For firefighters, turnout boots must insulate, resist water/chemicals, carry heavy loads, climb variable terrain, push and plant; to enable the wearer to perform in dangerous conditions and save lives. In 2016, the National Fire Protection Association estimated that 62,085 injuries occurred in the line of duty . Many of these injuries can be attributed to poor fitting and functioning turnout gear, especially boots. In order to understand this challenge, a human factors approach, through a human centered design lens was used to investigate directly from firefighters how turnout boots function during performance. The researchers conducted a pilot study, through a web survey and SWOT analysis of state-of-the-art turnout boots available domestically, to understand design opportunities. The results helped define future research goals and initial design insights, for the development of new turnout boots; including partnership identification, component needs, sizing, materials and manufacturing processes.