Every piece of equipment and clothing when fighting fires is important. From the rubber of boot soles to the fabric making up their clothing, wildland firefighters have a lot to consider when choosing their apparel if it is not provided to them. Even supervisors or state agencies can benefit from knowing what boots are best for their firefighters and can even purchase in bulk when they find a safe and viable option. Wildland firefighter boots have to be a little more heavy-duty and heat resistant than regular boots. Here are ten of the best options as below.
10. Scarpa Fuego Mountaineering Boot
Fuego means fire, and these boots are made with firefighters in mind. Specifically, they are made for walking and hiking deep in treacherous mountain terrain, which is, of course, the main workspace of wildland firefighters. A Vibram sole and one hundred percent leather uppers that are long enough to tighten over pants but adjustable enough to take on and off with relative ease make these boots highly protective for firefighting situations. The gusseted tongue of these boots provides extra protection by preventing any gaps. Thick treads and tightly stitched seams guarantee durability and the fire, ash, and smoke prevention wildland firefighters need. With stiff support and solid construction, these boots are an excellent choice.
9. AdTech Logger Work Boot
The classic look of these boots is appealing to firefighters across different stations and specialties. While they are meant for logging, by the same sort of process they are easily meant for firefighting in mountainous, heavily wooded areas. The leather is full-grain oiled, meaning it is heat resistant and moisture resistant. Both qualities are highly important when fighting fires, as the heat from the flames and ember coupled with the moisture used to fight them can create messy situations when improper footwear is used. AdTech’s wildland firefighter boots boast a five hundred degree heat resistance and imported rubber sole. The hooks and eyelets are brass and steel and strong enough to withstand tightening and adjusting over a long period. These boots are longer on top than many pairs and the laces go all the way up for extra security.
8. La Sportiva Men’s Glacier WLF Hiking Boot
For firefighters who prefer more ankle mobility, La Sportiva’s lower ankled boot is an excellent choice. Available in two shades of tan/beige, it is an ideal boot for those involved in post-fire cleanup but may not be the recommended choice for frontline firefighting. This distinction is mainly due to the low shaft height, as the more exposed the ankle the more likely it is to catch on something dangerous. The wavelike pattern of the treads is excellent for preventing slips and stumbles in a variety of terrains. Backpacking and trail building are other possible uses for this boot, as is simply hiking and camping or other recreational activities.
7. Scarpa Bronze Mountaineering Boot
Like other mountaineering boots by Scarpa, these boots prioritize safety and protection over cloudlike softness. As such, these boots are more about proper alignment and function than they are about cloudlike softness and relaxing comfort. The double tongue and inch and a half-sole do provide some degree of comfort, however. A solid shaft and steel plate to protect from sharp objects are important, and both are features these boots have. But also important is maneuverability, as wearing shoes that have no give whatsoever is just as dangerous as wearing improper shoes or the wrong size. These boots are a good compromise between those two extremes.
6. Danner Men’s Fire and Safety Boot
Danner, a giant in the heavy-duty footwear industry, earns another gold medal with these boots. There are two options and both have heavy leather uppers, but one is rough-out and one is smooth. The texture is more about personal preference, as both options are water and fire-resistant. Also, a notable feature of these boots is their lightweight design and moisture-wicking lining. Keeping fire off of the feet is good, but keeping feet from sweating to the point of injury is also excellent. The boots are designed with movement in mind and combine modern lightweight design with materials that boast a heavy-duty protection level.
5. Fuego Mountaineering Boot
Classic leather upper and thick rubber soles make this boot not only comfortable but highly functional. While excessive movement may create some hot spots and blistering without improper socks, once these boots are fully broken in it becomes apparent that they are valuable pieces of footwear for wildland firefighters. The traction of these boots has multiple textures and pieces, which increases the likelihood of excellent slip protection. When ash and debris become soggy and weighed down it can even be slippery, and slick-bottom boots simply do not work. These, however, have excellent traction for such ordeals.
4. Thorogood Men’s Boot
With a side zipper, this boot immediately sets itself apart. A primary criticism of supportive, high-ankle boots is that they can take some time to lace up and untie, which can be an issue in crucial times like a fire breaking out in a national park. Side zippers like the ones featured here allow for boots to be laced as tight as the wearer needs while also allowing for a quick and easy on-and-off. Another fantastic feature boasted by these boots is that the uppers are made of one hundred percent oiled leather, making them water and moisture resistant as well as resistant to extreme heat. Storm-welt construction by Goodyear and a breathable mesh lining make these among the top favorite boots for wildland firefighting, and they earn the distinction.
3. Danner Bull Run Moc Toe Work Boot
Sometimes the boots needed by wildland firefighters are less about frontline firefighting and more about the safe cleanup and battling smoldering embers, lung-clogging ash, and mushy, muddy forest floors where flames once raged. These boots have very short shafts and so are less suitable for frontline work. However, they do have a “Danner Wedge” outsole that makes the boots oil, moisture, and slip-resistant. These are ideal qualities for shoes to have in the situations mentioned above. When it comes to supporting, these boots offer a solid sole and electrical hazard protection. In situations where, for example, a forest fire is started by a power line snaking through the trees and malfunctioning, electrocution is a concern for the cleanup crew especially if there are broken or fallen lines. These boots are perfect for such a situation.
2. Carhartt Waterproof Wedge Soft Toe Work Boot
These boots are available in four color options and have leather uppers and a rubber sole that, when dry, helps to protect against electrical shock. Even so, these boots are completely waterproof and manage to remain breathable. Carhartt is an easily recognizable brand for many people, and with items like this, they more than earn the recognition. Another feature of these boots that is sure to satisfy firefighters working in wet conditions, such as cleanup, is the cushion comfort insole. Supportive boots are good, but supportive boots that also cradle and comfort the foot are better.
1. Men’s Premium Leather Waterproof Work Boots
A back pull loop and easy lace-up construction make this boot the perfect combination of durability, style, comfort, and function. A brightly colored mesh liner allows for breathability and helps to prevent the foot from overheating. The waterproof leather is soft and well-oiled as it is, but adding another layer and letting it completely dry before use helps to increase the durability. The traction of these boots cinches them as the gold medal choice. It is designed in a way that radiates each section out from the middle, a design that not only helps with traction but increases balance.