duties that you might face in the line of duty as a firefighter, and the front zip means that they can be pulled on and off very quickly and easily.
However, the front zip does mean that some snugness of fit is lost and the ankle section of the boot is not as supportive as other boots on our list.
- Incredibly durable and resilient leather upper
- 9 inch height protects lower leg
- Composite toe cap for protection
- Lightweight comparative to their size
- Extremely long lasting - over years of wear
- Front zip for easy on / off
- Expertly designed insole for comfort
- Expensive price point
- Front zip compromises fit
- Tough to break in
And finally, Timberland is famous for making excellent walking, hiking and trail footwear, which is why their ledge ankle boots are ideal for firefighter EMTs who have to cover long distances and be on their feet all day.
These boots provide excellent comfort and support to minimize fatigue and discomfort, and they really are designed by experts.
The boots are ankle height and allow a wide range of uninhibited ankle movement for all physical activities, be it running, walking or climbing. The thick, rubber outsole has deep treads for excellent grip, and are suitable to wear in all weather conditions.
The waterproofing technology is second to none on these boots, meaning you won’t have to worry about getting cold and numb feet even in heavy rain.
And you can also wear these boots in snow (although you might want to wear thick socks as the boots are not insulated).
- 100% waterproofed leather upper
- Sealed seams and joins to prevent leaks
- Rust proof lacing system - snug fit
- Contoured insole for comfort and support
- Cushioned ankle collar for comfort
- Suitable for snow and extreme weather
- Heavy considering their size
- Not insulated (but fine in the cold if worn with thick socks)
The Best Boots For You (A Note Of Cost)
The boots that we have suggested in this list have been judged on a few key features. Comfort, functionality, durability, accessibility and fit are all key factors that we have kept in mind when making our selection, and you should do the same.
When deciding what boots are best for your own personal use you should also take into account what you will be wearing them for, how much you will be wearing them, and what your personal price point is.
Many firefighters and EMTs are volunteers and do irregular and infrequent shifts so may not be willing to pay as much for station boots. Others are career firefighter EMTs and will wear their boots day in, day out, meaning that having a premium pair is essential.
These things are personal to you, however, we recommend that spending a little extra in order to get a really good pair of station boots is never a waste of money.
What you pay up front for the initial cost of a premium pair, you reap back in longevity, as you will not have to replace them anytime soon. You will also save yourself potential doctors bills by giving yourself the best protection against injury, discomfort and irritation.
Whichever pair appeals to you will depend partly on your personal preference and style, as well as on your individual situation and work schedule.
Some people perform mainly administrative jobs around the fire station and might therefore value a soft, flexible leather over a tough, hardy leather.
Others might work in particularly wet and wintery climates and know that they need a waterproof boot with good grip on the outsole. Be your circumstances what they may, here is a list of things that you should bear in mind when deciding which station boots are best for you.
Easy To Get On And Off
One of the most important things about station boots is that they need to be easily accessible.
As a firefighter EMT, you have to be on alert and ready to spring into action whenever an emergency call comes in, and in many cases, the speed at which you and your team assemble and depart from the station will be the difference between life and death for those in trouble at the other end.
For this reason, firefighter EMTs cannot be fiddling with laces and other time consuming fastenings when you come to boot their boots on. Instead, a slip-on or zip-up design is always preferable.
Slip-on station boots need to have a strong and prominent heel tag that you can easily grip hold of in order to pull against your foot and get your foot inside the footwell quickly (no time for shoehorns here!).
Many firefighters opt for slip-on boots as they are arguably the fastest kind of design, however they can lack structure and support as a result. For speed as well as ankle support, zip-up boots are a great option.
You can get boots with side or front zips depending on which you prefer, and they are well fitted for excellent comfort and structure.
Comfort really is key when it comes to station boots because you are required to spend so much time on your feet as a firefighter EMT. In order to give your best and serve others effectively, you cannot be distracted by discomfort and pain caused by cheaply made boots.
That is why it is arguably better to pay more for real leather that will become supple and mould to your foot shape over time where plastic boots will not. When a boot does not mould to your foot shape there is a danger that you will experience sore spots and pressure points.
Over time these can cause blisters, corns and bunions (which can cost you time off work if you let them get too bad). Things to look out for when weighing up the comfortability of your boots include:
- Size of toe box - a wide and deep toe box will provide you with plenty of wiggle room for your toes. This will not only stop you from getting blisters and sores, but will also improve your circulation, posture and prevent bunions.
- Cushioning of insole and ankle collar - Insoles that are plush and cushioned prevent hot spots from developing underfoot. Your body weight can be evenly distributed and there won’t be pressure spots where rubbing and irritation occur. In the same way, a soft, pillowy ankle collar is a great addition to any station boot as it guards against rubbing around the achilles tendon and the neck of the ankle. These areas are sensitive and need to be mobile as you have to dart into action, run, climb and bend.
- Adjustability of the heel height - your running and walking gait is affected by the heel height of your footwear, as is your standing posture. If you have an adjustable heel you can alter the height to suit your purposes and your natural posture so that you stay aligned and don’t suffer back and hip issues.
- Breathability of the insole and tongue - in any job where you have to stand all day, breathability is key to ensure comfort and hygiene. Hot, sweaty feet can become itchy, irritated and very distracting, as well as becoming smelly and unpleasant. Station boots with breathable linings, tongues and insoles are a great way to combat this.
- Suppleness of the upper - having a soft, flexible material for your station boot will make all the difference to your comfort and your performance across the day. A leather boot will initially feel stiff, and therefore you must break them in at home before trying to complete a full shift in them. Once broken-in however, a leather boot will move with your foot and ankle and facilitate your movements rather than hindering them.
Station / duty boots really do have to be able to withstand quite a lot. Not only are they worn day in, day out by firefighters who work everyday, but the nature of that work is also very demanding.
The environments that you are called to can be extremely wet, rough, cold, irregular, slippery, hot and even toxic. For this reason, your duty boots need to have thick, resilient outsoles made of hard rubber or some other equally durable material.
Your boots stand to get scuffed, kicked, soaked, battered and worn down and they need to be able to cope with all this whilst keeping your feet protected and supported inside.
The more resilient the material of the boot’s upper, the longer their lifespan will be which in turn will save you from having to replace them regularly.
Your station / duty boots need to be versatile and able to cope with many different environments and activities. You must be able to climb, run and walk in them so they must be flexible enough to allow you to do these things.
However, they must also be strong enough to protect your toes against falling objects, knocks and shocks. Some have steel toe caps to help with this.
There is a fine balance to the functionality of the ideal station boots and lots will depend on the specific type of work you will be using them for. Here are some more functionality features to look out for:
- Waterproof - duty boots need to be waterproof because they may be exposed to flood waters, rain, rivers, burst water tanks and many other types of wet environments.
- UV Resistant - Many boots are treated with a special UV resistant coating these days which is useful for firefighters who work outside a lot and are therefore exposed to sunlight regularly.
- Chemical resistance - boots that have specialist chemical resistant coatings are also very useful because you could be called to the scene of a chemical spill, or an industrial setting where there are chemicals about.
- Electrical resistance - As a firefighter EMT you may be called to locations where electrical fires have occurred or where the risk of electric shock is high. What is more, whilst working with and maintaining specialist firefighting equipment there is a heightened risk of electrical shock. For this reason, duty boots with thick, rubber soles are desirable as they guard against accidents and injury.
- Shock absorbance - You have to jump down from heights, hop on and off engines, run and climb ladders as a firefighter EMT, and all these actions can cause a great deal of impact and weight to be placed on your joints. If not properly protected your ankles, knees, hips and lower back can all suffer from repeated jarring over time. For this reason, shock absorbent soles that soak up much of the impact from physical action, are very useful and desirable.
Even if you buy a pair of duty boots that possess all the qualities we have mentioned above, they will be useless if the fit is wrong. It is important to always bear in mind what you tend to wear on foot inside your boots.
If you work in a cold climate and always wear very thick socks, then you will need to factor this added thickness in when deciding what size boot to go with.
It is always a good idea to measure your foot with a ruler or tape measure and then look up the size chart of the brand or company you are ordering from.
This is especially important when you are ordering your duty boots online rather than going into a store to get them professionally fitted.Brands differ slightly in their sizing sometimes and it can be the difference between picking a half size up or down.
If you are on the cusp of a size then it is a good idea to round up as having more room is generally better than less room. Reading the customer reviews online will give you a good idea of any sizing anomalies to look out for.
We would usually say that you shouldn’t be swayed by brand popularity because it is largely down to marketing, however this is not the case with station / duty boots.
For such a specialist product there are certain brands who really tend to know what they are doing and the quality of their products is superior for it. Top firefighting apparel brands include:
- Dr Martens
- Haix Air-Power
- Under Armour
Going with anyone of these brands is a safe bet if you are buying your first pair of station boots and want to guarantee that you get quality and durability.
Although there are cheaper brands and boots out there, these brands are actually very good value because you get great quality for your money.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Kind Of Boots Do Firefighters Wear?
Firefighters actually have three different types of footwear defending on what duties they are carrying out.
Station boots are worn in and around the station when carrying out administrative duties, duty boots are worn whilst performing active duties and non-fire related call outs, and fire boots are the large protective rubber boots worn when tackling a fire.
Station / duty boots are a dual functioned style of footwear that can be worn for all duties other than firefighting.
How Much Do Firemen’s Boots Weigh?
Different fire departments use different brands of rubber fire boots for their uniform standards. However, the average pair of rubber fire boots weigh around 7 lbs.
Are Wellies Fireproof?
Although firefighters' fire boots look similar to wellies they are in fact much thicker, heavier and more resilient than your average pair of puddle waders.
Wellies are fire proof because they are made of rubber, however that does not mean that they are necessarily up to firefighting safety standards.