True operators can’t be bothered to wear standard-issue gear. For most steely-eyed gunfighters, brands like Bates and Rocky just won’t do. The modern generation of GWOT soldiers, Marines, contractors and professional badasses look to the private sector for their fashionable, high-tech and ultra sexy boots and shoes.
The things that truly separate an operator from a noperator aren’t training, experience, deployments, schools and weapons, but rather aesthetic differences.
In other words: how cool do you look, bro?
Looking cool can be objectively quantified. For example, do you wear a boring helmet, or a cool-looking one?
Case in point:
This helmet is so boring, and this soldier is so normal, that despite his numerous awards and devices on his uniform indicating that he is airborne and pathfinder-qualified with combat infantry experience, he’s definitely not an operator.
But THIS GUY, on the other hand:
HOLY SHIT. Do you see the night vision devices? The battery packs? The cut-out space for ear protection? Velcro? Wow. Just incredible. If you saw this guy walking toward you from across the FOB you’d probably get his autograph on your shitty little Rite-in-the-Rain notepad (he uses Moleskine). Better pray you two aren’t stationed on the same base stateside, or he’ll steal yo girl before you turn in your M16A2 to the armory, fool.
So, without further ado, here are
THE MOST OPERATOR SHOES YOU CAN BUY
1. Salomon Quest 4d GTX/Variants
Oh man, Salomon’s are dope. If you rock these babies, you’re looking at some seriously sick boots that come in black and other colors. The company even made an iteration of them specifically for Army Special Forces. But don’t worry, the civilian version is just as cool.
Sure, they’ll probably repel water and all that, but what they’ll also do is clash with your uniform and allow you to not blend in with anything, which are key aspects of choosing operator shoes.
2. Merrell Moab Mid
These are kind of like the entry-level model for operator shoes. They’ll get you right outside of “normal guy” status, but you’re going to have to accessorize if you want to really be cool. These were issued to a lot of dudes during the Global War on Terror, so if you’re going to rock them, it’s good to do so as sort of a “throwback” to when nobody operated very hard, and these were the only boots available for cool guys. If that doesn’t make sense to you, that’s alright: you’re probably not cool enough.
3. Converse Chuck Taylors
Is there anything cooler than taking a pair of shoes intended for basketball and turning them into field-grade footwear? You kind of have to be psycho and hardcore at the same time to wear these.
Although they lack the heel support common in most soldierly shoes, these babies come with built-in vents and high-top uppers for max heel support. Just don’t let First Sergeant catch you wearing them. Unless, that is, you’re a super-operator.
4. CROC SANDALS
If you deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq in the last 15 years you almost certainly got sent a pair of Crocs. They’re universally renowned for their comfort, durability and grimyness after you get them wet when they are filled with sand.
What you might not know is that they are also the perfect operator shoes. Shoot back at those pesky Al Qaeda jihadis wearing a pair of crocs and you’ll never feel better. The perforated design allows your feet to cool off while shooting 7.62 at the cyclic.
5. Whatever The Fuck These Things Are
Apparently these are the shoes of the Greek Presidential guard, a ceremonial unit called the Evzones. Their shoes are not the only thing operator about them: their rifles, tights and skirts allow for maximum freedom of movement while yelling at tourists who dare to violate the Greek Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Sometimes, the most operator shoes are pretty unconventional.