Medical emergencies require you to make immediate first response. But without the best ems boots for EMTs and Paramedics, you put yourself between saving the life of another person while possibly hurting your own.
Let me put it this way:
EMS duties put you in an extremely precarious position. You’re always on the move. Your feet have to do a lot of the work as you grind from sunrise to sunset. And that means your footwear must be good enough to handle the pressure.
So in this guide, I’ll walk you through some of the best EMS work boots in the market right now. You’ll learn about the important features of each – as well as their pros and cons.
In short, if you’re interested in a guide that can help you choose the right EMTs and paramedics boots right the first time, this one is for you.
Let’s get started.
Quick Comparison Table
|Danner EMS Boots||Thorogood Men's Gen-flex2 Tactical Side Zip Boots||Redback UBBK Easy Escape Slip-On Soft Toe Black Redback Boots|
|MADE OF:100% Leather and cordura.||MADE OF:100% Leather.||MADE OF: Leather.|
|FEATURES: GORE-TEX (GTX).|
*Vibram kletterlift outsole.
|FEATURES: Full-grain leather/high-shine polishable toe cap and heel counter.|
*Goodyear Storm Welt construction.
|FEATURES: 3 layer reinforced heel for comfort and support.|
9 Best EMS Boots for EMTs and Paramedics 2021
- Danner Men’s Acadia Boots
- Thorogood Men’s 8” EMS Boots with Zipper
- Danner Men’s Tachyon 8” GTX Duty Boot
- RedbacK Bobcat UBOK Work Boots
- Haix Airpower XR2 EMS/Station Boots
- 5.11 Tactical Men’s ATAC 1.0 Waterproof Military Storm Boots
- Bates GX-8 Gore-Tex Under Armour Waterproof Boot
1. Danner Men’s Acadia Boots
Danner Acadia boots are tough and sturdy. They’re the kind you can use to log hours of rescue mission, especially in the days when you expect to be too busy to stop. Breathable and waterproof, this pair will keep your feet cool and dry and, at the same time, provide a proper shield against water. Click here to see today’s on Amazon.
Acadia 8-inch features a decent stitching, which makes the leather build more than ideal for all seasons. Its padding feels cushion-like and comfortable straight out of the box. You can be sure it’ll make walking and/or running to and from your rescue mission easy – you don’t even have to worry about foot strains.
Even better, these perform really well in environments with slippery floors. The non-slip design allows you to move easily on wet and soft tiled floors, so you can focus on being more productive and worry less about tripping and failing.
Add the vibram outsole with a uniform lug profile to the slip-resistant design, and what you get is the best ems work boots that provide better traction in almost all conditions.
- These are lightweight ems shoes.
- They are breathable and also provide better traction in different environments.
- These are waterproof work boots.
- They’re stiff, so they’ll take time to break in.
2. Thorogood Men’s 8” EMS Boots with Zipper
Thorogood understands that feet comfort is important to a paramedic like you. After all, you don’t want to engage in saving lives while endangering your own. Which means that coziness, even that of the shoes your wear for EMT job, is a number one thing to consider. Click here to see today’s price on Amazon.
The Gen Flex Jump Boots with side zip are the best Thorogood has ever built. Promising in terms of performance, this model is a perfect pair for the price.
To begin with, these boots feature a polyurethane footbed with a good cushioning. Not only does the padding deliver maximum comfort that your feet needs for extended work period, but also offers additional feet support.
The zippers on the side make the boots easy to wear and take off. The lacing system is very easy to adjust, so you get the right fit. These shouldn’t feel too loose or snugged.
As you run and walk around, your feet absorb a lot of impact. The faster you move the more the impact there is for your feet to handle. To do this without subjecting your feet to injury, Thorogood adds an Eva midsole with a 300g heel insert to the boot. This ensures Gen Flex absorbs as much impact as possible even from rough terrains.
- The rubber outsole features solid treads for slip resistance and better traction.
- Goodyear storm welded construction for strength and durability.
- These paramedic work boots are made of genuine leather.
- Not the most durable EMS boots in the market.
- These can take up to 14 days to break in.
Also Read: Best work boots for plumbers
3. 5.11 Tactical Men’s ATAC 1.0 Waterproof Military Storm Boots
5.11 Tactical is a California–based brand of clothing consisting of uniforms and tactical equipment for military, law enforcement and public safety personnel. It’s good to see a not so old brand making high quality military boots that you can buy and use for rescue mission. Click here to see today’s price on Amazon.
To be clear upfront, 5.11 tactical boots have the looks. They’re comfortable. And they’re inexpensive. It’s plain black, the not so colorful option to consider sleek. But the design and better performance overshadows the looks.
They’re flexible and strong, good option to consider if you’re in a very demanding EMS job. The upper is a combination of leather and breathable fabric which is good for sweaty feet. The synthetic rubber outsole provides better grip and traction in different conditions and the lug patterns make the sole unit sufficiently slip resistant.
On the interior part of the shoes, what you get is a smooth and cozy feel, which gives your feet the comfort you need to walk and work for extended period. The opening is big. The lacing looks really simple. And there’s even a side zipper that makes the boots easy to put on and take off.
We love how serious the 5.11 brand is about breathability. They’ve combined a blood borne pathogen resistant and waterproof membrane to not only make these breathable but also waterproof enough to keep your feet cool and dry all day.
Then there’s the durometer Ortholite footbed, which contributes to the same, giving you the comfort, you need to be in these shoes the whole day.
- The interior is well padded, feels smooth and cozy hence comfortable.
- Waterproof and breathable.
- Easy to wear and remove.
- Strong and durable build.
- Not so thick rubber sole.
4. Haix Airpower XR2 EMS/Station Boots
Haix Airpower XR boots are for the first responders who are interested in high quality ems work shoes regardless of the price. These aren’t low cost boots, so they may not be the best pick for you if you’re on a very tight budget. Click here to see today’s price on Amazon.
These boots compete head to head with the Acadia from Danner, with the quality and thought out build being almost on the same level. Which is to say that if you’re interested in boots that are just as good as the Acadia, then the Airpower XR2 are for you.
We love how Haix has optimized these work shoes for performance. In our eyes, these looks and feel like the kind of paramedic boots that you can wear and use in just about any environment.
Airpower XR2 sports a genuine leather upper that can stand up to daily use and abuse and keep logging hours of work for days. There’s a crosstech line that ensures maximum breathability. And with good airflow in and out of the boots, your feet remain cool and dry throughout the day.
While XR2’s composite toe isn’t as tough as steel toe, it still offers decent protection from falling objects, while keeping the overall weight of the boots to a minimum.
The lacing system of these black boots may be hard to figure out at first. But the 8-inch zipper, which runs all the way from the arch, should make the XR2 easy to wear and take off.
- Durable rubber outsole for better grip and traction.
- Include the brand’s climate system for outstanding temperature balance.
- The zippers make the boots easy to wear and take off.
- The leather upper is not only breathable but also hydrophobic and waterproof.
- These work boots are expensive.
- They’re somewhat heavy.
5. Bates GX-8 Gore-Tex Under Armour Waterproof Boot
Bates GX-8 boots may not be the cheapest work shoes in the market. But they’re the best alternative to Haix Airpower XR2 for any paramedic on a tight budget. Click here to see today’s price on Amazon.
The GX-8 feature a waterproof leather upper with a ballistic nylon. And it includes a Gore-Tex lining to keep the inner parts dry. The slip-resistant rubber outsole is tough and durable, able to stand up against harsh work environment and keep working perfectly. The lugs beneath aren’t that deep per se, but they offer better traction even in wet conditions.
If you’re a keen observer, like we always are, you may have noticed just how complex the lacing system of first responder boots can be. And that means tying and untying laces can be more tedious than planning a rescue mission.
Check out our reviews for Loggers Boots.
Fortunately, though, Bates makes the GX-8’s lacing as simple as possible. Once you tie the shoes to a good fit, you can just use the zipper on the side to put them on and take them off.
GX-8’s insoles feel soft and cushy, not to mention that they easily align to the structure of your feet so that every step you take is more natural than the first. The added EVA midsole not only offer an additional foot support, but also absorb and distributes impact step after step.
- Has a non-metallic shank and athletic cement construction that make walking for extended period easy.
- These work shoes are lightweight.
- They’re easy to put on and take off.
- The pair takes a lot of time to break in.
6. RedbacK Bobcat UBOK Work Boots
RedbacK Bobcat UBOK is the kind of work shoes that you can wear with your casual outfit for night dining and everyday use. Given its solid build, from proper selection of material to the thorough stitching, these boots are tough and solid for just about any kind of paramedic assignment. Click to see today’s price on Amazon.
For the first responders who are on a very tight budget, these work boots should definitely make the difference.
Bobcat UBOK may be cheap. But you should be happy to know that they’re a solid build. The upper is made of a three-piece leather, which comfortably holds your feet as you walk and run around. The toe room is just about the right size, so your fit should fit well.
RedbacK gives the sole unit a better build, making it as intuitive as that of the Acadia work boots from Danner. The air-cushioned midsoles help with shock absorption and distribution as you walk. And the synthetic rubber outsole sports good lugs that provide versatile traction and good grip in all conditions.
Because Bobcat UBOK boots are oil and slip resistant, you can wear and use them in any condition. And if you ever need work boots that offer additional arch support when walking or running to a crime or accident scene, you’ll love these ones for certain.
- Impressive design.
- Good pair of work boots that offer sufficient arch support.
- Well built, yet inexpensive.
- These don’t have steel toes.
A Buying Guide: Here’s how to choose Best Work Boots for First Responders
Choosing the best ems boots for EMTs and Paramedics isn’t hard. Because as long as you know the features to look for, it becomes easy to identify a good pair for the money. With that said, here are things to consider before spending your money on this kind of work boots.
It’s fine to wear non-waterproof boots for your first responder job. But they can only last so long in damp, rainy conditions.
Water will slowly dampen the leather upper, gradually soak in, fill up the toe box, leak into your socks, and eventually make your feet wet.
It’s important to remember that with paramedic jobs, you don’t know where your next day’s duty will take you. You might as well be required to work in the wettest environment you’ve never before. And in such a case, waterproof work boots become necessary.
Usually, waterproof ems boots are made of waterproof leather. The material is water resistant enough to perform well in damp environment.
For your comfort’s sake when walking, running, and working hard to help others, you should choose boots that feature Gore-Tex lining. Because this layer resists water straight out of the box, it will ensure your feet remains cool and dry so you can work comfortably even when the first responder job is so tough.
The last worst mistake you want to make is buy boots that aren’t breathable. Because, quite frankly, we’re sure you aren’t ready to deal with stinking feet and smelly shoes.
There’s a big danger to wearing non-breathable work boots. You put your feet at risk of sweating profusely and eventually developing painful blisters.
Remember, in an EMT job, you are always moving and there’s often a lot of pressure subjected on to your feet in the process. Moreover, the inside parts of the boots tend to heat up as you walk and run to and around a scene.
Blisters are easy to treat. But the best first cause of action for an EMS is to avoid them in the first place. And the right way to do that is to choose breathable ems work boots.
Make sure the boots you choose have a breathable mesh lining on the upper. This will ensure sufficient air circulation and keep your feet cool and dry even on days when you’re just too busy to stop.
3. Flame and Cut Resistant Upper – Where Necessary
You don’t know where your next ems assignment will take you. Because emergencies are at all times unpredictable.
As a first responder, you must always be ready to assist in any environment, even if it means subjecting yourself in areas prone to cut and fire outbreaks.
In a way, it seems more of making a sacrifice to save another person’s life while keep your own in check. In the real sense, however, you do have to protect yourself first before moving to this kind of a job. And what’s a better way to do that than with flame and cut resistant boots?
And get this:
You aren’t likely going to run into flames and you may even cut your feet in the rescue mission. But if there are boots with these features, go with them. You don’t know when they may come to your rescue.
4. Side Zip
There is a reason why ems workers have shoes with side zippers.
When called to an assignment, they don’t have the time to lace up their shoes and get to the emergency scene. They have to respond, and they must do it fast – or people die.
While it might sound quite vague a reason, the inclusion of the side zipper is the difference between saving a life and losing one.
The bottom line is this:
If you must be a reliable first responder, then you must be ready to respond fast. And that means you should go for work shoes that are easy to put on and take off.
In other words, choose ems work boots that feature side zippers. You’ll put them on in seconds and respond to emergencies effectively.
5. Slip and Oil Resistant
You get a call to go out to a rescue mission and you respond fast. You and the team head out nearly as fast as you can.
But in your walking and running binge, you come to a slippery or oily floor. You step on a smooth object, and you fall.
And the reason?
You didn’t wear slip-resistant work boots to your first responder job.
You simply don’t know where your next assignment will lead. You might be required to work in an extremely slippery condition and you don’t want to hurt yourself in the process.
Which brings me to this next point:
If you want to work easily without worrying too much about slipping and falling, then you must wear slip and oil resistant shoes.
You should look for work boots that have strong lugs on the rubber or vibram outsole. The thicker the thread pattern, the better. These help a lot in giving your feet a better grip while enhancing traction on the go.
With the best non-slip work boots, you’ll not only be an active paramedic, but also keep yourself safe in the rescue mission.
6. Fit and Comfort
This is a no brainer, right?
But many entry-level first responders still make the mistake of choosing boots that are neither fitting nor comfortable.
Let me say this:
If you want to walk and run around for long hours and save lives without putting your feet at risk, the boots you choose must fit and they must be as comfortable as possible.
You simply can’t afford to settle for less.
Talking of comfort, the boots you choose should:
- Feature a breathable upper for efficient airflow. This will keep your feet cool and dry throughout the day.
- Be waterproof and feature a Gore-Tex lining. This will ensure water doesn’t get into the boots.
- Have toe box that isn’t too big or too small. Make sure it’s just roomy enough to accommodate your feet.
- Have a good padding. This will ensure your feet stays comfortable throughout the day.
- Feature Eva midsole if possible. This will go a long way to manage shock, especially on the days when have to be on your feet for extended period.
When it comes to fit, make sure the boots are easy to lace up. All the boots in this guide are the kind you lace up once and forget. They include a zipper on the side, which you can use to put and take them off in the twinkle of an eye.
7. Blood Borne Pathogen Proof
Sometimes being a first responder means sacrificing your time to save another person’ life while risking your own.
And if you’ve heard about blood borne pathogen, then you probably already know what we’re talking about here.
In a paramedic job, you’ll more than likely get into contact with human blood. In such a case, you had better make sure you have the right work wear on or you risk getting sick.
When it comes to picking work boots, you need to choose boots that are blood borne pathogen proof. This will protect you from the microorganisms in human blood, which often cause human diseases like HIV, hepatitis C, and hepatitis B.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need steel toe boots for EMS?
Paramedic work can be brutal. The nature of the job means that paramedics often have to go into dangerous situations, and their boots need to keep them protected from any sharp objects or debris. That’s why it is so important that you wear steel toe boots because these boots are designed with reinforced protection around the toes of the shoe that protects your feet against sharp objects on accident scenes or on job sites.