5.11 ATAC Tactical Boots: Detailed Review [ April 2018]


Honestly, A.T.A.C. boots look good and comfortable but they may not seem sturdy. The thing is, 5.11 ATAC tactical boots are durable as well. Are you picky? These look gorgeous, feel comfy and fit well.  We do have a detailed review with end verdicts, but let’s go through the specs and types first!


Common Features

Features Common in all ATAC boots

  1. Side Zip (all of them have YKK® zippers except two 6” models)
  2. Open cell foam cushion ensures extended comfort period.
  3. Cushioned Ortholite® insole provides you with reliability.
  4. Hypertext lasting board is the key to durability.
  5. Injection-molded phylon midsole is sort of unique.
  6. Non-metallic flexible shank makes you pass through detectors.
  7. Oil and slip resistant outsole does not wear-out soon.
  8. Semi-rigid heel and toe reinforcement protects you more and resists abrasion.
  9. Moisture-wicking lining is a must for healthy dryness.
  10. Full-grain leather (some have nylon as well, coyote may come in suede leather)
  11. 5.11® Shock Mitigation System® returns energy as you run or walk which helps you keep fatigue and soreness away.
  12. Sausage laces are firm for the feet.
  13. Polishable toe makes sure that you pass the unexpected examinations.
  14. Imported, so that they can keep the price low.

8” Common Features

Covert tactical pockets give you room for a small knife or stuff like that which is preferable for criminal face-offs.  

Storm: Common Features

Waterproof and breathable storm boots ensure that you can run through anything while chasing opponents.

Shield: Common Features

  • ASTM-certified composite safety toe gives you an edge over every risk.
  • Puncture-resistant midsole board is prefered for high-risk situations.
  • Waterproof, breathable, BBP-resistant lining offers you the last line of warmth and dryness.

6” Men’s Non Zip

If you are going to buy 6” ATAC boots, we recommend the non zip ones over the zipped ones.

Only these two are non-zip amongst all ATACs:

A.T.A.C.® Boot 12002

Storm A.T.A.C.® Boot 12147

Side Zip

6” zipped ATAC boots are not that recommended by us. What about 8” zipper ones? They are better. Please read sections below for more information.

A.T.A.C.® Boot 12018

Shield A.T.A.C.® Boot 12019

8” Men’s

Sage CST A.T.A.C.® Boot 12304

A.T.A.C.® Boot 12001(Odor control)

Coyote A.T.A.C.® Boot 12110

Shield A.T.A.C.® Boot 12026

Storm A.T.A.C.® Boot 12004

6” Women’s

Side Zip A.T.A.C.® Boot [#12025]

8” Women’s

A.T.A.C.® Boot 12007

Storm A.T.A.C.® Boot 12217

Shield ASTM A.T.A.C.® Boot 12145

In-depth Review and Analysis of 5.11 ATAC Zip Tactical Boots

ShoeAsk points: 84 out of 100

Editorial Recommendation: Very high

Remarks and Suggestions

Introduced around 2010, these are rather newer ones. You can use them in all season and on all terrain. Warm, cold, wet or dry? You got them. There are some repeating cons; you better check below.

Better for:

These are great boots for those who stand all day and need something like tactical boots.

Suitable for long shift workers, park rangers, cops, firefighters, first responders, correction officers and airline workers. Great for hiking. These are pretty suitable for warehouses, delivery and driving as well.

User, Expert and Trade Recognition

Points 4/5

There’s a mixed reaction from cops and soldiers. 5.11 has some uinque features and properties.  The following fan explains a lot:

“I have been working for TSA for 14yrs, I bought my first pair 5.11 Men’s ATAC 6” Zip Tactical 8yrs ago, I will never wear another boot for work, I’m on my feet all day long and I absolutely love these boots. I will absolutely never wear anything boot but 5.11 tactical. This will be my third pair. They are comfortable right out of the box, no break in period required. I worn the first pair out, I’m now working on the second pair and I always keep a pair ready for inspection.”

Price vs Durability

Points 5/5

Nope, they are not way too affordable, but you can never tag them as ones either. 5.11 kept soldiers and cops in mind- these workmen are not paid very high.

They’ve earned the 5/5 from us for price vs durability.

“Wore them for work for a year and they were comfortable and polished nicely. Zipper worked great the whole time, could continue to wear if wanted to but I buy a new pair yearly for Christmas.”

There’s an interesting review video on youtube where the reviewer shows a three-year-old pair of ATAC and describes:

This video will assure you about the wear-period. I was surprised particularly about the zippers, outsoles, velcro, waterproofing and overall sturdiness shown here. The result? Count them for a year or more. Not less than 10 months and easily usable for 1.5 years. You would not regret if they start to break down after one and a half year.


Points 4/5

There’s a secret you can only learn if you wear many ATAC boots, and that is:

You may find 6” side zipped ATACs a bit stiff in places which may mean somewhat uncomfortable. On the contrary, their 8” boots are much better regarding zippers.  

What about the bigger ones? Super comfy. No doubt on that. Your lower back and feet will gain ample support from these.

Water, Chemical and Spill Proof

Points 5/5

The STORM and SHIELD ATAC boots are waterproof. The basic atac boots are not. As we described earlier, these boots have proper waterproofing system. You can rely on them while walking on 3-4 inch puddles. Water would not seep in. On the contrary, they are breathable which is a better option.

Slip Resistance

Points 5/5

5.11 ATAC boots are slip-resistant and even oil resistant. Their treds do not wear off easily, so there is no fear of losing the non slip properties after 6-9 months.

Toe Box and Safety

Points 5/5

Only the SHIELD ATAC boots have safety toes. They do not use steel toe which is good. These are lighter, warmer thus handier. Their composite toe meets or exceeds ASTM, OSHA and other safety measurements.

All atac boots are not made for heavy-duty industrial or construction (but you can use them for risky jobs if you are buying the shield ones). So, you may not need safety or steel toe. Buy the shield ones if your you feel that your work needs it. Otherwise, it will be better to save the extra money.

The toe box is adequate. Looks good for inspection. The toe is made of polishable full grain leather which is very important for servicemen.

Break-in Time and Fitting

Points 4/5

There are two chances:

Either you get them broken-in, fitting comfortably out of the box; or, you may need a week at best.

Breaking in would not be a big issue after all.

Electrical Hazard

Points 4/5

The SHIELD ATAC boots are electrical hazard certified which is rare for tactical boots. The ASTM certification meets: ASTM F2413-05 MC/75 I/75 EH PR. Other boots may contain EH properties but they are either not ASTM certified or not mentioned.

Stylish and Presentable

Points 4/5

They look awesome, no doubt on that and we do recommend them for the stylish look.

There’s a preparation though:

You should not be expecting dazzling look after a few months. You can keep them wearing for months or even for years if lucky enough, but they will be looking worn out despite being sturdy within. The colors may fade after a few months, leather may start looking rough. This degenerative character is somewhat rapid than that of other premium boots.

You know what? I rather like the worn-out look. It makes you look like a rough and tough guy.

Breathable and Insulation

Points 5/5

These are rather made for all seasons. You will get a bit insulation though. Winter would not be a big problem unless you are stepping outside during a fierce blizard. The waterproof ones as well as the non-wp boots breathe very well. You would not feel hot within.

Leather, Upper, Lace and Heel

Points 4/5

All of the ATAC boots feature full grain leater except the coyote ones. The upper is usually made of leather and nylon. Laces are good. Nice lacing system. Nearly all of them feature better YKK side zippers. The semi-rigid heel provides ample stability as well as nice flexibility needed for a law enforcement officer.    

Overall, these are good for tough patrol environments.

Tongue, Collar and Weight

Points 4/5

Cushy tongue. Good cushioning in the collar.

Well constructed but light in weight!

Insole, Midsole, Shank and Arch Support

Points 5/5

The insole is a cushy one. Ortholite® insoles are renowned.

You may find the midsole extremely comfortable. This was possible for phylon midsole which is injection molded. The non metalic shank lets you pass through a metal detector. These also support your flexibility.

Outsole, Construction and Sewing

Points 4/5

The outsole is super abrasion resistant. The tred would not go away any sooner. Oil & slip-resistant, quiet outsole.

These are not welted; people rarely expect goodyear or mixed welt construction from military boots. The cement and injection construction is suitable for bending, running and twisting. The upper sewing rarely fall apart which is good.

Anti-odor and Cleanable

Points 4/5

These are top class breathable boots which means you sweat less. This feature helps you keep the feet fresher. Not all ATAC boots have antimicrobial treatment.  You can get it from A.T.A.C.® Boot 12001.

These are not hard to clean as long as you take care of them on a regular basis.

Warranty, Return and Post Purchase Service Policy

Points 4/5

If you can bypass modification, abuse, misuse, or damage- 5.11 would provide warranty. You can call them, describe the reason of returning the boots and finally return them. There’s another way- amazon has a good return policy.

Brand Faith

Points 4/5

5.11 is famous. Widely relied. Uniform boots, especially military or tactical boots are usually no that constant. 5.11 is not different. Their boots are mid-priced, durable but they also have some issues.

Special and Uncommon Features

Points 5/5

  • Their zippers are better than the typical combat zips (not the greatest distance though). Nicer, thicker. They hold up well and they save time.
  • Shock Mitigation System: you simply need it in these days.
  • Multi-layer footbed: too much care in this part.
  • Heel and toe are reinforced but they are not as rigid. The semi rigidness provide flexibility and support as well.

Other unique features are discussed above.


Points 2/5

The usual zipper breaking issues:

The YKK side zippers are better, but if you are unlucky enough, they may crack within a short period of time.

The toe-crack issue:

If you can’t wear them after 6-9 months, it will most probably happen for the toe box. They can peel off after a certain period of time. That’s not a generalized verdict though.

The `worn-out’ look:

If you wish to pass inspections months after you’ve started using them, I have to disappoint you. Yes, a good shoe polish can back us well for the instances. But hey! You need to consider the price, comfort, features and durability! You can prevent that by regularly polishing and taking care of them.

The 6” zipper cons:

If the 6” boot’s zipper can rub against your ankle bone, you may not like the repeating incident at all. Moreover, to some, zipper does not help much as they find their boots a bit rigid. You may find it especially in the top parts. Does the small zipper have some contribution in this stiffness? Well, it seems- yes. Some of them even suggested that you rather use the laces while putting them on and off.

So, we recommend the no-zipper version.

Editor’s Boost

Points 3/5

Great boots with a number of probable limitations.

Once bought (and everything set), you can’t simply stop wearing them (that’s somewhat in the range of a forecast). People may laugh at you saying you are wearing a combat pair and you are definitely going to laugh back saying these are too comfortable to ignore.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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