Why is Full Grain Leather Used in Tactical Boots? | Top 3 Picked Full Grain Leather Tactical Boots

Full grain leather is one of the most sought-after materials in the tactical boot industry. Furthermore, it is also the #1 most popular component in the boot industry.

Besides the boots industry, full grain leather is also extremely common in the production of watch bands, bags, furniture…

Why is there such popularity? Which properties of full grain leather conquer the heart of boot makers and demanding users?

To answer that question, come with us and explore the reasons why full grain leather used in tactical boots was born.

Let’s get it started!

What is full grain leather?

Full grain leather is the toughest part of leather and the most quality grain that can be found in leather. So it can be said that full grain leather is the most advanced component to create the best leather products.

Full grain leather has very little imperfections. This type of leather can keep its natural state as it doesn’t go through many stages of processing (If you don’t know, most non-full grain leather types are sanded, stuffed or polished to remove scratches, mosquitoes, scars…). As for full grain leather, it is the leather layer behind the fur of the animal.

It does not need to go through many steps to create full grain leather, just remove all the hair on the whole leather and tan the leather.

The most difficult thing in the production of full grain leather is that the rate of finding beautiful full grain leather on animal skins is quite low.

Therefore, to be able to find as many standard and beautiful full grain leather pieces as possible, animals providing leather must be nurtured and cared for in good condition (strict environment, clean sanitation) to avoid scars from scabies, mosquito bites, fighting…

Due to undergoing strict care from the very beginning and few processing, full grain leather retains almost all of the grains on the surface and preserves the best naturalness of leather.

People love full grain leather because it retains the natural beauty. Also, it is durable, strong and breathable, very difficult to crack, tear or peel.

Why is full grain leather used in tactical boots?

Most people who are fans of tactical boots often wear them for many purposes such as outdoor activities, hiking, travel, adventure, mountain climbing…

Or tactical boots can be used for police, law enforcement, military service,…

The above shows that many people need tactical boots for their function rather than the look.

That’s one of the big reasons that full grain leather is used in tactical boots, because they have the following advantages:


Full grain leather is the leather layer just below the fur of an animal; and it is of the highest quality and most difficult part to find on the entire animal’s skin. Besides, full grain leather is not thinned by processing and mostly maintains its natural state, so it gives tactical boots incredible toughness and durability.

Due to its extreme durability, full grain leather is the material most used for tactical boots, as tactical boots require a lot of endurance for heavy performance.

The full grain leather can provide the intrinsic durability of tactical boots. When it comes to appearance, the full grain leather tactical boots can stay new for a long time.

They usually cost quite a bit, but considering the durability that full grain leather gives the tactical boots, the price is not high at all.

Imagine a pair of tactical boots that costs twice as much as a pair of sneakers, but it is 4 times as durable as a sneaker – we can conclude that tactical boots are still a smart investment.


One of the notable properties of full grain leather is breathability. This is one of the characteristics that conquer boot makers and demanding customers.

As mentioned above, tactical boots are often used for heavy, physical activities. So the fact that tactical boot users sweat a lot during operation is definitely unavoidable.

If tactical boots are not breathable, this would be a big hindrance for the users to use them in the military. That’s why full grain leather is the solution to tactical boots.

Full grain leather owns the natural properties, so it keeps the high resilience, retains pores, and helps inside the tactical boot to better circulate air.

As for poor quality leather gone through many chemical treatment steps, these leather types lose elasticity and porosity. When you touch the leather, you would feel like you’re touching plastic, not leather. Certainly, these leather types can’t breathe as well as full grain leather.


Naturally, the outermost layer of animal hide is their best protection. And full grain leather is that protective layer.

Plus, the tanning process helps full grain leather become even stronger and stronger. From there, the tactical boots are very resistant to external forces, prevent cracks, tears, peel, and moisture.

The strength of full grain leather is one of the huge pluses. Like their durability and ventilation, this feature is essential for those who use tactical boots for heavy activities.

However, the annoyance of full grain leather is that it is very strong: the high toughness makes it difficult for boot makers to process to create tactical boots. However, that is the challenge for the bootmakers only. Since you are a customer, it doesn’t bother you at all.


Other leather types have gone through too many processing steps (chemical treatment, sanding, polishing, stuffed…) so they often don’t retain the same durability, strength, breathability and toughness like leather in its natural state.

Full grain leather, on the contrary, is very close to its natural state. It is not thinned by sanding processes, not attacked by chemicals in chemical processing… so it is supple, strong and safe.

Above all, safety is one of the top criteria that the military, the police or law enforcement need. Full grain leather retains its ruggedness, durability, and strength, making the tactical boots a secure steel shield that protects the user’s feet.


Once again, let’s go back to the natural state of full grain leather.

You need to distinguish clearly that full grain leather is strong, tough on the outside, but the inside is still very flexible, soft and comfortable.

Looking at poor quality or non-full grain leather, they are often carefully processed to minimize defects. So when you touch it, you feel like you are touching plastic or wood.

In contrast, full grain leather offers natural flexibility, softness and comfort.

In addition to the good ventilation, full grain leather tactical boots can circulate air very well.

These traits make the full grain leather tactical boots pleasant to wear, whether worn in the dry season or in wet season.


Tactical boots are needed for function more than fashion, but thinking that full grain leather tactical boots do not look good is a big mistake.

Many tactical boots are made up of “imperfect” full grain leather. The traces that animals have on their skin collectively create unique looks for full grain leather. And that also gives the tactical boots a novel look.

Overall, the good look of the tactical boots mainly depends on the craftsmanship of the artisans.

But one point, like we said, is your smart investment. The longer you use full grain leather, the better it will look. The beauty of full grain leather stands the test of time. And of course, that’s what you will get in tactical boots made from full grain leather.

Some notes when using tactical boots made of full grain leather

Full grain leather has many advantages over many other materials and skin types, but because its nature is still leather, you should keep in mind the following things:

  • Keep full grain leather tactical boots clean and dry after use. Water is always the secret enemy of any leather tactical boots.  You should have boot trees or a boot dryer available for drying tactical boots.
Ollieroo Men's Shoe Trees Twin Tube Adjustable Red Cedar Wood Boot Tree 8-9
MaxxDry Heavy Duty Boot Shoe, and Glove Dryer, White
Shoe Trees
Boot Dryer
Ollieroo Men's Shoe Trees Twin Tube Adjustable Red Cedar Wood Boot Tree 8-9
Shoe Trees
MaxxDry Heavy Duty Boot Shoe, and Glove Dryer, White
Boot Dryer
  • Using specialized leather conditioners is essential. The conditioning process helps leather retain the necessary moisture, give tactical boots a longer lifetime, retain the original color and make boots more supple and durable. Some conditioners also make the tactical boots waterproof, dirt resistant… (very necessary).
  • For full grain leather tactical boots, polishing them is a great way to make them shine more. The polish also gives great maintenance for tactical boots, making them waterproof and dust-proof (like a conditioner).

You should store full grain leather tactical boots in a dry place and away from moisture or high heat sources.

Top 3 picks full grain leather tactical boots for you

Here are a few examples to explain the great benefits of using full grain leather for tactical boots.

1/ 5.11 Tactical ATAC Men’s – Style 12110

What we like

What we don’t like

Full grain leather, durable, cushioned insoleNeed break in period
Resistant to wear and tear, non-slip outsole, no squeak
Fit true to size, comfortable, multipurpose
Good arch and ankle support, lightweight

To open the list, let’s welcome a pair of boots from brand 5.11 – a very popular brand for tactical boots.

The 5.11 Tactical ATAC Men’s boots are made from high quality 100% full grain leather. With such material, these tactical boots are incredibly powerful and durable.

These well-structured boots are resistant to wear and tear and incredibly durable to withstand heavy and intense activities.

Besides, this is a pair of tactical boots designed for dangerous adventures in deep forests, so full grain leather with its powerful feature will keep your feet safe from lurking hazards (small snakes, scorpions, leeches).

With the 5.11 Tactical ATAC Men’s boots, long trips to the deep jungle for several days will become less arduous. As the boot material is full grain leather, it can circulate air better and make your feet comfortable.

You may think that your feet won’t get uncomfortable in the woods because the temperature there is usually quite low, not hot. But that’s not the case, your body will have a lot of difficulty regulating body temperature to adapt, and sweat less in a humid environment, so it is very unpleasant, especially in the feet.

The tactical boots need good air circulation to solve that problem, and full grain leather tactical boots are a wise choice.

Also, the well-reinforced heels and toes will ensure a high level of safety for you. These 8-inch high boots provide good ankle support on tough roads.

Finally, cushion insole and non-slip outsole make it easy to balance and comfortable on slippery terrain or on long trips.

2/ Maelstrom Men’s Tac Force Military Tactical Work Boots

What we like

What we don’t like

Full grain leather, good polish, side zipperLittle strange fit
Moisture wicking, breathable, shock-absorbing insole
Insulated, waterproof, durable, good grip
Great to wear in snow, comfortable right out of the box

Maelstrom’s full grain leather tactical boots are loved and appreciated by many people.

As a side note, for every pair of tactical boots Maelstrom sold, they’ll donate to the Boot Campaign. It is a non-profit organization that can provide programs to help veterans and military families live better lives. From there, close the gap between civilian and military life.

These tactical boots come with zippers for your convenience. Besides, the waterproof ability is also a big plus.

In addition, full grain leather is polished to give the boots a glossy look.

You won’t be disappointed with these full grain leather boots, because they are waterproof and don’t heat your feet. They are breathable and moisture wicking to give feet a cool feeling.

Finally, a familiar strength of tactical boots is the insole that has good shock-absorbing cushioning. These boots also have the heel and toe thoroughly reinforced for the ultimate safety.

3/ Danner Men’s Acadia 8″ Boot

What we like

What we don’t like

Full grain leather, vibram sole, very durableNeed break in period
Waterproof, breathable, stitchdown construction
Warm in winter and cool in summer, good air circulation
Hold up well, fit good, lace-up closure, safety, good traction

A pair of tactical boots made of full grain leather with Danner’s dashing look will win over any demanding customers.

The Danner Men’s Acadia boots are made of full grain leather and cordura that will provide the best and essential features for a warrior: waterproof and breathable.

In addition, Acadia has a supportive fiberglass shank for added safety and a protective cushion for the soles of the feet.

Not only that, these Acadia tactical boots with the prime structural design offer great ankle support.

These tactical boots are great for both the look and the feel.


So, to answer the question why is full grain leather used in tactical boots? We have the following comments:

  • First of all, the full grain leather tactical boots are durable, powerful, and offer great safety. This is because full grain leather is the toughest part, has the highest quality and least quantity on an entire animal’s skin.
  • Secondly, due to not going through as many processing processes (chemical treatment, polishing, sanding) as other skin types, full grain leather retains pores and good elasticity. This makes the tactical boots very breathable and have great air circulation inside them.
  • Thirdly, due to its breathable, tough properties. Flexible but still soft (on the inside), the full grain leather tactical boots are still very comfortable for the wearer.
  • Lastly, unlike many skin types or other materials that often degrade or lose color over time, the full grain leather tactical boots retain excellent color and quality.

The above things are largely based on a strict breeding process, careful hygiene of animals providing full grain leather. That helps boot makers get high quality full grain leather from the start, without much processing (apart from hair removal and tanning). So full grain leather still retains the most natural state and becomes one of the most popular leather types in the world.

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