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There is a new trend in work boots that continues to receive additional attention. Gone are the days of lacing up work boots many times in the day. Side zipper boots are now used by most professional public service positions such as the police and first responders.
In professions where time is of the essence, people can simply slide into these specialized boots within seconds, hence giving a bit of extra “life-saving time.” Available in heights from 6 to 9 inches, side-zipped boots offer additional ankle support with better shock absorption.
Today, many manufacturers offer a wide selection of work boots with side zippers. In preparation for this review of the 7 best zipper work boots of 2022, the Thorogood Men’s Gen-flex2 Series 8″ Tactical Side Zip Jump Boot emerges as the winner based on overall superior quality.
Best Zipper Work Boots
1. Thorogood Men’s Gen-flex2 Series 8″ Tactical Boot
When an emergency calls, you will want to be wearing lightweight flexible boots to address it quickly. Thorogood boots have consistently manufactured excellent boots that serve firefighters, military men and people in industrial environments like mechanics, engineers and electricians.
The Gen-flex2 boot is one of the best zipper work boots in terms of providing protection. These tactical side-zipped boots are quick and easy to slip on. When duty calls, first responders rely on these boots in all emergency situations.
The Genflex2 dual density outsole with its multi-directional lugs assures the wearer of better traction on all surfaces. Whether climbing ladders or chasing suspects through dingy alleyways, these boots offer superior grip on both snow and rain. Composite safety toes reduce crushing injuries during vehicle pursuits and other physical occupational hazards.
Goodyear storm welt construction with 100% waterproof technology. Heavy-duty YKK side zipper with hook and loop overlapping closure keeps feet secured and protected. These boots will forever remain strong as the day is long.
- Removable single-density footbed
- Composite safety toe offer cushioning and support
- Compression-molded EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) midsole has appended flex for support
- High shine toe cap
- Advanced comfort and stability
- Loud squeaking
- Artificial materials
- Poor quality
This boot has an excellent rating on Amazon with strong consumer support. For a tactical boot of this quality, the price point is exceptional and extremely affordable.
It’s a good option for anyone looking for boots with a stellar reputation of serving law enforcement professionals, firefighters, and even military personnel around the world.
Big fan of the brand Thorogood? Check out our top 5 Thorogood boots review here!
2. Danner Men’s Kinetic 8″ Side-Zip GTX Work Boot
These boots are tough, responsive and ready to go when you are. Lightweight, weighing only 26.5 oz per boot, you will feel more comfortable and agile.
Your feet will remain dry and comfortable in all weather conditions in these 100% waterproof boots. Polyurethane midsole supports and protects your feet from penetrations and blunt force shocks.
The semi-locking side zippers of this boot are a useful feature over the traditional lacing up method of wearing boots. Its kinetic outsole is low-lug and puncture-proof with superior traction. When immediate acceleration is required, these boots can get you up and move.
These boots offer the best in performance with no limitations when on patrol or job sites. Most professionals in uniform and on special tactical teams prefer these boots, giving it the recognition it justly deserves.
Making claims to be the best pair of zipper work boots is one thing. However, backing up claims is another.
- Airthotic® heel clip for foot support
- The plush dual-density footbed provides supreme cushioning
- Polyurethane footbed for metatarsal protection
- Reinforced heel
- Nylon shank
- Rubber sole does not last
- Decreased longevity
- Poor craftsmanship
A good ranking on Amazon and also selected as an “Amazon Choice.” The price point is above all other leading similar styles with almost identical features. Positive consumer reviews indicate quite a different boot from those that are less pleased with these boots.
As one of the leading manufacturer of premium footwear for decades, these boots are all that they claim to be and so much more.
Speaking of the Danner brand, check out our more information about Danner boots review in-depth.
3. Bates Men’s 6 Inch Strike Side Zip Waterproof Tactical Boot
You will never strike out when while wearing these lightweight 6-inch boots. Weighing only 1.5 lbs, these boots are perfect for those always on the move.
Ideal for military and police activities, these boots are also a good fit or hiking and biking on ungroomed trails. Made of leather and ballistic nylon, they offer sturdy support and great comfort.
The outer sole is slip-resistant, providing the best possible traction on all surfaces.
Easy to use YKK side zipper with Velcro closure keeps the zipper free from dirt and other debris. These features make the boots a favorite choice for individuals involved with construction work, public safety, paramedics, and EMTs.
A removable insole with a breathable mesh tongue is one of the few features of these dependable boots that enhance its everyday use. Its multi-terrain slip-resistant outsole provides good traction in all environments. Excellent arch support provided by nylon shank with radius heel offers a full range of motion.
- Superior ventilation provides cooling and breathability
- Memory foam cushioning for comfort
- Puncture resistant midsole
- Full-grain leather makes it durable
- Built for enhanced foot speed
- Lack of quality
- Foul smell
Lower than expected ranking on Amazon. Both affordable and practical for a wide variety of wear conditions. These boots may feel a bit snug when first worn, which is normal. Lower back on the rear of the uppers is somewhat concerning.
Still not convinced? Look for more information here:
4. Original S.W.A.T. Men’s Metro Air 9-inch Side-Zip Tactical Boot
Putting your life on the line requires equipment that you can count on. This high-performance executed footwear allows you to perform at your best. These boots integrate air technology into one of the most comfortable and support systems offered on any similar workboot.
These are the preferred boots for airport security and correction officers who are on their feet all day walking across the concrete floors of large halls.
The non-metallic safety toe does not set off any alarms, a great feature for security personal working around sophisticated screening electronics. A custom-molded EVA midsole provides a high degree of comfort and support when needed.
Combination of nylon mesh and full-grain leather 9-inch uppers will keep your feet securely in place and comfortable. Nylon shank and 3-ply bonded thread make for a very durable, supportive and long-lasting pair of boots. Polishing the leather toe will impress your supervisors with a well-desired clean-cut look.
- Non-marking rubber outsole for better traction
- Stitched heel and toe for extended durability
- Texton stability platform for sidelong support
- Double-stitched upper
- Custom-molded thermoplastic heel counter
- Failing quality
- Not flexible
There appear to be some quality issues when compared to previous boots produced. This may be a direct result of the lower than expected ranking on Amazon.
Price is definitely not the problem as these boots are super affordable. An imposing looking pair of boots that mirror the professionals who wear these boots daily.
The right boots matter.
Confused? Maybe this additional information will help:
5. HQ ISSUE Men’s Waterproof 8″ Side Zip Desert Boots
When you are on a tough mission, you will want equally-tough boots. The suede and nylon uppers of these boots protect your feet from the harshest of conditions.
Moisture-wicking lining with 100% waterproof construction removes moisture and keeps your feet dry. These boots, designed with a higher performance standard, withstand some serious punishment.
Whether burning some carbs on the treadmill or hiking up rough mountain terrain in far-away countries, these work boots are a great investment.
It’s dependable, and sure-grip rubber outsoles keep your feet firmly on the ground. A mesh-lined padded insole provides welcoming comfort and support in all conditions.
Padded, gusseted three-quarter tongue keeps all debris out providing extra comfort. For proper underfoot support, the steel shank adds support to the arches of your feet.
These boots remain lightweight, weighing only 27 oz per boot. Achilles heel flex zone gives your feet more range of motion without sacrificing comfort or quality.
- Strobel construction
- Shock migration system
- YKK side zipper
- Knife pocket
- Full-length ortholite footbed
- No arch support
- Poor Fit
One of the highest-ranked desert boots on Amazon. An amazingly low price that is hard to believe, and “Amazon Choice” adds to the overall quality of these boots.
Military elite forces wear them in desert conditions with staggering temperatures. From war-torn countries to your next outdoor adventure, these are among the best zipper work boots you can depend on.
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6. Rocky Men’s 8″ Alpha Force Side Zipper WP Composite Toe Duty Boot-6173
You will be fully prepared when reporting for duty wearing these side-zipped composite safety toe boots. A polishable toe highlights the overall good looks of these work/tactical boots.
Its full-grain black leather is durable in all weather conditions. Heavy duty but extremely lightweight, the 1000 ballistic nylon inserts on both sides and gusseted tongue adds strength to the body of these boots.
The xtremium toe of these boots is lighter than steel, meeting all ASTM standards for safety. Its waterproof construction keeps moisture where it belongs – not in your boots! Airport footbed keeps your feet comfortable when standing for long periods on hard floor surfaces.
Side zippers placed on the inside of both boots, make for easier on and off. Non-marking RigiTrac rubber outsole provides a firm grip on all surfaces with thick cut, crisscrossing groves for stability on all surfaces. A non-metallic stabilizer fortifies the fit around your feet for perfect comfort.
Tips: Here is an article to help you if you don’t know how to blouse boots the right way.
- Rocky Air-Port® footbed provided support and cushioning
- Thicker insole in the heel area
- The cushioned footbed that targets metatarsal ridge
- Molded TPR counter to help maintain shape
- Classic full-rounded toe
- No negative issues
Affordable and in line with competing styles, these quality work/tactical boots have yet to be discovered by the consuming public. Available on Amazon since 2012, these work/tactical boots continued to be overshadowed by other well-known styles.
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7. Magnum Men’s Panther 8.0 Side Zip Military and Tactical Boot
There is a reason that these military/tactical boots are considered to be the number one selling boot on the market. These boots represent the best of the best, proudly serving first responders from around the world.
The smart black appearance of these boots is incredibly durable with a breathable hard-wearing leather upper. Its combination of leather and 900-denier nylon adds rigidity – a feature of vital importance when on night patrol or specialized maneuvers.
The composite shank of the boots is very supportive when crossing difficult terrain and climbing over and under obstacles. Superior traction is guaranteed with durable, rugged outsoles that take on the most brutal of conditions.
Side zippers work very well in all temperature extremes – from brutal cold to excessive heat. I-shield technology adds another layer of protection from water, oil, and human fluids. Agion antibacterial with moisture-wicking lining protects the feet of the elite from possible other foot conditions.
- Three density memory foam sock liner
- Deep lugged rubber outsole
- Shock-absorbing EVA insole
- Durable, rustproof side zippers
- Padded comfort collar
- Quality issues
- Poor quality leather
- Squeaking noises
Surprisingly, these military and tactical boots are not ranked as high as expected on Amazon. Obviously, it is not the price of these boots that deter buyers as the current listed price on Amazon is far below that of competing and similar styles.
Consumer reviews appear to be sketchy at best with a high probability of unwarranted and fictitious listed information.
You be the judge. Other information is available at:
Consider These Pointers Before Buying a Zipper Work Boot
Work boots with steel toes are designed for one purpose – to protect your toes from crushing injuries. Work boots with toe protection are available in 3 varieties, namely steel, aluminum, or composites. Work boots with steel toes are the most common, but not always the most comfortable.
Work boots with composite toes are as durable as boots with steel toes. Composite toes are lighter than steel and comprised of many different materials. Composite toe work boots are typically worn in extreme temperatures and have a non-conductive composition.
Foot support is essential in any type of shoe and especially in work boots. Foot support often determines your ability to perform your specific job duties to the fullest when working in construction, manufacturing, law enforcement, or the military.
Work boots worn today have either steel, fiberglass, or the recently introduced Kevlar shank. Shanks are designed to reduce the load on your feet by displacing the weight of your body across more surface of your work boots.
Your work boots need to be durable and capable of handling changing weather conditions and job requirements.
Good work boots for law enforcement and the military may require walking for miles on burning sands, through thick bush and mud chasing fugitives. The best side zip up work boots are usually waterproof, a feature which adds to its overall durability.
Gentle daily cleaning of the exterior of your work boots, depending on the material, will also add many months to its life.
Look for quality work boots that offer genuine leather composition with a means for heat dissipation. Side zipped boots may make your feet warmer during the summer months. Look for good work boots that allow your feet to breathe. Mesh uppers usually allow heat to escape with cooler drier air brought in.
Under extreme conditions, the material composition of your work/tactical boots takes the most punishment. Add wipe-on sealants and leather sealants as needed.
Millions of workers spend the majority of their day on their feet. From warehouses to construction sites and beyond, your work boots need to be comfortable. With moisture wicking capabilities, the best men’s zipper work boots will keep your feet warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
Midsoles made from EVA or Polyurethane are excellent for absorbing shocks and preventing punctures. The comfort of your work boots is often determined by the stiffness of the midsole.
Wearing heavy work boots all day will make your feet ache. Heavy work boots were once considered a sign of quality, but not anymore. Lightweight, weighing less than 2 lbs each, work boots should fit the intended use for optimum performance.
You have enough to carry around all day. Heavy work boots only increase the load.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Are the zippers in side-zipped boots dependable?
A. These zippers are primarily designed to take on the worst conditions. Also, they are made from the best materials available for increased wear. There have been very few cases where zippers have failed. Proper maintenance with a periodic application of a recommended lubricant is a good idea.
Q. Can you replace the side zipper on work boots?
A. If the zipper of your work boots has failed, take them to a qualified shoe repair shop and get an estimate on the replacement costs. Chances are the cost of replacing the zipper might be more than buying a new pair.
Q. What is the advantage of work boots with side zippers?
A. Boots with side zippers were first introduced into the military. Initially designed for dress uniforms, the paratroopers soon discovered the advantage of using boots with side zippers. Most first responders prefer side zip boots over traditional lace-up ones as they save time during combat preparation.
Boots with side zippers are worn by firefighters, law enforcement officers or any job serving the public that requires an immediate response.
Q. What does the YKK stand for on boots with side zippers?
A. Ready for this? YKK stands for Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha. Yoshida is a Japanese businessman and the foremost manufacturer of closures, mainly zippers, in the world. It remains unfortunate that more recognition was not given to the inventor of the YKK zipper. But at least now, you and everyone else reading this knows it.
This would be a good trivia question that probably 99.99% of the general public would not know the answer to.
Q. One of the zippers on my side zipped work boots does not stay up. What do you think is the problem?
A. These zippers have to be zipped to the top until you either hear or feel a “click.” This “click” means that they are up and locked into place. If your zipper continues to come down during the day, try applying some light lubrication to all of the zipper teeth. Dirt will get into the zipper mechanism and might be the cause of your problem.
If your work boots have an overlapping strap at the top, make sure it is secured after zipping your boots up.
Q Can side zippers be installed on other shoes?
A. Side zippers can be installed on virtually any shoe with a minimum height of 6 inches. Although the cost may not warrant such an installation, if side zippers are absolutely needed, consider removing the laces of your work boots and installing front zippers where the laces used to be. This will offer the same effect as a side zipper without excessive costs of installing side zippers.
Should you decide that the front installed zippers are not what you were looking for, just re-install the original laces. You will be dollars ahead and much more educated.
Your selection of men’s zipper work boots will depend on the intended use. Working on job sites at home to traveling through some of the most inhospitable countries in the world is often two very different scenarios. Members of the military depend on their shoes for protection from a variety of situations not experienced at job sites.
Rugged and dependable with features designed to protect your feet regardless of location, work boots offer the support and comfort to handle any given situation.
Remember that your work/tactical boots are an extension of your personality and the possibilities that you can offer to your teammates or squad leaders. Also note that the right boots will not just feel comfortable, but will also fight of foot ailments and prevent injuries to the bones around the feet.
If you are expected to be the best under all given circumstances, then wear the best work/tactical boots to provide you with the incentive to achieve all goals and objectives no matter where you are.