How to Wear Combat Boots Correctly

by Brian Connolly

Traditionally designed for soldiers engaging in live combat or combat training simulations, combat boots have recently made headway as a popular fashion apparel item as well. Built with an emphasis on a sturdy grip, ankle stability and foot protection suitable to rugged environments, combat boots provide a functional and oftentimes stylish addition to contemporary footwear. Though the U.S. Marines have since discarded the common shined black boot model for a tan rough-out nonshine design, Doc Martens still provides these and a multitude of other combat boot varieties.

Step 1

Place a small mirror on the ground, and position yourself so that you see your foot clearly in the reflection.

Step 2

Put on your socks and stretch them up your ankle to the desired height.

Step 3

Untie and loosen the shoestrings on your combat boots, and place your feet inside them. Ensure that your feet have ample breathing room while not being too large for your feet (getting the proper snug fit for your foot is important when it comes to combat boots; if your pair does not fit perfectly, you may be able to exchange them if they are not damaged or scuffed, suggests the Essortment website.

Step 4

Pull on the laces closest to the toes on each foot to tighten the bottom of the shoe. Pull on each lace as you move up each foot, progressively tightening the shoe and creating more slack higher up your ankle. Continue until the shoes are adequately laced.

Step 5

Pull on the shoe “tongue” between the laces as you begin to tie your knot. Make sure you pull up on the laces before tying your shoestrings in a basic half-hitch knot. Pull tightly before tying a bowknot on each shoe. Perform double and triple knots as needed until the shoestrings do not drag on the floor.

Step 6

Test the sturdiness of the shoes to ensure that all parts of the shoe are securely fastened.

Items you will need

  • Mirror
  • Wool or other sturdy, thick socks
  • Combat boots


  • Combat boots are notorious for their rigidity as you begin to break them in. To help this process and ensure that your feet do not get hurt in the process, place an adhesive bandage on the middle of your heel, where the back of the shoe applies the most pressure, or wear two pairs of socks as you break in your shoes at home. Sometimes it helps to stretch the leather with your hands while holding the shoe to help the breaking-in process. Plan ahead, and give your shoes as much time to break in as possible before wearing them outdoors.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images

About the Author

Based in the Appalachian Mountains, Brian Connolly is a certified nutritionist and has been writing professionally since 2000. He is a licensed yoga and martial arts instructor whose work regularly appears in “Metabolism,” “Verve” and publications throughout the East Coast. Connolly holds advanced degrees from the University of North Carolina, Asheville and the University of Virginia.