1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Leather bunker boots vs. Rubber bunker boots

    In the department I work for we have been considering leather bunker boots. Some have good questions as do I. Like, how do they hold up? Do they leak through when getting soaked? Can they be "deconned"? Which style do you use, the bunker style or the lace up with zippers? Do you have a problem with the fit? Is the cost difference worth it?
    I would love to hear from some of you on this subject. It would be of great help.

    Tim Mondero
    Lieutenant/Delaware Township Volunteer Fire Dept.
    Firefighter/Fort Leavenworth F.D.

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    I have used leather bunker boots, pull up style, for ten years. I am very happy with them.

    1. If you put mink oil on the outside when you first get them you will not every have a problem with them leaking. There was one manufacturer which recently recalled some for just this problem.
    2. Decon will be a problem. I have yet to have to replace mine since as an Operational level responder, I'm not supposed to be stepping in the stuff. Hot zone, cool zone, cold zone? Where are you supposed to be?
    3. When I was the Coordinator for Fire/Industrial programs at the Montgomery County Fire Academy in Montgomery Co. PA I frequently wore my gear all day. Before I got the leather boots I suffered from pain in the lower back and lower legs. Shortly after I got my leather boots I no longer suffered from these ailments.
    4. You will want a boot that initially will be difficult to put on. But as you use them they will get looser and easier to put on and take off.
    5. You will be suprized by how long you will be able to operate with leathers as opposed to the rubber. It's like going from oxford shoes to nike sneakers.

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Our full time firefighters have three types of footwear issued. All three have safety toecaps and anti penetration soles. They are:
    Black shoes for round the station. Army type ankle supporting leather boots (lace up with zippers) and traditional rubber firefighting gumboots. The leather boots have an internal tongue that stops it leaking unless you are in calf high water but they are issued for use in brush fires or special service incidents which don't require bunker gear. They make a great addition to the bunker gear and can be worn round station too, particularly in rural areas. If your budget stretches you may be able to have the best of both worlds, if not I think the hassles of drying them after being soaked and decontamination issues will mean they are not practical as the sole (pardon the pun) issue.
    Jim Maclean
    Auckland NZ

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I recently became a user of the leather pull up fireboot. I absolutely love them. They are so much lighter it is amazing. They have seen a fair amount of fire and I have not had a single problem with them. The recommendation is you should order about one half size smaller than what you usually wear. That way, they will then stretch as leather does. Hope this helps.

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I started using leather boots about two years ago. First I had a pair of zip up Pro's. Love them. Good for kicking around the station or doing extrication classes. Not my most favorite pair for the house fire situation though. They tend to be a little short sometimes. The next pair I got was a pair of the Pro pull on boots. They also are real comfortable. The problem with the rubber boot is the fact that some of the older style are not "shoe fit." That causes a person to walk differently than they normally would because the heel of the boot is dragging and not on the wearers heel. Hence the back pain that AMFM is talking about. The tight fit of a new boot my scare people away at first. Mine were tight for the first couple of calls then one day they fit just right. I recommend both the leather and the rubber. They both come in the "shoe fit" styles. The leather are maybe a little more expensive but they are lighter on the dogs at the end of the day.
    As far as durability goes I have not seen any problems with the people in my station. I have never had a problem with either pair of leather boots I have. I like to keep my rubber boots around just in case there comes that day when I need them as a back up. I don't know if the leathers should be deconned though.

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    hello i am from s.c. and we use leather fire boots and yes they can b decon we use servus fire boots and they have never leaked when in lot,s of water.

  7. #7
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    Smile boots

    i have used leather and rubber bunker boots and i think the leather ones are far more comfortable as the rubber gets heavy since im a size 14 but i couldnt care either way

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