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How to buy EMS boots

Here are the top three things to consider when selecting a pair of duty boots

By Dan White

I met a 9/11 responder who said he always used to wear black tennis shoes on the job — up until the World Trade Center disaster. Now he always wears Danner boots. When disaster strikes, good foot protection is a high priority.

Finding the right duty boot for you can prove to be a difficult and challenging task, but you will find it to be both rewarding and crucial in allowing you to do your job well.

Here are the top three things to consider when selecting a pair of duty boots:

1. Get a good fit. Proper fit is crucial not only to comfort but also performance. The one tip I can give to getting the best fit is to take your time. I hate to shop, and so do many other men. I’d rather give birth through my eyeballs than spend two hours in a mall. Mad dashes in, grabbing what I need, and getting out fast usually characterizes my shopping trips. This is the one time you DON’T want to do that.

It takes a few minutes for the subtle differences in cut, design, and form to deliver their impressions to your brain. Tiny fit problems in the store can translate into suffering later on the job.

It also really helps to be in a store with experienced sales people. A really good shoe person knows a lot about fit. The very last thing they want to see you come back with is slightly worn shoes you want to trade. So the pros take the time to ensure you get a proper fit.

2. Pay a little extra for quality. Once you know what works for you (make, model, size), then on your next pair you can do some internet price shopping for the very best deal. But until you have dialed in what you wear, you are best served trying them on in a store and paying a little extra. Boots are one purchase where great quality costs real money. You can easily spend $200 or more on a top quality pair of boots. But it’s really worth it in the long run. You will feel better, work better, and ultimately they will probably last longer.

3. Buy a reputable brand. There are many other great boots on the market today. Seek out boots from manufacturers that have been around a long time. A reputable established company will typically support their products better. If you have a problem later they will be much more inclined to resolve it to your satisfaction.

My current Redback Rescue boots are simply the most comfortable boots I’ve ever worn. They are built like a tank with triple-stitched full-leather uppers; full leather lining, a center zip, and even ANSI steel toes. By the end of the first day of wear, they felt like familiar old friends on my feet.
But there are many other good boots on the market today like Danner, HAIX, Bates, Ridge, Globe, Timberland, Redwing Boots, Converse, Ridge, and Thorogood to name a few. When selecting a boot, start first with finding the right fit, and then focus on which features you really need and can afford. Boots are probably one of the most expensive parts of an EMS uniform — but they are also one of the most important. Take your time to find the pair that works best for you and ensure you don’t regret an impulsive purchase.

Any other suggestions? Anything we missed in the list above? Leave a comment below or email with your feedback.