Air Force (USAF) Flight Approved Boots List & Guide

From your head to your toes, the United States Air Force (USAF) mandates that soldiers dress in a specific fashion. That does include your footwear such as boots. What are the guidelines for USAF-approved boots?

The USAF requires that soldiers wear green or brown boots that feature a rounded capped or plain rounded toe. The boots must lace up, but whether they have a perforated seam is optional. Soldiers also have the option to wear an elastic or zipper insert, but those inserts must have not a design.

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about flight-approved boots that meet Air Force guidelines, so check it out! 

Table of Contents:
1. General Guidelines on USAF-Approved Boots
2. Recommended Air Force (USAF) Flight Approved Boots list
3. Male & Female Approved Flight Boots Guidelines

General Guidelines on USAF-Approved Boots

The USAF has general boot guidelines for soldiers to pay attention to. They are as follows. 

The USAF’s guidelines states that soldiers can optionally wear dress boots with a service uniform or service dress, including maternity uniforms. 

Boots are allowed with slacks or a skirt but are not required to be worn with a skirt in the workplace. 

The heels of these boots cannot exceed 2 ½ inches, and the heel tip cannot be more than a half-inch in diameter. 

As was the case before, no ornamental designs are allowed, nor are extreme heel shapes or toe shapes. 

Manmade materials and smooth scotch-grained leather are preferred with a patent or high-gloss finish optional. 

On that same page, it states that during their initial transition, soldiers must only wear coyote brown boots with their OCP.

If a soldier needs to, they can wear athletic shoes instead, but the shoes must be deemed “medically necessary.”

The required boots cannot have a sole taller than two inches. A rounded capped or plain rounded toe are required, and the boots must lace up. Perforated seams are optional.

Elastic or zipper inserts are allowed but cannot have a design. A safety toe is also optional.  

Taps on Boots

Finally, the guidelines states that soldiers are allowed to add taps to their authorized uniform boots to keep the heels from wearing down.

However, the taps must “not change the intended appearance of the boots and/or shoes.”

usaf thunderbirds
Photo Credit: keithbaker

The following boots have been worn by previous USAF members, however it is always best to check whether you’d be permitted to wear them prior to buying the boots.

1. Belleville C790

Check out our full review of the Belleville C790 or check it out on Amazon (link to Amazon)

2. Rocky s2v Boots

Check out the Rocky S2V on Amazon (link to Amazon)

Male & Female Approved Flight Boots Guidelines

The guidelines for USAF-approved flight boots for male and female soldiers are quite extensive. This section will act as a roundup of all the rules.

Male Approved Air Force Flight Approved Boots

On Page 72 of the Air Force guidelines (source), Paragraph states that male soldiers must wear black low quarters with service uniforms, service dress, semi-formal, mess dress, and formal dress. 

The shoes must have a plain round cap or plain rounded toe. They must also lace up and be oxford style. 

The sole cannot be any thicker than half an inch, and the heel cannot be higher than an inch when measured from the inside front of your heel. 

The shoes must have a patent finish or a high-gloss shine and feature a manmade or smooth scotch-grain leather outer. 

Black dress boots and black combat boots are acceptable options as well. 

The next paragraph on that page, Paragraph pertains to dress boots for male soldiers.

Soldiers are allowed to wear dress boots with their service uniforms or service dress.

The boots must have a rounded capped or plain rounded toe, and their heel cannot be taller than an inch nor can the sole be thicker than half an inch.

Elastic or zipper inserts are allowed, but neither can have a design.

The dress boots should have a patent or high-gloss finish, but this is not mandatory.

Female Approved Air Force Flight Approved Boots

As per the USAF guidelines, Paragraph outlines the footwear options for women.

Women soldiers are allowed to wear low-quarter boots with a service uniform, service dress, or semi-formal dress.

The commercial low quarters must feature a plain rounded capped or plain rounded toe, laces, and an oxford style. The boots must also be black. 

The heel cannot be taller than an inch and the sole must not be thicker than half an inch. A low-wedge heel is allowed, but the heel still must meet the height requirements. 

The boots must not have any straps, bows, or buckles, as they must present a “plain, clean and serviceable” appearance. 

The low quarters are required to be made of manmade material or smooth scotch-grained leather. Patent or high-gloss finishes are optional.

Paragraph delves into the Air Force’s requirements for dress boots worn by female soldiers.

The boots can be worn with service informs (including maternity uniforms) and service dresses, but only with slacks or a skirt.

That said, the USAF prefers that female soldiers wear low quarters, slip-on shoes, or pumps when wearing a skirt in the workplace rather than dress boots. 

The heels of the dress boots are allowed to be taller than usual, 2 ½ inches versus one inch. You can measure the height of the boot from the end of your heel lift to the inside sole.

The tip of the heel must not have a diameter that exceeds a half inch or is “larger than the body of the boot.”

Soldiers must avoid fads such as extreme heel shapes, squared or pointed boots, and extreme toe shapes. 

The boots must also lack ornamentation such as straps, bows, or buckles. Manmade materials or smooth scotch-grained leather are the preferred materials.

A patent or high-gloss finish is ideal but not required. 

Approved Air Force Flight Approved Boots – Colors

As for flight boots, the recommendations are outlined in Paragraph A.69 on page 129 for both male and female soldiers.

Per the intro, the USAF prefers sage green boots; coyote brown is another acceptable color and is required for FUD/DFDU authorization. Design-free zippers are allowed.

A6 12.2.12, confirms that only coyote brown boots are allowed for 2PFDU approval. 

You can add zipper inserts if they don’t have a design.

Finally, it states that soldiers cannot blouse their trousers in their boots while doing flight crew duties. 

What Is a Safe-to-Fly Boot?

What does it mean for an Air Force boot to be Safe-to-Fly?

These certified boots feature rubber soles to provide comfort, traction, and stability. The shoes are also designed for handling all sorts of rough terrain. The leather outsole keeps the shoes breathable.