Napoleon is credited with the quote, “An army marches on its stomach.” While the sentiment is true enough, anyone who has spent quality time in boot camp will tell you that when it comes right down to it, any military group marches on its feet, and if their feet are tired, hot, sore or otherwise causing pain, you have a whole lot of cranky, heavily armed people. Never a good combination.
5.11 Tactical started in 1992 by providing pants that could stand up to the rigors of FBI training. Building on that success, 5.11 Tactical expanded to a wide range of apparel and equipment that is targeted to military, first responders and anyone who wants a tough and capable wardrobe that stands up to whatever is thrown at it, so when they contacted me to test some of their products, I jumped at the chance.
First up, 5.11 Tactical’s boots — two versions in fact — the 5.11Taclite 6” Coyote boot and the Speed 3.0 Coyote boot.
The 6” Taclite resembles a basic mid-height hiking boot, but that’s where the resemblance ends. This boot is built for exceptional breathability and for hot and arid environments. It’s perfect for environments such as Arizona where SCI is headquartered.
I wore these boots to work in an office environment to see if I could wear them all day at my desk as well as on my daily walks around headquarters and up and down stairs. I have to say they were comfortable right out of the box, and I never felt as if my feet were cramped. In fact, once I got home I didn’t immediately want to take them off. Since then they have accompanied me on hikes, camping trips and daily walks around the neighborhood. In all environments, they were comfortable and seem to be long wearing.
In my opinion, one of the very best features of these boots is the included “sausage laces.” The laces are constructed with swells throughout their length and, while it looks a bit different, they simply do not come untied! I’m sure that you, like me, have more than a passing experience with boots coming untied on their own and usually at the worst possible moment, leading to everything from a minor inconvenience to a catastrophic sprain. Not so with the sausage laces. Once they are tied, they are tied. Yet they loosen readily when you are ready to take them off.
The Speed 3.0 is a more standard looking duty boot, but it’s a far cry from your basic issue duty boot. At about 8” high with a tough side zipper and a strong hook and loop closure tab, the Speed 3.0 is ready for pretty much anything you can throw at it. The Speed 3.0 goes on quickly and, once you have the laces cinched and tied, is a perfect fit every time.
As with the 5.11 Taclite, I wore this boot in a variety of environments to make sure they were comfortable wherever and whatever I might happen to encounter in my daily routine. Comfortable sitting at a desk in the office? Check. Driving the truck? Check. Walking the dogs in the morning? Yep! Hiking and camping? You bet! These boots are built for comfort, even in hot and dry conditions. I wore these boots in 100+ degree temps and experienced no hot spots or discomfort.
One of the more unique features of these boots is the fence-climbing toe. This design helps get a grip in hurricane or chain link type fences, making it easier and quicker to get up and over. While my fence jumping days are in the distant past, I can see where this toe design would come in handy in other situations, such as getting a toe-hold in a crack in a rock face, or getting your foot in a stirrup riding into the back country after that monster elk. The jungle style outsole provides comfort and stability and the oil and slip resistant tread provide traction and support in wet conditions.
Overall, this is the kind of boot you want for knocking around in the back yard or the back country. It is comfortable, durable and ready to take whatever you or the terrain can dish out. You can take a look at these great boots and other 5.11 products on the SCI website under the Shop SCI store.--Randy Gibbs
- Perforated EVA foam ankle padding
- TPU ankle stabilizer
- Ortholite sockliner
- Compression-molded CMEVA midsole
- Composite shank
- Oil and slip resistant outsole
- Air mesh panels
- Side vents
- Suede construction
- 1200D Cordura nylon
- Rope tread
- Multi-directional traction lugs
- Friend-finder tracking logo
- Sausage laces
- The Taclite retails for $124.99
The Speed 3.0 features:
- 14 mm heel-to-toe drop
- Side zipper
- A.T.A.C. footbed and outsole
- Bovine roughed-out suede and nylon upper
- Ortholite insole
- Oil and slip resistant multi-terrain tread
- Fence-climbing toe
- The 5.11 Tactical retails for $89.99