First Tactical was founded to develop and produce products to meet the needs of first responders. There was a need for products for special teams that was not available at the time. First Tactical prides itself on listening to the customer and making what they want. The First Tactical 7” Operator Boot is no exception.
In developing the 7” Operator Boot, First Tactical set out to create a quality piece of footwear at an affordable price. They wanted a lightweight and breathable boot with the flexibility and comfort of an athletic shoe while maintaining the durability needed for special operations. A lot of thought and real-world experience went into the design.
Available in your choice of Coyote Brown or Black, the 7” Operator Boot features a 100% synthetic microfiber PU suede leather lower, made of polyamide (nylon) and polyurethane (PU), for superior abrasion resistance. It’s lightweight but tough.
Built on a running shoe platform, the boot has a full EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) closed-cell foam mid-sole that creates a cushioning effect, as well as stability, which are the most important factors in a good mid-sole.
The boot has a performance dual-density open-cell foam insole with a molded foam cuff to enhance heel hold and protection. On the tongue and upper ankle, open-cell foam provides long term cushioning, high-level breath ability, moisture management, and light weight comfort.
It has a durable full rubber sole, which means there’s no exposed EVA at the bottom heel, which eliminates any delamination issues, something that can occur with many boots. The sole is non-marking and oil- and slip-resistant. The sole material in conjunction with the proprietary First Tactical tread pattern on slippery, wet surfaces, loose scree and on steep and uneven terrain.
The sole has a smallheel a small cut-out that’s designed to allow you to take a ladder without any issues. A lightweight TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) heel clip centers the heel over the EVA mid-sole so you get a superior heel strike and provides stability for the heel cup. The boot has a TorsionFlex™ fiberglass reinforced composite shank that is 75% lighter than steel and provides superior stability over a nylon shank.
The upper is made of breathable textile nylon air meshand TPU. The TPU detailing looks good and more importantly provides structural support. The no-sew detailing is all welded and glued for strength and lightweight performance. Enhanced airflow pockets provide superior ventilation and material provides comfort on the hottest of days. Nothing is more miserable than having consistently sweaty feet.
The laces are captured all the way up the tongue. The gusseted tongue helps keep debris out and the laces. The upper speed-lace hooks are closed loops to prevent any external objects from catching on the hooks. There’s a pouch on the top of the tongue that allows the ends tied laces to be tucked inside. You don’t need to tuck them down inside your boot creating additional hotspots.
There’s an Achilles flex-point on the back of the boot that alleviates the hotspot that one usually gets with a regular boot, so longer drives are a non-issue. There’s also a stay-flat pull tab that allows you to pull the boot on without the tab sticking up. The stay-flat pull tab also allows the pant leg to glide over the boot, especially getting in and out of the car.
There are two hidden pockets, one on each the side of the upper cuff, which are designed for the First Tactical Scorpion knife. They can also be used to conceal small SERE tools.
As mentioned at the outset, one of the goals was to keep the weight down without sacrificing ruggedness. The boots (pair) weigh 3.5 to 4.35 lbs depending on the size.
Most boots require a break-in period. This was not the case with the 7” Operator Boots I received. The boots were quite comfortable out of the box. Keep in mind that everybody’s feet are different. A boot that works for me might not work for you. Fit of the same size boot varies brand to brand.
After several hours of hiking over varied terrain with a moderate pack in the rugged mountains of the Arizona Sonora Desert my feet still felt great. The lightweight and ventilation was appreciated as a put on the miles in near triple digit temperatures. They were comparable to a good pair of hiking boots.
Comfort is king when it comes to boots, especially over the crushing miles. There were no pressure points and the boots had large toe box contributed to comfort. My toes were not cramped which is important for extended comfort. The foot bed was well cushioned.
The boots had excellent torsional stability, which is the boot’s ability to resist twisting of the sole on uneven terrain. It’s important since better torsional stability translates to less fatigue in the feet.
My foot didn’t feel it when I stepped on the numerous sharp rocks on the trail, which can be a very uncomfortable issue with the soles on many lighter weight boots.
The fit and construction of the ankle collar are important to overall comfort. the ankle collar felt great and provided good stability. The lacing system was great and the ability to tuck the laces into the tongue rather than the boot added to the overall comfort.
In conclusion, the First Tactical 7” Operator Boot is an outstanding tactical boot. It’s a comfortable, lightweight boot that’s built to withstand rough conditions. MSRP is only $129.99. It’s imported.
I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer via Spotter Up so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.
*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.