The question at hand is whether you prefer your tactical boot with or without a side zip. You know exactly which team you’re on before reading any further. It’s a debate that has lived on for years in the world of tactical footwear between the first responders and military personnel that wear them.

So why are we so set in our ways – so 110% one-sided – when it comes to what we prefer with our side zip boots? We may never know what sets us apart, but here’s what the Bates team has heard from the field:

Team Side Zip

The ability to easily and quickly zip the boot on and zip it off without having to untie the laces is a huge plus. Instead of taking the time to tighten the boots with the laces then using the side zip, it’s as easy as zipping them up and walking out the door.

Another common opinion is that the side zip is a nice feature to have in the hotter summer months so you can unzip your boots while in your car, while still leaving them on, letting your feet breathe and cool down.

Team No Side Zip

Many veterans and first responders with a military background prefer boots without a side zip. One reason for this is that U.S. Armed Forces aren’t allowed to wear boots with side zips and are just used to tying their laces up high and tight every time.

We’ve heard from this same group that they feel a side zip on a boot is just a point of weakness and another piece that can fail or break while in the field. While this may be true for some brands, Bates side zip boots have been wear-tested for durability and are often preferred over non-side zip boots.

No matter what team you’re on, Bates has the right boots for you and offers a variety of styles both with and without side zippers.

Here are our favorites:

Most comfortable side zip boot: GX-8 Waterproof Composite Toe Side Zip
Most comfortable non side zip boot: 5” Tactical Sport Boot

Best 6 inch side zip boot: Shock 6” Side Zip
Best 6 inch non side zip boot: Rush Mid

Best 8 inch side zip boot: 8” Tactical Sport DRYGuard Side Zip
Best 8 inch non side zip boot: USMC Lightweight DuraShocks® Boot

Composite toe side zip boot: 5” Tactical Sport Composite Toe Side Zip Boot
Composite toe non side zip boot: Ranger II Hot Weather Composite Toe Boot

Waterproof side zip boot: GX-8 Side Zip Boot with GORE-TEX®
Waterproof non side zip boot: Maneuver Mid Waterproof

Check out all Men’s Side Zip Boots or all Women’s Side Zip Boots.

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