So, I’m kind of a pain in the neck when it comes to boots, in that I’m really critical. It always seems like, no matter what company makes them, a pair is always too narrow or too wide, or too loose in the heel and they slip. I have to really break in a pair of boots before I trust them and I just wear the hell out of the ones I like.
I went to a 5.11 Tactical event the Sunday night before SHOT, as everyone was prepping for Industry Day at the Range the next morning. It was held in the massive 5.11 brick and mortar store in Las Vegas, so we got a chance to really look at and handle a lot of their new clothing and gear offerings.
On our way out we were gifted with a few 5.11 products, including a pair of their brand new A.T.L.A.S. boots. We’d provided our sizes and preference of height ahead of time, but had no idea what it was for.
Back at my hotel room, I proceeded to try them on, as one does, while wondering how I was going to get an extra pair of boots into my return luggage. I walked down the hall to get some ice. When I got back in the room I sat in one of the chairs and looked at them, kind of puzzled.
I decided to take a hike down to the casino floor and walked around there for a bit before coming back up.
These boots were comfortable. Not just that. They were remarkably comfortable. They cradled and supported my feet while walking in a way that was kind of weird at first. It almost felt like you got the definitive rocking motion of taking steps in boots with a definite heel and toe, but in the middle, the step motion is completely supported the way it would be in a sneaker. This provides a sort of rocking motion that almost carries you through each step.
I loved them, and I decided to do something I never do. I was going to wear brand new boots Range Day. For me, Range Day is an eight or nine hour ordeal, almost entirely on my feet, walking up and down the range. I clocked five miles this year. It’s not a major hike, but it’s a long day standing, a good amount of walking on uneven ground with a lot of ankle-turning and sole piercing rocks. From my perspective, it’s a big chance.
The ATLAS boots were still remarkable the next day. I got the 8-inch version, so there was plenty of ankle support, and I’m being totally honest—it was the very first range day that my feet weren’t killing me by the time I got off the bus back at the hotel. In fact, they felt good. Like I could keep walking if I had to, no problem. No hot spots, no blisters—it was like I’d already been wearing them for weeks.
I want these boots for everything. Now I want the mid-height and trainer versions for the summer and a heavier version with a tougher toe-cap for hunting boots.
They’re light, supportive, rugged, and the most comfortable boots out-of-the-box I’ve ever worn with almost no break-in time necessary.
So what’s the specs? They get their name from the All Terrain Load Assistance System they’re built around, which 5.11 calls a “force multiplier for those who carry heavy weight on long shifts.” It’s the A.T.L.A.S. support plate that provides that little rolling spring in each step.
The boots themselves are constructed of nylon with high abrasion air mesh and a water resistant suede upper that features a locking ankle eyelet so you can lace up the foot part nice and tight and not loose it lacing up the upper. The high traction outsole is slip and oil resistant and feature Echo Foam, high rebound/energy return PU and Force Foam along with lightweight PU impact cushioning and an Ortholite footbed.
Currently, the 8-inch version is available in Dark Coyote or black, and as a quick on-off version with a side zipper in black. The mid-height hiking boot version is also available in Dark Coyote and black, and the trainer version is currently only available in black.
These boots are ansolutely made for all-day wear and people who work on their feet. I still have to see how they hold up against prolonged abuse, but that takes some time, but I’m confident they will hold up as well as any other 5.11 boots I’ve owned.
MSRP: 8-inch (including side-zip): $149.99 ; mid-height: $139.99; trainer: $119.