What do you look for in boots?

DragonClaw

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I've got to get some new boots for oral board and clinicals which should be soon, they've got to be black (as imagined), but other than that, what features do you find helpful?

I am used to boots, it's kind of all I wear (walking boots, cowboy boots, 3 lbs a piece shin high hunting boots, thigh high suede boots)

Is the such a thing as "Too tall"? When it rains, it gets pretty dang muddy and you'll sink in a bit, especially if you're off the main road (happened with an 18 wheeler crash when I was a ride along)

I've never had steel toe before (to my chagrin ), what do you think about that?

Maybe I'm overthinking, yes, but I just don't want to miss anything. Can't be Risky Rescue without flashy new boots.
 

NPO

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I only wear 9" boots. I can't be convinced that a shoe is acceptable for EMS. I need the ankle support. I prefer a size zip but my last 4 pairs have been Haix which are front zip. Zipper is a requirement for me.

Beyond that comfort and durability. Price is the last thing I worry about. If it's good, I'll pay for it. Feet are worth it.
 

mgr22

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When I worked in snowy climates, I wore high-on-the-calf, summer-weight "Army boots." I found the lighter uppers more comfortable and could always wear extra socks when it was cold. I switched to a model that just covered the ankles when I moved down South. They were easier and quicker to lace, although not as protective.

Having a hard toe (not sure it was steel) saved me from injuries several times.

I learned the hard way that the tread pattern is important. If the sole has lots of little crevices, it'll be harder to clean out all that gunk you don't want to track around.

I never tried a zipper, but I agree with NPO's point about comfort and durability being more important than price. Remember to shop for boots later in the day, after you've been on your feet for a while. Better to go a little bigger than smaller.
 

Akulahawk

EMT-P/ED RN
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Shop later in the day so your feet will be larger than when you wake in the morning. I agree - slightly large is better than something that fits great when you get up and causes much pain as your feet swell during the day. Also wear your "winter" socks... trust me. Swollen feet in your winter/cold weather socks could very easily change the size/width of boot you wear.

Beyond that, comfort, durability, safety (hard/steel toes), and good ankle support are a must. Bloodborne pathogen protection, if available, is a bonus. I also look at arch support and if it has a decent heel cup. I will definitely pay good money for boots if they are truly worthy. I also tend to wear my boots out so they're often more of a relatively frequently replaced item. That being said, I've had boots that lasted for several years before I was able to wear 'em out.

Now that I'm primarily working in the ED as an RN, I do a similar thing with shoes... comfort, durability, good arch support and a decent heel cup are big... and once I find a shoe style (or a few) that do the job well and keep my feet from squealing loudly at me at the end of the day, I'll pretty much stick to that.
 

NomadicMedic

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I've been wearing 5.11 ATAC boots for the last 12 years or so. I recently switched to Haix airpower and love em. Comfort, support and durability are the keys. The front zip on the Haix is also nice. They had a really good deal for instructors, so it was as cheap as a new pair of 5.11s
 

DragonClaw

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I've been wearing 5.11 ATAC boots for the last 12 years or so. I recently switched to Haix airpower and love em. Comfort, support and durability are the keys. The front zip on the Haix is also nice. They had a really good deal for instructors, so it was as cheap as a new pair of 5.11s
I was eyeballing the atac hardcore.
 

Bullets

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I had some ATACs but i found they lasted about a year in the Northeast, so everything from cold and snowy to hot and humid with plenty of rain. Eventually the sole would pull away. I was issued a pair of Haix Special Fighters by the USAR team because they were Quad certifie for USAR, structural, wildland and EMS and liked them a lot, though they were heavy with a steel toe and shank.

I then bought the Haix Airpower X2. I went with them because i thought the composite toe and shank would be a bit lighter than steel, they run slightly large so there is room for a thicker sock in the winter and i can tighten up the front zipper in the summer, though i always wear a wool blend sock like Darn Tough. They are tall, 9inches, so ive been able to step in mud, snow and water well over the foot and not get wet. I also liked the Haix warranty and repair policy. If i have any issues with the boot i can send it in for repairs. They will resole the shoe for $50. While pricey up front, i havent replaced or had to resole them yet and they are about 2 years old, which would have cost me $200 in ATACs. I recommend them to anyone and many of my coworkers wear Haix.
 

VentMonkey

Ajaw
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Shop later in the day so your feet will be larger than when you wake in the morning. I agree - slightly large is better than something that fits great when you get up and causes much pain as your feet swell during the day.
This. IIRC, 4 pm is when they recommend you start to shop for shoes (boots?). As an avid runner I’ve abided by this until I’d had my shoe size memorized; it works.

Boot preference for me is still the Redback station boots. I love me some slip ons with a solid sole. I don’t wear and tear through them like I used to on my ground-and-pound days so these are perfect.

I do still own a pair of Rockies and some re-soled Chippewas, but again, comfort-wise there’s just no beating the slip ons, IMO.
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
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aren't you still brand new? like, not even working yet? don't go crazy on boots then. just like with a stethoscope, get something that will suffice until you finish your class, and once you get hired, then go buy a really good pair of boots.

I currently have three pairs of boots that I rotate though: a pair of front zip Haix 605109 Mens Airpower R2 Boots storm trooper boots that a former agency gave me that I wear in the city only when on the engine, a pair of size zip low cuff boots that I wear in the county (also formerly agency issued), and a pair of waterproof high ankle no laces boots (Bates I think) that were like $250, which used to be my city boots on the ambulance where we would run job to job to job. When I work special events, I usually wear a pair of slip on memory foam loafers from Walmart (which need to be replaced every 9 months or so).

Boots are a very personal thing: what one person likes and feels comfortable in, another person might take. former agency issued those Haix boots: they are clunky, uncomfortable, and heavy, but they also provide the most protection, which is why I only wear them in the city. and I would hate to have to wear them day in and day out.

you can get all types of features: waterproof, steel/safety toe, zippers (front and size, the size ones might affect the waterproofness), chemical/bloodborne pathogen protection.... the list goes on, and it as high as you are willing to spend. And after a while, you, too, will have several boots that you can rotate though.
 

DragonClaw

Forum Captain
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aren't you still brand new? like, not even working yet? don't go crazy on boots then. just like with a stethoscope, get something that will suffice until you finish your class, and once you get hired, then go buy a really good pair of boots.

I currently have three pairs of boots that I rotate though: a pair of front zip Haix 605109 Mens Airpower R2 Boots storm trooper boots that a former agency gave me that I wear in the city only when on the engine, a pair of size zip low cuff boots that I wear in the county (also formerly agency issued), and a pair of waterproof high ankle no laces boots (Bates I think) that were like $250, which used to be my city boots on the ambulance where we would run job to job to job. When I work special events, I usually wear a pair of slip on memory foam loafers from Walmart (which need to be replaced every 9 months or so).

Boots are a very personal thing: what one person likes and feels comfortable in, another person might take. former agency issued those Haix boots: they are clunky, uncomfortable, and heavy, but they also provide the most protection, which is why I only wear them in the city. and I would hate to have to wear them day in and day out.

you can get all types of features: waterproof, steel/safety toe, zippers (front and size, the size ones might affect the waterproofness), chemical/bloodborne pathogen protection.... the list goes on, and it as high as you are willing to spend. And after a while, you, too, will have several boots that you can rotate though.
Yeah, I'm new. But I don't really think I should buy cheap boots from the start. I've worn boots for enough years to know I don't want cheap ones. I don't really think it's cost effective to do that. One reason why is that I'll use the boots anyway and I've been meaning to get another pair, especially with a reinforced or steel toe.

I'm not saying I'm going to go buy the most expensive boots, but I'm not going to but the cheapest ones, either.

Edit: I bought a cheap stethoscope at first, hated it. I love my littman. I don't regret paying that much for it. I think it made my homework easier, for one. Everything was so much clearer, I'd hated it to still be using that cheap one.
 

wtferick

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I personally use the RedBack BobCat Slip On boots. Ridiculously comfy with a steel toe and easy to take off when at station. Of course...also simple to Slip on...
 

jgmedic

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Redbacks are amazing for comfort and convenience, but ****ty ankle support. Haix are amazeballs for durability and comfort, but have a wicked break in, once that's done though, perfect, i had R1's last almost 7 years. I have R2's now for fall/winter and 5.11 slip ons for summer. The Haix are just too hot for 114 summers. Not a fan of the 5.11 but they were dirt cheap. Haix made a slip on but i believe it is discontinued now.

Edit: DO NOT SKIMP ON YOUR BOOTS, esp if you end up working a busy area. Also, make sure you break them in before you wear them to work.
 

StCEMT

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5.11 atacs I believe are what I wear. I've worn this pair for over 3 years and they're still holding up.
 

DesertMedic66

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Haix are my go to. I have one pair that is 4 years old and a pair that is about 8 months old that I have never worn yet. I also have the 5.11s.

I don’t know how the Haix do in the cold or snow environment but I have no issues with them in the SoCal desert heat.
 

Ensihoitaja

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I vote for Haix, too. GSG9s are my everyday boot. I also have a pair of Airpower R8s that I use when I'm working out of a station.
 
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