The premium quality of the Bates Men’s GX-8 GORE-TEX Side Zip Boot was apparent from the moment I slipped it on. The leather felt top-notch, and I was more than happy that it was waterproof as well, so I had no trouble working outdoors even in inclement weather. Even the outsole felt exceptionally sturdy and gave me the confidence to go out and take on challenging tasks without worrying about stability, especially on slippery terrain. This boot comes in another version that is insulated to provide enhanced warmth for the foot, making it a more suitable choice for working in cold environments. For increased foot protection against impact and compression, the Bates Men’s 8-Inch Tactical Sport DRYGuard Side Zip Composite Toe Boot comes with composite safety toe caps without the considerable weight and bulk. If protection from wetness is not a main concern, check out the classic Bates Men’s 8-Inch Ultralite Tactical Sport Side Zip Military Boot that delivers enhanced performance and flexibility in a lightweight package. The Thorogood Men’s Gen-Flex2 Series 8-Inch Tactical Side Zip Boot is an outstanding option that guarantees a waterproof construction enhanced with gel heel inserts that absorb shock for foot fatigue prevention. Meanwhile, the Original S.W.A.T. Men’s Metro Air 9-Inch Side-Zip Tactical Boot is a suitable choice for working on extended duties with its heel air cushion and custom-molded midsole for full support.
Designed to take on challenging military and tactical duties as well as tough outdoor jobs, the Bates Men’s GX-8 GORE-TEX Side Zip Boot is Bates’ bestselling product that delivers much more than the essentials. It embodies the premium-quality protection and functionality that are synonymous with the brand, so you can be sure you’re getting more than your money’s worth with this investment. The GORE-TEX waterproof lining works together with the waterproof full-grain leather to guarantee long-lasting foot protection against wetness while ensuring that comfortable breathability is fully enjoyed as well. Inside, the cushioned insert works to provide the padding necessary to keep discomfort at bay even with long hours of duty. The side zipper is designed to make putting on and removal of the boot effortless, although I did experience a bit of difficulty when putting on the boot because the structure quickly locked in on my foot. We will go into more detail below to determine which qualities make this boot an outstanding choice, and which features need to be enhanced for overall better functionality.
If you’re after premium design and durability in a tactical boot, this product guarantees exactly that along with outstanding waterproofing.
- Tactical, law enforcement, or military duty, and for other demanding jobs
- Working in tough outdoor conditions where excellent waterproofing is a necessity
- Those who prefer a heavy-duty work boot with lightweight construction
The Bates Men’s GX-8 GORE-TEX Side Zip Boot is constructed with more focus on safety and functionality, but that doesn’t mean that it compromises comfortability. The boot has a cushioned insert that provides ample padding to hug the foot’s curves, preventing foot fatigue from setting in. The padding felt thick enough to keep my feet reasonably comfortable with the long hours of work, especially given the heavy-duty structure of the boot. The insert is removable, so it was easy for me to clean this part to maintain a fresh environment within the boot. The GORE-TEX membrane was an excellent addition to the boot, and I fully appreciated its presence when working all day long in hot outdoor conditions. This waterproof membrane worked double-time to keep my foot dry and comfortable by wicking away moisture, so I didn’t suffer from uncomfortably sweaty feet even with the nonstop activities and extended boot use. The cushioned midsole worked with the cement construction to deliver the flexibility I needed to be able to work continuously on the various tasks of the day without limiting my mobility and efficiency in the process.
I liked the way the padded collar provided the extra cushioning at the top of the foot to prevent chafing, and how it stopped pebbles and other debris from getting into the boot.
The boot is designed with a lightweight profile that made moving easier since I didn’t have the extra weight on my foot to slow me down. Overall, I felt that the boot could have been more comfortable, but that may be a small price to pay given the protective, heavy-duty performance that this boot delivered in the long run.
With all the premium materials and protective features in place, I was pleasantly surprised at the lightness of the boot’s construction. It relatively lightweight, but at the same time, had that comforting bulk that helped with stability while walking over challenging terrain. This is a result of the lightweight cement construction that also added to the flexibility. The absence of metal safety toes considerably decreases the boot’s overall weight.
The rubber outsole of this boot is slip-resistant – a feature that became truly beneficial when I was walking over slippery terrain. Even with challenging surface conditions, I managed to stay upright without slipping, thanks to the strong grip of the outsole on the ground. This reliable traction will be of great use for tactical and military use when quick movements are crucial. The rubber outsole worked with the EVA midsole and cement construction to deliver remarkable flexibility that also contributed to the ease of using the boot.
Fit and Sizing
The Bates Men’s GX-8 GORE-TEX Side Zip Boot is true to size. It’s built to lock the feet in for a snug fit that delivers increased security, especially when moving rapidly over challenging terrain, which may be part of regular military or law enforcement duties. While the locked-in feeling adds stability and security, this attribute can also feel a bit uncomfortable when the boot is worn for a long time, especially when the strong boot construction begins to feel too stiff with extended use. The side zipper is designed to make putting the boot on and removing it easier to do. However, the task still felt a bit challenging even with the presence of the side zipper because the structure quickly locked into my foot. In the end, it took a little more effort and time before I was able to finally maneuver my foot into the boot.
This boot is made with a premium, full-grain leather material that’s waterproof, preventing water and other liquids from entering the boot even when you’re working in wet conditions. The boot is further enhanced with a waterproof GORE-TEX membrane that embraces the foot with another protective layer to guarantee foot dryness no matter how long you work outdoors in the rain, and even when the surrounding area is filled with puddles of water or mud. With this outstanding waterproofing in place, this boot can be relied on to deliver unbeatable foot protection against wetness in tough outdoor conditions.
Aside from offering continuous waterproof protection, the GORE-TEX membrane also works to keep the interior of the boot properly ventilated to stop discomfort due to overheating. The membrane allows air to enter the boot so that heat can escape before it can build up to extreme warmth. It also wicks away moisture so that the foot can stay comfortable and sweat-free even with extended boot-wearing.
Quality and Durability
The excellent quality of the materials can be felt and appreciated from the moment the boots are first worn.
The leather feels thick enough to withstand the elements in tough working environments outdoors and looks strong enough to fight premature damage that may otherwise be expected with lower-quality leather.
The outsole has a thick construction with prominent treads to deliver strong traction so that moving over wet and slippery surfaces can be done quickly and confidently without slipping, which can be a necessity while on tactical or military duty and when dealing with other similarly demanding jobs. The cement construction of the boot guarantees a strong bond that keeps the upper and the outsole attached firmly to each other and delivers lightweight flexibility for effortless movement all day long.
The Bates Men’s GX-8 GORE-TEX Side Zip Boot is only available in black and comes with another version that has the same features, including the waterproof leather upper, GORE-TEX membrane for enhanced waterproofing and breathability, and rugged rubber outsoles that deliver strong traction. This second version – the Bates Men’s GX-8 GORE-TEX Insulated Side Zip Boot – is further enhanced with 200 grams of Thinsulate insulation that delivers increased warmth to keep the foot comfortable when working in cold weather, which will be especially beneficial for those instances when the job requires long hours of being exposed to the harsh elements.
Bates Men’s GX-8 GORE-TEX Side Zip Boot
The first competitor is the insulated version of the Bates Men’s GX-8 GORE-TEX Side Zip Boot. This boot is also 8 inches high and comes with the same premium full-grain leather upper that is waterproof to prevent water and liquids from entering the boot. The boot also has the GORE-TEX membrane to lock the foot in a waterproof layer that also works to promote breathability within the boot. This second version comes with Thinsulate insulation that embraces the foot in cozy warmth, making this boot a suitable choice for working in cold climates or in the rain. With just a $10 difference between the two versions, the upgrade to include the insulation layer is definitely worth considering.
Bates Men’s 8-Inch Tactical Sport DRYGuard Side Zip Composite Toe Boot
The second challenger comes from the same brand as well – the Bates Men’s 8-Inch Tactical Sport DRYGuard Side Zip Composite Toe Boot. This boot is a part of the brand’s bestselling Ultralite collection that features boots with superior strength and durability in lightweight profiles. This boot comes with a waterproof construction that guarantees long-lasting foot dryness and comfort when working in wet conditions. It also has a side zipper for convenient foot entry and boot removal, while the lightweight structure helps with effortless and efficient movements. This boot comes with a composite safety toe that acts as a barrier to protect the foot from being severely crushed when something heavy falls on it, making this option an ideal one for working in conditions and surroundings that may involve impact and compression threats.
Bates Men’s 8-Inch Ultralite Tactical Sport Side Zip Military Boot
If waterproofing is not a major consideration, the Bates Men’s 8-Inch Ultralite Tactical Sport Side Zip Military Boot is a noteworthy option that offers comfort and functionality for tough jobs. This boot has a removable cushioned insert that cradles the foot to prevent discomfort even with extended boot-wearing. It also has a built-in side zipper to make putting on and taking off the boot easier to deal with, which will make prep times shorter so you can immediately be ready for your duty. The lightweight construction of the boot makes it a reliable companion for all-day work as it provides continuous flexibility. This ensures that your mobility won’t be compromised in any way. At a price of just under $100, this tactical boot comes at a price point and overall package that is hard to beat.
Thorogood Men’s Gen-Flex2 Series 8-Inch Tactical Side Zip Boot
The Thorogood Men’s Gen-Flex2 Series 8-Inch Tactical Side Zip Boot is another waterproof work boot that can withstand difficult work environments. Aside from the waterproof exterior, this boot also has an exclusive waterproof lining in place that acts as a protective barrier against dangerous liquid substances. The dual-density rubber outsole features aggressive treads that deliver excellent traction on wet and slippery surfaces. A proprietary gel heel insert works to keep the foot protected from fatigue as a result of repetitive movements over extended periods. This boot maintains a lightweight structure even with all the heavy-duty materials, making it a great choice for military and tactical duties or for doing other activities that require exposure to the elements.
Original S.W.A.T. Men’s Metro Air 9-Inch Side-Zip Tactical Boot
The Original S.W.A.T. Men’s Metro Air 9-Inch Side-Zip Tactical Boot is a strong competitor that delivers a high level of comfort for extended duty requirements. It comes with a heel air cushion that helps absorb most of the shock that comes from continuous movement so that foot fatigue and working overtime will not be a problem. A custom-molded midsole keeps the foot fully supported all day while maintaining lightweight flexibility that won’t interfere with your agility at crucial moments. This boot has the most affordable price point in this list of competitors, but the low price is reflected in the absence of waterproofing and toe protection.
Conclusion & Verdict
The Bates Men’s GX-8 GORE-TEX Side Zip Boot is a premium work boot choice that delivers much more than the bare essentials. It is built to withstand tough working conditions and challenging tasks with its waterproof full-grain leather and a GORE-TEX membrane to keep the foot secured and comfortably cool. Even with the side zipper in place, the boot, however, can be quite difficult to put on because of its rigid construction. The result is a medium level of comfortability that may not be an issue with a few hours of work but can pose problems with extended boot-wearing. The lack of safety toe protection works twofold – the boot doesn’t provide protection from impact and compression hazards but retains a lightweight construction without the heavy metal component.