These Are The Best Work Boots For EMS Workers (EMTs, Paramedics and more)

Hey, Jeff and Adrian here. Welcome to our round-up review of the best boots for workers in the Emergency Medical Service industry.

In A Rush?!

Overall, The Best Work Boots For EMTs

One of the most comfortable boots for those of you working in the Emergency Medical Services industry. Lightweight with slip-resistant soles and side zipper for easy donning and doffing and many other great features. These boots are the most popular choice among EMTs.

What's Inside?

To bring you this article we’ve researched over 37 websites, looked at 59 different work boot brands and models and we have read dozens of customer reviews and feedback for each make of boot that made the cut, as well as a few that did not.

Overall we’ve spent over 77 hours of our time looking into all of these work boots for EMTs to bring you the most important information for each boot. Hopefully, this hard work on our part should save you a huge amount of time doing research.

In this article, you’ll learn about the key features to look for in work boots for EMTs, and whether there are any specific standards your EMT boots need to comply with.

Also, we’ll talk about what are some of the most popular boots brands among EMTs, price ranges, and our recommendations of which EMS boots are the best for EMT workers based on in-depth research and interviews with, you guessed it, EMS workers.

You can jump straight into the EMS work boots reviews section or go to the Q&A section first (if you want to learn more about this)

Who’s working on this page

Jeff Harmon, author, researcher and boots tester for
Jeff Harmon
Victor Adrian
Researcher & Editor

List of the most popular boots brands among EMT workers

Here’s a quick comparison table if you’re curious about which work boots we’ve included in today’s round-up. Again, these boots have been recommended to us by workers in the emergency medical services industry.

1. 5.11 A/T

  • Side Zipper
  • Leather + textile
  • Soft toe cap

Most Popular Tactical Boots Style Among EMTs

2. Redback Easy Escape

  • No laces
  • Leather
  • Soft/Steel toe cap
  • 6″ Upper

Most Popular Slip On
Boots Among EMTs

3. Blundstone BL990

  • No laces
  • Leather
  • Soft/Steel toe cap
  • 6″ Upper

Rugged Steel Toe Slip On Boots For EMS Workers

4. Rocky Alphaforce

  • Side zipper
  • Leather + fabric
  • Soft/Comp toe cap
  • 6″ & 8″ Upper

Composite Toe Safety
Boots For EMS Workers

5. Bates Sport 2

  • Side zipper
  • Leather + fabric
  • Soft/Comp toe cap
  • 6″ & 8″ Upper

Steel Toe Slip On Boots
For EMS Workers

6. Thorogood Crosstrex

  • Side zipper
  • Leather + fabric
  • Soft/Comp toe cap
  • 3″ & 6″ Upper

Hiking-Style Boots
For EMS Workers

7. Reebok Rapid Response

  • Side zipper
  • Leather + fabric
  • Soft/Comp toe cap
  • 6″ & 8″ Upper

Non-Metalic Safety Toe Boots For EMS Workers

8. Timberland Hypercharge

  • Side zipper
  • Leather + fabric
  • Soft/Comp toe cap
  • 6″ & 8″ Upper

Puncture Resistant Boots
For EMS Workers

9. Maelstrom Tac Force

  • Side zipper
  • Leather + fabric
  • Soft toe cap
  • 8″ Upper

Low Budget Boots
For EMS Workers

10. Under Armour

  • Side zipper
  • Leather + fabric
  • Soft toe cap
  • 7″ Upper

Breathable Boots
For EMS Workers

11. Bellville 700

  • Speed hooks
  • Leather
  • Soft/Steel toe cap
  • 8″ Upper

American Made Boots
For EMS Workers

12. Haix Airpower R2

  • Zipper
  • Leather
  • Soft/Steel toe cap
  • 8″ Upper

NFPA-Approved Boots
For EMS Workers

13. Blauer Clash LT

  • BOA lacing
  • Leather + fabric
  • Soft/comp toe cap
  • 4″ & 6″ Upper

Boots with BOA Lacing System For EMS Workers

What You Must Know Before Buying
EMS Work Boots For EMT Work

Below I’ll share with you some of the most important details to look at when buying boots for emergency medical services related jobs.

What types of boots are good for EMS and EMT workers?

If this is your first rodeo as a paramedic, EMT, or part of an emergency medical service crew these are the types or styles of work boots you should look for when buying your first pair of EMS boots for work:

Most people working as Emergency Medical Technicians in an ambulance or more broadly, most EMS workers avoid buying lace-up work boots.

That’s because when you’re stationary you might want to take your boots off but if an emergency comes in, you need to be able to put those boots back on and be out the door and inside the ambulance in less than 70 seconds!

That’s the reason slip-on boots or BOA lacing boots are preferred over lace-up boots.

The most important features of an EMS worker boot

Not every job and work environment is equal therefore we all need different features from our footwear. So let’s have a look at some of the key features to look for in work boots for EMTs.

In order to avoid repeating myself a lot on the below sections I’ll just quickly add here that in the review section down below you’ll find boots with these key features.

Some boots will have most of the features mentioned below while others have a few.

1. EMS/EMT’s boots need to be black

EMS/EMT workers are required to wear black boots for a couple of reasons.

EMS facilities have policies requiring their workers to wear black boots to help keep a professional appearance.

Black footwear also helps people to recognize them as EMS workers. And you might say: “Ok, this one is easy. Plenty of black work boots available out there”!

But after talking to a bunch of EMTs I learned that finding a pair of black boots that are comfy, look good, and fit the bill…is more challenging than I thought.

Anyway, I’ll share some models with you below so simply scroll over to the reviews after you finished reading this section!

2. The material used to make the upper

The majority of EMS boots seem to fall into the category of leather and a synthetic material (most times nylon) used in combination with each other.

The synthetics are used to help give the boot a lighter feel and increased breathability.

If you’re attending fire emergencies you’re boots need to NFPA rated and that mostly implies that the upper need to be made out of leather.

3. Boots with zipper

Many EMT/EMS workers like a boot with a side zipper. They can find the right fit of the boot on their feet by lacing up the boot to the tightness they like.

The zipper then allows for them to easily slip into the boot, zip it up, and get to action. The alternative to a zipper boot is a slip-on work boot if the employer allows it.

4. Waterproof

A waterproof work boot is preferred by most people in this line of work. This is because it could be a regular occurrence for them to be in a situation involving blood or vomit.

Unfortunately, these things happen, and paramedics and EMTs need to be prepared for this the best they can.

So an EMT work boot doesn’t have to be waterproof but it’s a plus for sure.

By the way, there are ways and products you can use to waterproof your work boots and that’s helpful but nothing better than a pair of waterproof work boots that come with a waterproof membrane.

The waterproofing tricks I show in the article above linked are going to repel water at best, whereas a waterproof membrane will impede water, vomit, and liquids in general come inside the boot.

5. Toe protection

Working as an EMS worker you might be exposed to falling objects and also potentially work with heavy equipment.

For this reason, many, but not all agencies require their workers to wear footwear with a safety toe cap. Ask your agency if this is a must before buying your new EMT work boots.

6. Puncture resistant

When it comes to working in emergency medical services, the puncture-resistant feature in work boots is absolutely essential in some scenarios.

In addition to protecting your feet from common hazards like nails and broken glass, these boots play a vital role in shielding your feet from potentially dangerous situations.

As an EMT, you’ll often encounter environments where individuals may have used sharp needles to inject drugs.

The puncture-resistant feature becomes even more critical in these scenarios, guarding you against accidental needle sticks and the risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens infections.

Having a pair of EMS work boots with a puncture-resistant feature you can confidently navigate challenging situations, knowing that your feet are safeguarded against unseen dangers.

6. Comfort

As an EMS worker, you might find yourself constantly on your feet, responding to emergencies and providing care to those in need.

The last thing you want is to be distracted or hindered by uncomfortable work boots. The ideal level of comfort involves several key factors.

Cushioning And Support

First and foremost, cushioning and support are crucial. Work boots should have adequate padding and shock-absorbing properties to minimize fatigue and reduce the impact on my feet and joints.

Arch support is also essential to maintain proper foot alignment and prevent discomfort or pain. This last feature is not that important if you have flat feet though.


Additionally, breathability is vital for comfort during long shifts.

EMS work boots should have breathable materials and ventilation features to allow air circulation and prevent excessive sweating and odor buildup.

Moisture-wicking properties can also help keep your feet dry and comfortable throughout the day.

Boot’s weight

Another aspect of comfort is the weight of the boots. EMT work boots should strike a balance between durability and lightweight construction.

Heavy boots can add unnecessary strain and fatigue, making it harder to perform efficiently. Opting for lighter materials without compromising on durability is key.

Proper fit

Lastly, the ideal level of comfort also considers a proper fit. Work boots should provide ample room for toes to move comfortably without being too tight or too loose.

Finding the right size and width is crucial to prevent blisters, hot spots, or other foot issues that can arise from ill-fitting boots.

Top 13 Best EMS work boots for Paramedics and EMTs

Alright, let’s jump into some detailed reviews of each one of these EMS work boots we’ve included in today’s round-up. By the way, the boots are listed in no particular order.

1. 5.11 A/T: The Most Popular Boots Among EMTs

5.11 Tactical is an American company that makes outdoor clothing, footwear, tactical equipment, and uniforms.

Their main focus is military, law enforcement, and public safety personnel. You can imagine why this boot is an easy choice for many.

One appeal for EMS workers when it comes to this boot is the full-length YKK side zipper.

In a way, it is a double-edged sword. On one hand, a zipper provides convenience for quickly removing or putting on the boot. On the other hand, a zipper is an automatic weak point in any boot.

With that being said, YKK zippers are famous for their quality and durability so you should expect them to last quite a while.

These boots have a slip-resistant sole with an aggressive tread pattern which provides excellent traction in almost any situation.

There is added comfort provided courtesy of the Echo Foam which has high rebound/energy return PU and Force Foam lightweight PU impact cushioning.

The upper features water-resistant leather along with high-abrasion air mesh nylon. This helps the boots be lighter weight. Speaking of weight, these boots weigh in at about 4.5 lbs for the pair.

The proprietary 5.11 A.T.L.A.S. (All Terrain Load Assistance System) Technology helps for those who carry heavy weight and work long shifts.

There is also an OrthoLite footbed, which helps regulate temperature of the boot.

I know some agencies will require you to look spot-on all the time when it comes to your footwear. The good news is that these boots are able to be polished.

Also of note, these boots feature a locking ankle eyelet for securing lacing and fit. The 8-inch height of these boots also provides an added level of security and stability in the heel and ankle areas.


  • Tread provides great traction
  • Slip and oil resistant sole
  • These boots provide great ankle support
  • Polishable
  • Comfortable for long shifts


  • Not waterproof

5.11 Tactical Company 3.0 Carbon Tac (Black) Men's Shoes
More 5.11 work boots for EMS workers
EMS Boot modelAmazonZappos
Station Boots – 6″ Slip on boots, Comp toeSee In-StoreSee In-Store
Company Boots – 6″, Slip-on boots, soft toeSee In-StoreNot Available
Tactical – 8″, Lace-up, side zipper, soft toeSee In-StoreNot Available
Tactical Storm – 8″, lace up, speed hooks, soft toeSee In-StoreNot Available
ATAC 2.0 – 8″, lace up, side zipper, soft toeSee In-StoreNot Available

2. Redback: Popular slip on boots for EMS workers

Redback is an Australian footwear company that has been around since 1925. They are often mentioned by many as being one of the best Australian footwear brands in direct competition with Blundstone which will cover next by the way.

Many videos I’ve watched in my interest prior to reviewing boots myself mentioned how comfortable this boot is. Their boots are still 100% Australian-made, and the company is very proud of this fact.

The upper of these boots is made with premium full-grain Australian and New Zealand leather so we can expect high-quality leather on these boots.

The sole of this boot is a Thermoplastic Polyurethane material and has a direct attach construction. What does this mean to you as an EMS worker?

Well, it simply means that the boots are going to be slip resistant on many wet surfaces you’re working on. This is of course a pro for any emergency worker but they’re also more lightweight and flexible than work boots made using the Goodyear welt method.

This is in addition to the sole being oil, acid, and slip resistant, as well. The sole also helps this boot get its electrical hazard rating.

The steel toe variant Easy Escape (USBBK) meets or exceeds ASTM F2413-11 I/75 C/75 EH standards with a slightly wider fit than the UBBK.

The Easy Escape HD (USBBKSC) has the same features as the Easy Escape, with the addition of a heavy-duty external scuff guard made of molded TPU. This helps extend the life of the boot while giving maximum protection.

So as you can see, these Redback work boots are not just a good-looking pair of boots, they’re tough and comfortable and provide lots of safety features to keep you safe while you’re trying to save others.

I have personally spoken to two EMS workers local to my work who wear these boots.

I didn’t ask if they were soft-toe or the steel-toe version. Whichever model they wear, they both said they had previously worn other brands including 5.11, and will never wear anything other than Redback boots for work again.


  • Slip-on style for quick on/off
  • Soft/Steel toe cap available
  • Sole has nice tread for traction in any situation
  • Flexible and comfortable


  • The boot sizing can be confusing for many. It’s hard to get it right the first time since their sizing is using AU’s boot sizing. You need to go one size up (ie:11AU=12US)

3. Blundstone: steel toe slip on boots for EMS workers

Another very popular slip-on work boot brand in our today’s EMS boots round up. Introducing Blundstone.

Blundstone has been around since 1870, so you can say they probably know what they’re doing.

Like Redback, they are also an Australian boot brand. Unlike Redback, some Blundstone boots are made overseas. We’ve tested the Blundstone BL990 work boots, and ours were made in Vietnam.

The upper material of this boot is “Platinum Quality Water Resistant Leather” which sounds amazing when saying it but based on our testing the boots are not waterproof.

So don’t walk in puddles thinking your feet will be dry because they won’t. They will keep your feet dry IF you go QUICKLY through that same puddle or if you work in a bit of rain.

Talking about working in the rain and wet conditions, these work boots are slip resistant.

The outsole of these Blundstone boots is great actually for EMT and EMS workers because they’re also heat resistant up to 572 degrees F, and oil, acid, and organic fat resistant.

Still on the outsole topic, these boots come with some impressive deep lugs and a high built-in arch which helps a lot with traction when you’re working in muddy, soft, wet ground, or off-road emergencies.

The downside of course is that it will drag quite a bit of dirt inside the building or the ambulance once you’re out of that mud.

If you need a pair of safety toe EMS boots, you’ll be glad to hear that these Blundstone come with a steel toe cap.

Overall, this is a good steel-toe slip-on work boot option for paramedics and EMTs.


  • Steel toe cap for safety
  • No Laces
  • Slip-on design for easy on/off
  • Great traction off-road
  • High arch built-in
  • Comfortable to wear all-day


  • The high arch will be uncomfortable for EMTs and EMS workers with flat feet. So if you have flat feet these Blundstones are not for you.

4. Rocky: EMS boots with side zip and waterproof membrane

Rocky Boots are made by Rocky Brands, Inc., which was known formerly as Rocky Shoes & Boots, Inc.

This 8-inch boot is light in weight, very flexible, and is also durable. The Rocky Air-Port footbed is PU material and helps to absorb shock.

Even though the boot is 8 inch in height don;t worry, they’re easy to put on and take off thanks to their side zipper. One of the most desireable features in a work boots for EMTs.

The oil and slip resistant RigiTrac molded sole has an aggressive lug pattern, which provides great traction which is great for those of you that need to go off-road sometimes when attending emergency calls.

Another good feature is the composite toe cap in these boots. Some of you EMTs out there will be required to wear safety toe work boots so this boot will cover you there.

Being a composite toe cap work boot makes it a bit lighter than other EMT boots in this round up that come with a steel toe cap.


  • Aggressive tread provides great traction
  • Zipper makes for easy on/off
  • Padded sides
  • Waterproof
  • Composite toe cap
  • Affordable


  • These work boots weigh two pounds each so they are a little on the heavy side.

Rocky Code Red Station Slip-On Boot
More Rocky work boots for EMS workers

Rocky has many other work boots models that are good for EMS workers. So if you’re looking for other options from this brand here are a few more ideas.

EMS Boot modelAmazonRocky
Code Red – Slip on bootsNot AvailableSee In-Store
Code Red Rescue- NFPA rated bootsNot AvailableSee In-Store
Code BlueLace up with speed hooksSee In-StoreSee In-Store
Cadet – 8″ Lace up with side zip See In-StoreSee In-Store
Warden – Wellingon pull on bootSee In-StoreSee In-Store
Alphaforce8″ Composite toe side zipSee In-StoreSee In-Store

5. Bates: Composite toe cap boots for EMS workers

Bates footwear is one of many brands owned by Wolverine. Some other brands owned by Wolverine include Merrell, Wolverine, Hush Puppies, to name a few.

The 8-inch heel provides you with support for the ankle and heel areas. The upper of the boot is 60% leather and 40% nylon. This will provide better breathability than if the boot’s upper is entirely made with leather.

These boots have a full-length zipper, allowing you to easily take them off at the station and quickly put them back on when an emergency call comes in.

The rubber sole is slip resistant to prevent slips and falls when working in wet conditions.

If your EMS agency requires footwear with a safety toe cap then you’re going to be good going for these Bates boots since they pass the ASTM F2413 standards for protective footwear.

These boots are lightweight thanks in part to the leather+nylon upper but also thanks to the EVA midsole. Many boots come with a PU midsole which is also quite lightweight but not as lightweight as the EVA.

So if you’re after a pair of comfortable and lightweight EMS boots, these Bates are a good option!


  • ASTM F2413 rated
  • 8-inch height gives extra security
  • Good ankle support
  • Full-length zipper for easy on/off
  • Lightweight


  • Not waterproof

Bates Footwear Shock 6 Side Zip (Black) Men's Work Boots
More Bates work boots for EMS workers

Bates, just like Rocky and others in this EMT boots review round-up, makes all sorts of boots that are good for paramedics and EMS workers in general. Below I’ll share a list of other boot models from this brand that might be good for you.

EMS Boot modelAmazonZappos
Station – 6″ Slip on bootsSee In-StoreNot Available
Durashock – 8″, Lace to toe, side zipperSee In-StoreSee In-Store
Fuse – 6″, Lace-up, side zipper, steel toe See In-StoreNot Available
1788 – 9″, speed hooks, steel toeSee In-StoreSee In-Store
GX8 – 8″, Speed hooks, side zip, insulatedSee In-StoreSee In-Store
OpSpeed – 8″, Lace-up, speed hooks, side zipSee In-StoreSee In-Store
Rallyforce- 6″, Lace-up, Side zipSee In-StoreSee In-Store

6. Thorogood Crosstrex

If you’re after a pair of hiker-style boots for your EMS job then I resent you the Thorogood Crosstrex.

This boot has some great features. For example, the boot comes with a composite toe cap meeting the ASTM F2413-11, I/75 C/75 standards keeping your toes safe in case something drops on them.

The outside of the toe of the boot is also abrasion resistant and reinforced which is always a great add-on, especially for those of you EMS out there that need to crawl or crouch as part of your daily tasks.

This toe cap reinforcement will help avoid the leather from getting damaged prematurely at the toe cap area when kneeling, crouching, or crawling, expanding the lifespan of the boots.

It has an aggressive tread pattern which will provide excellent traction when attending to emergency calls and the ground is soft or uneven.

If you’re a paramedic the likelihood of having to deal with blood when attending emergency calls is quite high, right? That’s something you already know.

You also know that bloodborne pathogens can transmit some serious diseases such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, or HIV. Therefore paramedics and EMTs need a pair of work boots that can protect them from bloodborne pathogens infections.

The good news is that these Thorogood work boots are bloodborne pathogens penetration compliant, passing the ASTM F 1671, Standard Test Method for Resistance of Materials used in Protective Clothing for at least one hour when tested.

So in case of an emergency where your feet got in contact with blood, you can safely finish what you’re doing and then replace your boots with a new pair without worrying about a possible BBP infection.

In terms of comfort and convenience, these boots come with a side zipper for easy on/off of the boot. And also they have two sets of speed hooks at the top of the boot that makes lacing easy. Great features to see in a pair of EMT work boots.

Overall, these Thorogood Crostrex are a great pair of hiking-style boots for EMS workers.


  • Speed hooks for easy lacing
  • Waterproof
  • Zipper side for easy on/off
  • Speed hooks
  • Pull loops
  • Lightweight
  • BBP rated


  • Recessed pockets in upper could be hard to clean

Thorogood 8 Inch Side Zipper Work Boot (Black) Men's Work Boots
More Thorogood work boots for EMS workers

Although Thorogood is a work boot brand known worldwide for their moc toe work boots, they do make a few different models of work boots for EMS workers that you might be interested in. Have a look.

EMS Boot modelAmazonZappos
Station Boots – 6″ Slip on bootsSee In-StoreSee In-Store
Gen-Flex2 – 8″, Lace to toe, side zipperSee In-StoreSee In-Store
Deuce – 6″, Lace-up, side zipper, safety toeSee In-StoreSee In-Store
Union – 6″, lace up, speed hooks, safety toeSee In-StoreSee In-Store
Soft Street Series – 10″ Wellington, safety toeSee In-StoreSee In-Store

7. Reebok Rapid Response

These Reebok boots have an upper made from leather and ballistic nylon. The nylon mesh lining in these boots gives them a great amount of breathability so your feet will sweat a bit less in summer.

It comes with a YKK side zipper, which is always a great feature for an EMT worker. The only downside is that the zipper is made of plastic in this case.

Having said that, YKK zippers are the highest quality of zippers you can get so you should expect them to last quite a while.

When it comes to comfort while you’re on your feet, the cushioned EVA midsole and removable F2A PU insole with shock eliminator heel cushion help provide all-day comfort.

The sole is a dual-density rubber with a Mountain Trail bottom which provides great traction. Excellent for EMTs and paramedics attending emergencies on rough terrains.

One last thing I liked about these boots (altough not everybody likes it) is that these boots fit a bit wider than expected.

So the composite toe which by the way, meets the ASTM F2413 I/C (impact and compression) and EH standards is roomier in these boots than others in this round-up.

Overall, a good boot for EMS workers for less than $200.


  • Mesh lining is breathable
  • Composite toe ASTM F2413 I/C and EH standards
  • Wide fit
  • YKK side zipper


  • Not everybody likes the extra padding in the tongue

Reebok Work Sublite Cushion Tactical 8 Boot WP (Black) Men's Boots
More Reebok boots for EMS workers
EMS Boot modelAmazonZappos
Floatride – 8″, Lace-up, side zip , soft toeSee In-StoreSee In-Store
Floatride – 8″, Lace-up, side zip, soft toeSee In-StoreSee In-Store
Sublite – 8″, Lace-up, side zipperSee In-StoreSee In-Store
Trailgrip – 8″, lace-up, side zipperSee In-StoreNot Available

8. Timberland RPO Hypercharge

These EMS boots have the Timberland Ever-Guard leather upper. This leather is treated to be waterproof and it’s also heat resistant up to 346 degrees. Good to know, especially if you attend emergencies where there might be some fire going on.

The waterproof membrane has a blood-borne pathogen feature which meets ASTM F1671-07 safety standard keeping you safe from potential BBP infections when dealing with emergencies where blood is present.

Another great feature in these Timberland PRO work boots is the puncture-resistant non-metallic plate that helps to minimize the chance of puncture wounds.

Think of when you might have to attend a drug-related emergency. There might be needles on the floor you’re walking on and you really don’t want to step on those.

But if you end up stepping on one by accident, a boot with this feature is that extra safety net that you’ll need as a paramedic or EMT worker.

The Stable Stride Technology feature is designed to give stability on slanted and uneven surfaces. This helps to reduce the chances of injury, slipping, and more specifically, ankle roll.

These boots have anti-fatigue technology which returns energy back to the foot to help give comfort and support for those long days of standing and walking.


  • Waterproof Membrane
  • High traction tread pattern
  • Anti-fatigue technology
  • Puncture resistant sole
  • Blood-borne pathogen rated
  • YKK side zipper


  • Some might consider the zipper in these boots weaker than other boots featured in this round-up

Timberland PRO TITAN(r) 6 Alloy Safety Toe (Blackout Full-Grain Leather) Men's Work Lace-up Boots
More Timberland PRO work boots for EMS workers
EMS Boot modelAmazonZappos
Valor – 8″, lace-up, side zip, composite toeSee In-StoreNot Available
Reaction, 5″, lace-up, speed hooksSee In-StoreSee In-Store
Power Welt – 6″, lace-up, speed hooks, steel toeSee In-StoreSee In-Store
Helix – 6″, Lace-up, speed hooks, composite toeSee In-StoreSee In-Store
Titan – 6″, lace up, speed hooks, alloy toeSee In-StoreSee In-Store
Soft Street Series – 10″ Wellington, safety toeSee In-StoreSee In-Store

9. Maelstrom – EMS boots for less than $100

Introducing Maelstrom Footwear, a work boot brand dedicated to meeting the unique needs of EMS and EMT workers at an affordable price.

Despite being a relatively young company since its establishment in 2009, Maelstrom has rapidly gained recognition for its unwavering commitment to delivering good-quality footwear tailored to the demands of workers in EMS sector.

Designed with your utmost safety in mind, these boots feature an 8-inch upper, providing crucial support and stability in the ankle and heel areas.

You can confidently navigate unpredictable environments, knowing your ankles are well-protected not only from scratches but also from rolling.

Additionally, the boots are equipped with a durable rubber outsole featuring a rugged tread pattern that enhances traction on various surfaces.

Rest assured, the outsole is not only slip-resistant but also oil-resistant, minimizing the risk of accidents and ensuring you maintain your footing even in slippery/wet conditions.

Ease of use is paramount in demanding jobs like yours, and that’s why these boots come with a full YKK side zipper.

This feature enables quick and effortless donning and doffing, ensuring you can swiftly respond to emergencies without wasting precious seconds.

This boot appears to be a great value for the money, with 4 out of 5 stars and 7,614 ratings at the time of writing. So if you’re on a low budget and looking for an EMS work boot under $100 then these are a good option.


  • Zipper makes for easy on/off
  • Lightweight
  • Polishable leather
  • Very affordable
  • Slip-resistant


  • Not waterproof – but water resistant

10. Under Armour: EMS athletic-style boots

Working as an emergency responder, every second counts and reliability is paramount.

Thankfully, Under Armour understands the unique challenges you face as a paramedic, EMT, or EMS worker.

They have crafted boots that combine essential features with excellent comfort, supporting you during your shift while you dedicate your life to saving others.

These purpose-built boots will become your trusted allies, with a lightweight yet durable synthetic leather and nylon upper.

The boots are designed to breathe, allowing optimal airflow that keeps you comfortable and focused on your crucial tasks, without distraction.

Knowing the risks you face in the field, Under Armour leaves no stone unturned in providing protection.

Their boots are fortified with a welded forefoot overlay, creating an additional layer of defense against potential hazards that you may encounter while you’re working.

To safeguard your toes from impact and accidental bumps, a molded TPU toe cap acts as a shield against light impacts and bumps.

One thing to keep in mind though is that even though the boots come with a toe cap reinforcement, these are not safety-rated boots.

When time is of the essence, the boots offer practicality. They have a side zipper and pull loops on the heel and tongue areas for quick and effortless on-and-off actions, allowing you to respond swiftly to emergencies.

The soles of these Under Armour EMS boots could be a bit more rugged than they are.

They’re great for those of you working within an EMS team that doesn’t go out much or doesn’t attend emergencies on rough surfaces…

… altough you’d never know where is going to your next emergency, right? But I have a feeling these soles will wear out faster than in other EMS boots we’ve seen in this review round-up.


  • Breathable upper
  • Lightweight
  • TPU toe cap
  • Side zip for easy on/off
  • Oil and slip resistant
  • Comfortable all day


  • The soles are not as rugged as other boots in this round-up
  • Not waterproof

11. Belleville

As a professional in the field, I’m sure you understand the importance of reliable footwear that can withstand the demands of your work. That’s why now I turn to Belleville, a family-owned business with a long-standing reputation in the industry.

With over five generations of experience since their establishment in 1904, Belleville proudly holds the title of being the oldest company manufacturing boots for the U.S. Military.

One of their notable offerings is this 8-inch EMS boot, specially designed for a range of personnel including Civil Air Patrol, police, emergency medical services, private security, etc.

This boot features a polishable upper made from a combination of smooth, full-grain cattle hide leather and nylon fabric, ensuring durability and comfort throughout your demanding shifts.

When it comes to comfort and protection, Belleville doesn’t compromise. The boot is lined with Gore-Tex, a waterproof and highly breathable material that keeps your feet dry while allowing them to breathe.

The VANGUARD running shoe sole construction is a standout feature of these boots.

It combines the athletic feel of a running shoe with premium cushioning, providing a comfortable and supportive experience throughout long hours on your feet standing or walking.

And with the removable single-density molded comfort insole, you can customize the fit to suit your personal preference.

The good thing about being removable is that you can replace it with any other good over-the-counter insoles that fit your needs.

Belleville takes pride in being Berry Amendment compliant, meaning that all the components used in the construction of these boots are proudly made in the U.S.A.

So if you’re after a pair of good EMS and EMT boots that are made in America then these Belleville 700 are right up on your alley.


  • Gore-Tex Waterproof lining
  • Vibram sole
  • Breathable
  • Made in USA
  • Comfortable all-day
  • Great ankle support


  • Not having a side zipper might be considered a con by some EMS workers while others say the speed hooks are faster than the zip when it comes to putting your boots on. You decide…

12. Haix Airpower: NFPA Approved EMS boots

When it comes to reliable NFPA-approved work boots for EMS workers, HAIX is a name that always comes up in our footwear discussions.

Established in 1948 by Xaver Haimerl in Bavaria, this German company has a rich history of delivering top-notch footwear solutions. In 1992, they introduced a collection of functional leather fire boots that quickly gained recognition in the industry.

These HAIX boots are designed to meet the specific needs of firefighters and other emergency responders professionals working in tough conditions where fire and high temperatures are present.

Crafted with soft and supple waterproof leather, the upper material not only keeps your feet dry but also boasts hydrophobic and breathable properties.

This means your feet stay protected from moisture while maintaining a comfortable environment inside the boot.

One notable feature of these boots is the front zip, allowing for quick on/off convenience. This is a crucial advantage in the line of work these boots are designed for.

The HAIX Lacing System combines the personalized fit of a lace-up boot with the ease of a zipper closure.

For added safety, these boots incorporate a lightweight and spacious composite safety toe cap, providing protection without compromising on comfort.

They are built to meet the specifications for NFPA 1999-2013, ASTM F2413-2011, and CAN/CSA Z195-2014 standards, ensuring compliance with industry regulations.

To support your feet throughout demanding shifts, HAIX has incorporated an arch support system that maintains a natural position, reducing fatigue and discomfort.

Additionally, their proprietary HAIX Climate System helps to regulate temperature, providing optimal balance and comfort while wearing the boots.

And the blood-borne pathogens-resistant technology in this boot is the cherry on top for most EMTs and paramedics since you guys might be exposed to dealing with blood when attending emergency calls.

Overall, this is a very rugged work boot for EMS workers looking for an NFPA-approved boot.


  • Zipper for quick on/off
  • Aggressive tread for great traction
  • Waterproof
  • Chemical protection


13. Blauer Clash: EMS boots with BOA lacing system

Blauer Manufacturing is a family-owned U.S. business started in 1936 by Louis Blauer and they have basically focused on creating footwear, apparel, accessories, etc, mostly for EMS and other public safety related professionals.

The combination of components chosen to make the Blauer Clash LT boot led to extremely lightweight construction, at a total of 18 oz. for the 6-inch pair.

The reasonable price tag and list of features could be very appealing to someone looking to buy a nice pair of boots.

Take for example the BOA lacing system. A very desirable feature to have in work boots for EMS workers.

When time is crucial, Blauer’s boots make it easy for you to get them on and off quickly. Their convenient quick-lacing system saves you precious seconds, so you can respond swiftly to any crisis.

The easiest way to describe the BOA system is to say it pretty much makes this boot an adjustable slip-on.

They are also very comfortable and lightweight. No break-in period is required which means they’re ready to go into action as soon as you take them out of the box.

So if you’re after a pair of EMT work boots that provide better support than slip-on work boots do and also they’ll outlast boots with side zippers then these Blauer Clash is a great choice for you.


  • BOA lacing system with lifetime warranty for easy on/off 
  • Moisture-wicking/breathable
  • Soft/Composite toe options
  • Extremely lightweight at 18 oz.
  • Waterproof


  • Not really a con since we couldn’t find one at the moment, but the BOA system can pop open or become loose which simply means you need to give it a few spins periodically to keep the boots tight.

Quick Q&A section related to EMS and EMT boots

In case I might have missed something in the sections above I’ll add some additional answers here to some questions I know some of you might have when it comes to buying your new EMS boots.

So here we go…

What are the key features to look for in work boots for EMTs?

It highly depends on the agency you work for. Some will ask to have some features while others will not require them.

So it’s a good idea to ask your agency what’s their footwear policy and then come back to this post.

With that being said here are some of the most important features to look for in boots for EMS workers:

  • Boots must be black
  • Quick and easy to put on and take off (slip-on, side zipper, BOA)
  • Waterproof is generally liked especially as a barrier against vomit/blood
  • Safety toe is required but many agencies are not enforcing it
  • Boots need to be light and flexible to give you good mobility
  • Slip-resistant soles

Then we have some extra features people like to have in their EMS boots, such as:

  • Puncture resistant sole
  • Electrical hazard rated
  • Met protection
  • BBP (bloodborne-pathogen protection)

Note, you’re not going to find too many boots that come with ALL the above-listed features.

Some boots for example will be black, slip-resistant and safety toed but not have the BBP feature. So you’ll have to mix and match until you find the best work boots for you.

Are there any specific safety standards or certifications that EMT work boots should meet?

As I said above some agencies will require your boots to meet some safety standards but not all of them. These are some of the most common safety standards required for EMT boots:

  • ASTM F2413: This standard sets guidelines for protective footwear and includes requirements for impact resistance, compression resistance, and other safety features in work boots.
  • EH (Electrical Hazard) Rating: Boots with an EH rating provide protection against electrical hazards by insulating you from electric shock if you accidentally get in contact with exposed live electric wires.
  • Slip Resistance: Look for boots that meet or exceed industry standards for slip resistance, such as those tested under ASTM F1677 (Mark II) or ASTM F2913 (SATRA TM144).

Do EMT work boots need to be waterproof or water-resistant?

No, they don’t have to be waterproof as it’s not a requirement but it’s always a plus.

Are there any considerations for EMT work boots in terms of weight and mobility?

In your line of work, you need agility and mobility so your boot can not be heavy and rigid.

Opt for work boots that are lightweight to minimize fatigue during long shifts. Heavy boots can cause additional strain on the feet and legs, hindering mobility and overall performance.

When it comes to mobility you need some flexible boots so look for boots that have a lightweight construction to them.

For example, most boots featured in this post are either cemented sole constructed or injection molded. This type of boot construction is more flexible, though less durable, than for example the popular Goodyear welt sole construction.

Are there any specific requirements or regulations regarding the color or appearance of work boots for EMTs?

Not really a regulation but it might be a requirement and this depends on the agency you’re going to work for.

Some EMS agencies or employers may have specific guidelines regarding the color or appearance of work boots. It’s important to consult your organization’s policies or dress code to ensure compliance.

Work boots for EMTs should generally maintain a professional appearance.

Neutral colors like black, brown, or dark shades are often preferred and if the boots are polishable is even better in order to maintain a polished and uniform look.

Do EMT work boots need to have electrical hazard protection?

It’s not a must. Again, ask your employer to make sure you’re buying the right boots, but EMTs usually are not required to have EH protection.

While electrical hazard (EH) protection in work boots is not specifically required for EMTs, it can be beneficial depending on the specific work environment and tasks involved.

In some cases, work boots with EH protection can help provide an additional layer of safety by insulating against electrical shocks from accidentally stepping on exposed live electricity cables.

Are there any work boot features that help with bloodborne pathogen protection for EMTs?

Yes, there is and the feature is literally called BBP (bloodborne pathogens). A few boots in today’s round-up come with this feature. Check out the Thorogood Crosstrex boots and the Timberland PRO Hypercharge.

Are there any work boot features that help with ankle support for EMTs?

The best work boots for ankle support are the boots that go over your ankle.

For some people the 6″ tall boots are good enough but if you want or need that additional extra support go for the 8″ EMS boots in this list.

Also, choose lace-up versus slip-on/pull-on boots for better ankle support.

Can EMT work boots accommodate orthotic inserts or custom insoles?

Most EMT boots will allow you to insert your preferred orthotic insert as long as you can remove the older/original one.

Also, it depends on the type of foot you have. In my experience testing boots and talking to people about our tests and results people with rigid feet (high arches) might struggle a bit.

That’s because not all boots have additional space inside in order to accommodate a custom insole. But for the most part, you’ll be fine adding your orthotics into your EMT boots.

Are there any specific materials or construction techniques that make work boots suitable for EMTs?

As mentioned in another section above, EMS boots need to be flexible to allow you to move as freely as possible while walking, standing, crawling, or working in awkward positions.

This is why the vast majority of EMTs boots are made with either Gore-Tex, nylon, or some other man-made flexible fabric or a mix of leather and synthetics.

You’ll also find full-leather EMT boots but they are not as flexible as the others.

Additionally, the best work boots for EMS workers (maybe with the exception of firefighters that need more rugged boots) are the boots that are cemented sole construction or direct attach.

That’s because this type of sole construction is lighter and more flexible. Exactly what you need as an EMT.

Final notes on these best EMS and EMTs work boots

Which EMS boots are the best for you then?!

At the end of the day, what boot you buy for this line of work is going to be determined in big part by the requirements of your workplace.

As mentioned previously, some workplaces may require heat resistance. Some places may require a boot to be polished. Some places may require a safety toe, and so on and so forth.

What you buy must fit your desires for a boot while checking all the boxes required to meet your work policies.

So ask your EMS agency what your boots need to have and then come back to this list to see which one is the best for you.

Remember that all the boots we’ve talked about in this post are recommended by someone working in the EMS industry so you can’t go wrong choosing any of the boots we’ve talked about today.

Get Yours

Overall, the best work boots for EMS workers

One of the most comfortable boots for those of you working in the Emergency Medical Services industry. Lightweight with slip-resistant soles and side zipper for easy donning and doffing and tone of other great features. These boots are the most popular choice among EMTs.

Team Members Working On This Page

Jeff Harmon – Boots Tester & Reviewer

Hello, I’m Jeff. I’m a Level III water plant operator in Ohio. I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years now, and the jobs I’ve had all required boots. I’d previously viewed them as something that didn’t matter just so long as my feet were covered. Lately, I’ve come to appreciate the features and craftsmanship that go into quality footwear. When I’m not at work, I’m at home spending time with my wife and 2 kids. My current obsession other than boots is hot sauce. I absolutely love it!

Victor Adrian – Editor And Webmaster

Construction Professional, driver, crane operator, cleaner, head chef … these are just some of the jobs I did in the past. Working in all these different environments taught me that having good footwear to protect your feet from different dangers at work IS PARAMOUNT for any worker! On this website, I aim to share all my knowledge and personal experience in dealing with different footwear and foot care issues, and hopefully, you can get something out of it. Enjoy!

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