Essential gear for trapshooting: tactical boots and multi tools

Laces or Zippers on Your Tactical Boots?

When trapshooting, people often ask what’s best: laced boots/shoes, or unlaced ones. We’ll address that issue here.

No matter if your tactical boots are made of suede or Gore-Tex, whether you should go for tactical boots with zippers on the side has always been something to consider for you.

Some think zippers allow you to don or remove the boot without lacing or unlacing it.

Why consider zippers in the first place?

When it comes to zippers, there’s no easier way to put it: they sure make putting your boots fast and easy. You don’t spend so many minutes lacing and unlacing and you get to quickly spring into action. Or you can take off your boots just as fast in order the keep your house clean and nice.

As a plus, you can never get the fit wrong with a zipper as it’s able to give you the same fit every single time. When you lace and re-lace your boots, it’s very possible not to get the same tightness every time. So, when it comes to repeatability, there’s no other sure thing like a zipper.

Can you still adjust a zippered tactical boot?

The first time you put on a side zippered boot, it’s better to zip up the zipper and then put the boot on as you would a boot without a zipper. Adjust the tightness of the laces during the first day to get the right, comfortable fit.

Once you are comfortable, tie the laces into a double knot and lock them in place. When you need to take the boots off, simply use the zipper. As you get to your best fit, it can take several weeks until you need to use the laces again. As long as you make a solid, rugged double knot.

Are zippers reliable?

It’s very true that in the early days of zippers, they tended to fail very often. Many people with zippered shoes used to wear a multi tool with pliers just to get their zippers fixed again. But, as time went by, the initial problems got solved and zippers started to perform better. Nowadays, a good, rugged and reliable YKK zipper on the side of your tactical boots doesn’t fail anymore. For those of you who like numbers, it’s estimated that 2 zippers fail per 1000 boots sold and if that happens in the first year of your boots, the manufacturer will most likely replace the boots.

We all know we want protection when it comes to our tactical boots, and that goes also for the laces or zippers, in this case. A zipper is actually another pathway for water to enter the boot, but a waterproof gusset behind the zipper keeps water away from foot. So, a zipper may keep your tactical boot still waterproof- just as long the boot is water proof and not water resistant.

So, unless your uniform regulations prevent wearing a tactical boot with a zipper, you can always get tactical boots with zippers. But, for a police officer, EMT a tactical boot with zipper might be the perfect choice.

And…if not zippers?

You can always get to the traditional speed lacing system which may vary on how they cinch the upper of the boot tight to the tongue to stabilize your ankle.

Some boots have eyelets that enter the loop horizontally, creating a turn in the lace. You can find boots with aglet, where the lace enters the loop vertically.

The most traditional lacing system is the genuine speed lace system that features an open ended hook that you manually lace every time you put the boot on. This is a slow procedure once you get used to is as it gives you the fastest speed once you’re good at it.

Are all laces made equal?

Laces used to be typically made of a blend of several fibers (jute, hemp or cotton). That’s not the case anymore and most manufacturers today use synthetic fabric that is more rugged, but slippery. Slippery is not good though as your boots get loose. A loose boot means space for friction and friction means blisters and sour spots, after some time.

But, the solution to that is the 550 cord that can not only sustain suspension lines on a parachute, but also tighten your boots for a day.



The best closure system on your tactical boot is the one that gives you the perfect fit. Either you need 5 minutes to lace it or 20 seconds to zip it, at the end of the day you only want one thing: no blisters whatsoever.


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