5.11 ATAC Tactical Boots: Detailed Review 2021


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Honestly, A.T.A.C. Boots look good and feel comfortable. They gained more popularity in 2020 which is fantastic. Much of these earned the Amazon’s choice tag. The thing is, 5.11 ATAC tactical boots are moderately durable as efficiently. 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 outsoles do not wear-out soon.
  8. Semi-rigid heel and toe reinforcement protects you further 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 you can enjoy the low price.

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.
  • We prefer puncture-resistant midsole board 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” ATACs, we recommend the non-zip ones over the zipped ones.

Only these two are non-zip amongst all ATACs:

A.T.A.C.® 6-inch Boot 12002

Excellent fitting report. There’s a loyal user base.

Storm A.T.A.C.® Boot 12147

Side Zip

6” zipped ATACs are not that recommended by us, even though they are more popular. What about 8” zipper ones? They are better. Please read the sections below for more information.

A.T.A.C.® Boot 12018

These sell more than the non-zip ones.

Shield A.T.A.C.® Boot 12019

Excellent user reviews in 2020. Again, selling and fitting well.

8” Men’s

Sage CST A.T.A.C.® Boot 12304

A.T.A.C.® Boot 12001(Odor control)

These are Amazon’s choice, which means, just rely on them. Impressive ratings, especially in this year. Selling like hot cakes.

Coyote A.T.A.C.® Boot 12110

Shield A.T.A.C.® Boot 12026

Satisfied users, they rock in 2020

Storm A.T.A.C.® Boot 12004

Amazon’s choice. Better reports in 2020. These look awesome.

6” Women’s

Side Zip A.T.A.C.® Boot [#12025]

I’m kind of tired of saying the same thing over and over. 2020 reports are indeed better.

8” Women’s

A.T.A.C.® Boot 12007

Unexpected fitting report. These look fabulous. Exceptionally praised by the users. 5 star rush in this year.

Storm A.T.A.C.® Boot 12217

Shield ASTM A.T.A.C.® Boot 12145

Somewhat less popular compared to other pairs.

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

ShoeAsk points: 85 out of 100

Editorial Recommendation: Very high.

Remarks and Suggestions

Introduced around 2010, these are slightly newer ones. Comfortably utilize 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.

User, Expert and Trade Recognition

Points 4/5

There’s a mixed reaction from cops and soldiers. 5.11 has some exclusive 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 put on another boot for work, I’m on my feet all day long, and I absolutely love these boots. I will absolutely wear nothing but 5.11 tactical. This will be my third pair. They are comfortable right out of the box, no break in period required. I wore 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 I can never tag them as pricey footwear either. 5.11 kept soldiers and cops in mind- these workmen are not paid particularly high.

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

“Wore them for work for a year and they were pleasant 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 efficiently usable for up to 1.5 years. You will not regret it 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 get into many ATAC boots, and that is:

You might 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 a proper waterproofing system. Rely on them while walking on 3-4 inch puddles. Water would not seep in. On the flip side, they are breathable which is a stronger option.

Slip Resistance

Points 5/5

5.11 ATAC boots are slip-resistant and even oil resistant. Their treads do not wear off instantly, 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 satisfactory. 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 they‘re usable for risky jobs if you are buying the shield ones). So, you may not need a safety or steel toe. Buy the shield ones if you notice that your work requires it. Otherwise, it will be better to save the extra money.

The toe box is adequate. Looks good for inspection. They make the toe with 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 package; or, it might demand 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 fantastic, no doubt about that and we do recommend them for the elegant look.

There’s a preparation, still:

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

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

Breathable and Insulation

Points 5/5

These are preferably 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 blizzard. The waterproof ones, and the non-wp boots, breathe very nicely. You would not feel hot within.

Leather, Upper, Lace and Heel

Points 4/5

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

Overall, these are useful for harsh patrol environments.

5.11 ATAC Tactical Boots

Tongue, Collar and Weight

Points 4/5

Cushy tongue. Good cushioning in the collar.

Well constructed but light!

Insole, Midsole, Shank and Arch Support

Points 5/5

The insole is cushy. Ortholite® insoles are renowned.

You may spot the midsole extremely comfortable. This was possible for phylon midsole which is injection-molded. The non-metallic 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 tread 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 falls 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 retain the feet fresh. Not all ATAC boots have antimicrobial treatment.  You can have it from A.T.A.C.® Boot 12001.

These are not hard to clean as long as you take care of them frequently.

Warranty, Return and Post Purchase Service Policy

Points 4/5

Bypass modification, abuse, misuse, or damage- 5.11 would provide a guarantee. You can call them, describe the reason for 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 upon. Uniform boots, notably military or tactical boots are generally 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 most significant distance though). Nicer, thicker. They hold up well, and they save time.
  • Shock Mitigation System: you merely need it in these days.
  • Multi-layer footbed: too much care in this part.
  • Manufacturers reinforce heels and toes, but they are not as rigid. The semi rigidness provides flexibility and support as well.

We discussed other unique features above.


Points 2/5

The usual zipper breaking issues:

The YKK side zippers are better, but if you are unlucky enough, they may crack quickly.

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 particular time. That’s not a generalized verdict though.

The `worn-out’ manner:

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.

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, the zipper does not help much as they find their boots a bit rigid. You may find it exclusively in the top parts. Does the small zipper have some contribution to this stiffness? Well, it seems- yes. Some of them even suggested that you instead use the laces while putting them on and off.

So, we recommend the no-zipper version.

Editor’s Boost

Points 4/5

Fabulous boots with several probable limitations.

Once bought (and everything set), you can’t merely 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 will definitely laugh back saying these are too comfortable to ignore.

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