Review – Bates Bomber Boots

New boots are one of my favorite pieces of gear to get. They are also one of my least favorite pieces of gear to purchase. Trying to find boots that, offer protection, and look good can be a very daunting task.

My favorite pair of boots is currently 12 years old. Sure I wear other ones regularly but whenever my feet hurt or I just don’t feel comfortable I always go back to my tried and true pair of boots. There are times when it takes 3-5 years before I feel a boot is good enough to wear every day.


One of the main things I look at when I shop for boots is how well they are put together. Are they stitched cleanly and with strong materials? Do they have thick pliable leather with a finish that can handle some abuse? When it comes to riding boots the other questions I ask is do they offer protection?

“Bates Bomber is proudly manufactured in Big Rapids, Michigan. It is Berry Compliant and the perfect boot for riding or casual wear. The 5 stars represent the 5 branches of our military, along with red stitching as a reminder of the sacrifice made by our military. The flag on the right boot matches the flags worn on uniforms to symbolize going into battle.
• Water-Resistant Leather and Nylon
• Dri-Lex® Lining
• Leather Toe Shift Reinforcement
• Leather Heel Pull
• Poron XRD® Side Impact Foam
• Vibram® Rubber Lug Outsole
• Leather Welt Construction
• Proudly Manufactured in The USA”
The Bomber boot answers all of my questions with a resounding Yes. I think the single greatest feature is the inclusion of the Poron XRD® Side Impact Foam. The boot has a distinctive military look that reflects the old jungle boot styling. The side impact foam is inserted into the textile sides and while pliable and compliant while wearing it hardens on impact and provides excellent armor protection. The sheer size of the insert gives possibly the largest and most complete ankle coverage of any boot we have tested of this style.

I have been spoiled by side zipper boot entry and I do miss it a little bit. The fitment of a full lace up boot, however, means it is a minor issue that I can definitely overlook. The boots lace design allows it to conform to your leg and ankle with no pressure points or uncomfortable areas like you sometimes find. The leather is pliable yet sturdy. The tongue of the boot is molded to the sides to help with the weather protection and so far I haven’t had any issues with water.

If there is a minor niggle it would be that the boot fits just slightly large.


It’s hard to truly gauge how well a boot will last over the long term based on a few months of use. So far the boots show very little wear, minor scuffing on the shifter pads from use. The brown leather has a natural tendency to weather and gain a patina. The boots are also offered in black for those who don’t want that.

Priced at $335 these are not inexpensive boots, then again they don’t offer cheap boot features. Waterproof, with reactive armor in the sides, high-quality stitching, Vibram sole, and details like the American flag make the boot an excellent value. We are certainly happy with ours.


Bates doesn’t actually offer a women’s boot just yet but my wife has been wearing a set of the same boot. She loves them. Her only want would be to offer a version with some insulation when they make the ladies boots. Her feet tend to be cold and if the temp is below 70 she has to wear heavy duty socks with these. Which may explain the slightly large sizing.

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