Police officers have to spend many hours on their feet. They may have to enter dangerous environments and they often have to run, chasing down suspects or simply getting to an emergency as quickly as possible.
Here are the questions that canny cops ask when choosing what they will wear on their feet.
Are the shoes comfortable?
Hours and hours on your feet can be torture if your shoes are uncomfortable. If rubbing shoes lead to popped infected blisters then an officer might be unable to perform their duties. Even minor discomfort is a distraction and at Hendon everyone learns how distractions can be dangerous. That is why comfort comes right to the top of this list. Dr Martens produce two shoes (The Arlington and the Classic PW2216) that have airwear soles. Anyone who has owned a pair of DMs knows just how comfortable those soles are, particularly when you are standing for long periods.
Are the shoes or boots supportive?
The police regularly end up traversing uneven ground. A twisted ankle is something nobody wants, so strong supportive footwear is a must when you are on duty. The Alt-berg Blue Line series were as the name suggests, specifically engineered for police service.
Are the boots flexible?
Many boots and work shoes trade support for flexibility. Having that correct balance of strong support combined with the flexibility so an officer can be nimble is a fine art that all bootmakers strive to achieve. The lack of flexibility in many steel-toed work boots is why police officers generally go for something a little more specialised. When it comes to flexibility Alt berg may have the edge over Magnum and Dr Martens, but it is marginal.
Are they long lasting?
Nobody wants footwear that falls apart after a month or two. Alt berg score well on how long they last, but Magnum Patrol CEN boots also last a long time and retain their looks.
Are they actually allowed?
All forces have a dress code and footwear must be of plain black, lace up and low-heeled. There is usually some a caveat such as “in keeping with
uniform appearance” so that if someone wears shoes or boots that are technically within the rules, but stand out too much for a senior officers liking, the ‘in keeping’ rule can be applied at will.
Can they be polished?
According to the Nottinghamshire Police Standards, item 4.12.2 states that “Footwear must be polished”. For this reason alone, Suede, Nubuck and so on are completely off the options list.
Are the boots value for money?
Don’t go for lowest priced boots. There are plenty of unbranded imports that look great value but will fall apart in a few months. Choose reputable brands such as Magnum, Bates, Lowa, Blueline, Dr Martens and Alt-berg.
Do I look good in these?
Lets face it, police officers are as vain as everyone else. When you look good, you feel good!
So, having asked all these questions I am sure you are expecting me to say “and here are the best shoes for police officers”. Well the world is more complex than that. I have mentioned some of the most popular shoes and boots available for police in the U.K. today. These are the footwear that can be seen holding up the thin blue line, but ultimately it is up to you which brand you prefer. Whichever you choose, remember to look after your boots and shoes and they will look after you.