There was a time, more than two decades ago, when 5.11 gear was only associated with “fishing” vests and baggy BDU pants. Back then I was both the giver and the recipient of tactical fashion shaming. Thankfully, those days are but tiny specks in the rearview mirror of life. 5.11 Tactical has developed tasteful, fashion-forward designs that blend utility with style for everyone from urban NOLA James Reeves to Northwest rainforest Hop. Some of the TFB and TFBTV crew were outfitted with new 5.11 boots – the A/T Mid Waterproof Boot to be specific – for two industry range events and a week on the SHOT Show floor. How did the boots and other 5.11 gear perform? Let’s ask the team.
5.11 Tactical @ TFB:
- TFB Review: 5.11 Norris Sneakers After 2 Years of Abuse
- Review: 5.11 Tactical Range Ready Trainer Bag 50L
- How to Dress like a “Gray Man” (Yes, even in 5.11)
- [TFB GUNFEST] 5.11 Introduces the New, Improved, RUSH 2.0 Series of Packs
- Summer Solitude: Gearing Up With 5.11 Bags, Packs And Boots
Transparency is important to us here at TFB – 5.11 was the sponsor of our 2023 SHOT Show coverage. And they were nice enough to gift us some boots and gear. But we’ve been friends and partners with the 5.11 crew for many years and they know we will speak honestly in our reviews (you have watched a James Reeves video, correct?). Besides that, I stopped in my local 5.11 store before the show and bought all my clothes at retail prices. If it’s good enough for me to suggest it to our readers, I should be able to back it up with my own dollars.
[SHOT 2023] 5.11 Boots, Gear Is The TFB/TFBTV SHOT Uniform
I’ll kick this party off. The 5.11 A/T Mid Boot is well constructed, reasonably light for its size, and comfortable enough for 12 straight hours on your feet. I am used to the 5.11 Norris Sneaker (I have six pairs) for most of my daily activities, but the two shoes are almost polar opposites. The A/T is waterproof and surefooted on loose surfaces. The Norris is comfortable on flat pavement and has a business casual bit of style when needed. With these two shoes, I can cover about 80% of my life’s events. Weddings, funerals, and the unfortunate business suit occasions notwithstanding.
I have to agree with my man James – the A/T Mid is a bit bulky, which comes with the territory. But overall, this is basically a do-it-all boot for those times when you don’t know where the day will take you. I also bought the non-waterproof model A/T Mid and it is equally capable, minus the whole ‘keeping your feet dry’ feature.
My 5.11 2023 SHOT Show Loadout:
- 5.11 A/T Mid Waterproof
- 5.11 LV18 Backpack
- 5.11 Norris Sneaker
- 5.11 Igor Plaid Long Sleeve
- 5.11 Freedom Flex Long Sleeve
- 5.11 PR-R Forged Hoodie
- 5.11 Defender Flex Jeans
The LV18 backpack is slick – literally (or figuratively if you are a grammar czar). There’s no MOLLE straps to get snagged or make you stick out in a crowd. It’s definitely worth a look.
Thank you 5.11. See you next year.
Executive Producer James Reeves
”The first time I put these boots on was to try them out at SHOT Show Range Day 2023. As with most waterproof boots, these are bulkier than I’d like, but that’s part of the deal. Even so, these still feel lighter than the Sorels that I typically use for hiking in areas of variable riparianism, meaning that if you need to cut weight for the float plane, these aren’t a bad pick. I put in 7 miles walking at range day and basically forgot that I was wearing these boots, which is usually a good indicator of decent footwear. I just didn’t think about them all day. I also wore them to the Double Down Saloon in Las Vegas – truly an urban swamp – and although I got a rash on multiple body parts afterwards, my feet were fine. I like to put shoes through at least 100 miles before making a concrete conclusion (cf. 5.11 Norris review and Altama OTB Mid reviews for TFB), but I can say that first impressions are extremely positive for this new boot.“
Editor Hrachya H.
“I bought a 5.11 Tactical Rush 24 backpack back in 2013 and since then 5.11 lost me as a buyer of another backpack. The problem is I don’t need a new backpack – this thing is indestructible, is almost like custom-tailored to me, can fit a surprising amount of stuff and is the perfect size for a wide variety of applications. It has been with me everywhere, from running errands to crossing the pond (five times now) and the only maintenance I ever did is just external cleaning. I am highly concerned that it will outlast me.”
Editor Matt M.
“Throughout both the industry range days and SHOT Show itself I used the 5.11 day pack as my go-to camera pack. It fits all of my kit perfectly and its padded straps distribute the weight very well. The modularity of the pack and its front compartment mean I was able to carry warm and wet weather gear to the range without compromising the camera kit I could pack. Great pack, surprising capacity and hard wearing. My go to.”
EIC Emeritus Tom R.
“Going into SHOT, I had the opportunity to experience the 5.11 A/T Mid waterproof boots, and they made a lasting impression. They were billed as “no break in” and after putting in a recorded 41 miles over the course of the week, I can attest to this. I ended up with one small hotspot, which is pretty good considering the mileage I put in with a roughly 20 lb pack. They are pretty durable without looking overtly rugged, and worked just fine as footwear on the floor of the show and upscale restaurants in the evening. The outsole provided reliable grip on slippery surfaces–it was wet a couple of the days. Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to splash in deep puddles to test the waterproof uppers. That said, I have no concerns about how they will perform when I eventually do get into some water. Overall the boots performed great, with no break-in, over a decent amount of mileage.”
Senior Staff Austin R.
Rush72 Multicam Backpack
“My Rush72 Multicam Gen1 backpack is probably 5+ years old at this point and shows very minimal wear. Key things about the pack that I love to use every day. Long side pockets. Love these as I can stash tools, drinks, or anything else I need to be able to quickly access in the two long pockets along each side. In addition, I usually have molle attached medical gear and spare magazines on top of this section and it’s still easy to access. Second, the hard backpack backer and waist strap. The hard backing on this pack is a lifesaver for long hikes in the woods or walking the SHOT floor all day. The pockets on the bottom of the backer are my favorite part of this design. I like being able to tuck the wait straps away into these pockets when I’m not using them. Overall the layout of both small and large internal compartments is perfect organizing and finding what you need fast. The adjustable divider space between the large and small backpack compartments probably sees the most use as I often will quickly stash a coat in that space.”
XPRT 3.0 Waterproof 6″ Boot
“The XPRT 3.0 boot is now tied with the Norris that I already reviewed (and wore to SHOT 2023) for the title of “comfiest boot to wear all day”. These have been my go-to winter boots for the past two years and show no signs of quitting. I have the brown leather that cleans up nicely while providing plenty of ankle support and protection from sharp objects thanks to the Vibram sole. Insides stay toasty warm thanks to the heat reflective liner making these the perfect all around cold weather boot.”
TFBTV Personality Hop
”I wore the 5.11 A/T Mid boots for all of SHOT this year, both range days and the whole show floor. That’s probably upwards of 30 miles of walking in a week, because my co-host is a social butterfly and we have to talk to everybody. They’re currently one of my favorite boots but since they aren’t waterproof they’re sort of a two season boot in my neck of the woods. I haven’t used the waterproof ones yet but they should extend the usefulness out to three seasons, maybe four with a pair of gaiters on top.”
TFB Senior Staff and Junior TFBTV Personality Luke C.
”I’ve been a big fan so far of 5.11’s boots that feature their A.T.L.A.S support plate. SHOT Show is no joke when it comes to how much you’ll be walking and while I did show up to SHOT With a pair of A/T Trainers, after I tried on the A/T Waterproof Boots, I decided to use those during the day when I’d be doing most of my walking and just revert back to the A/T Trainers in the evenings. I’m not normally a huge fan of mid height boots as I much prefer to have greater mobility for running/sprinting. However, getting around both Industry Day at the Range and the SHOT Show floor was surprisingly comfortable and I didn’t find my mobility quite as restricted as I expected. In some regards the rigidity of the boots helped keep me stable when trying to get some tough shots. We typically walk nearly a half dozen miles or more every day at shot show and so far I’m impressed and I didn’t find that I needed a break in period to have them be comfortable. I’ve got a couple of solid hikes coming up this year so I’m looking forward to getting more time in the boots out wild and see how they wear in over extended use.”
TFB Senior Staff Daniel Y.
“I wore the Bravo 2.0 pants to Industry Day At The Range and they were an excellent choice. They look like normal pants, but are made of a soft shell material. The weather started out cold and windy, and turned to cold, windy, and rainy. Thankfully, the Bravos dried very quickly. They also blocked the wind but were not hot or stuffy. I paid full retail for these pants and I would absolutely buy them again.”
TFBTV Staff Patrik O.
“The 5.11 ATX boots were definitely a surprise to me, very waterproof and very comfortable. One criticism I have with them is my feet get very hot while wearing them indoors. This happens to me a lot with Gortex-lined boots though. These are really good-looking boots and they have a decent tread pattern. I can already say that they are good for shallow snow and will not get your feet wet. Branding is also subtle and I appreciate that.”