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Altama Desert Mil Spec Combat Boot

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
photo: Altama Desert Mil Spec Combat Boot backpacking boot

Sleek, flexible, lightweight heat-venting design beats most other hot weather boots out of the market. Oldie but a goodie.


  • Combat boots that actually fit through your jeans!
  • Conveniently vented, extremely breathable yet sturdy
  • Looks professional and clean from the front
  • Kick ass green fabric partial upper, flexible
  • Ultimate utility boot for hot weather


  • You might bang your ankles occasionally due to thin fabric
  • The side vents are made for air and sweat but take on water
  • A rather long toe for the size indicated
  • Traditional hard soled boot is not as soft as police boots
  • Dated look. Obviously military.

I was fortunate enough to snag a pair of unscuffed, odorless vintage Altama Hot Weather Jungle Boots today, second-hand for about $12 US.

These babies are still selling secondhand for upwards of 40 dollars on the Internet. Happily, I intend to break them in if possible, as they cost barely more than some drop on a single pack of cigarettes.

A good pair of boots can last for years if properly maintained.

Altama still has a great reputation as a supplier of superior tactical footwear—there is a reason that so many of their products are hot sellers.

Buyers of Altama hot weather desert and jungle boots will be immediately surprised at the small profile and non bulky charm of these classic"Beetle Bailey" style combat boots. They are narrow enough around the ankle to fit through the leg of most standard Boot Cut jeans and slacks. No more struggling to remember to put pants on before your boots!

But of course, the best feature is the intelligently aerated design, allowing for moisture laden, steamy air to be exchanged for cool, fresh, dry air.

You can even wear these with semiformal clothing, as your cuffs will cover the green fabric, and to all appearances you are simply wearing a pair of shiny black leather shoes.

A very smart buy. Make sure you have good socks and take note of your knees before going on that first big excursion, though. Any military issue gear can be hard on your soles and joints, and does require time to break in.

Thanks for reading my review of my new Altama jungle boots.

Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $12.99

Version reviewed: 4156

The Altama 4156 are the first pair of "real" combat boots I bought. At the time, I was a student in New York City, doing a LOT of walking around Manhattan. Although designed primarily for hot/dry weather, the 4156s perform quite well in most weather, except for heavy downpours. I've even worn them in snow! The boot's upper, being made of primarily durable Cordura nylon, is quick to conform to your feet, and break in time is quite short. They are also quite light, and out of all the boots I own, these are one of the most comfortable.

They also look pretty good; they don't have that traditional "combat boot look", and go with everything from jeans to khakis.

So far, I've gotten almost a year and a half of service out of them, again doing a lot of walking in them. Stability is excellent, and they have spared my ankles possible injury on more than one occassion.

The only problem I've had was the rubber outsole beginning to seperate from the upper (after about a year of heavy use). This happened at the very front end of the toe, and the actual amount of seperation was very small. A few drops of strategically placed epoxy/superglue alleviated the problem, and they are still holding together several months later.

All things considered, the Altama 4156s are an excellent pair of boots for everyday use, not just hiking or field work. However, keep in mind they are designed for relatively dry conditions, so, I wouldn't recommend them on a trip to the Florida Everglades...

Materials: Suede leather, cordura nylon
Use: Everyday street/city use -- heavy walking in temperate climate
Break-in Period: 1 month
Weight: 5-6 lbs
Price Paid: $99.95

Too heavy, other than that pretty good.


  • Huge toe box
  • Multiple widths available
  • Great ankle support
  • Vibram sole


  • Heavy
  • Footbed needs to be changed
  • Laces come untied easily

Key here is fit. There are so many widths available that a custom fit is possible. Toe box is huge (standard width anyway). Ankle hold excellent.

It is impossible to waterproof the desert boot, and they are heavy. Need to change laces and footbed. They are comfy with a different footbed.


Hiking, backpacking

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $75

I bought these Altama 4156 Desert Combat Boots in 1997 and have worn them almost every day. It's hard to imagine anyone being any harder on boots than I am. I've hiked for miles across the hottest deserts of Arizona, climbed rugged and rocky terrain--they're practically indestructable! Even after seven years of tough abuse, they still have more left in them. They are extremely comfortable, give great support and stability. No wonder they're used by the greatest military in the world.

Materials: corduran
Use: extremely rough, hot, dry terrain
Break-in Period: Very short
Price Paid: $79.95

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Price Reviewers Paid: $12.99-$99.95
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