Shopping for new boots is tricky. I love my Merell MOABs, but their mid-length design is better for hiking than the work I was putting them through. I needed a new set of full-length boots that I could use to hike, and climb fences, but which would also provide protection from fire and excellent ankle support. Early in my search, I found the 5.11 Atlas boots. They were at SHOT 2020 loud, proud, and premiering in all their glory. They suited my needs, and soon after I had a set of coyote, 8-inch boots on my feet, and getting broken in.
Atlas is A.T.L.A.S. It’s a fancy acronym that stands for All Terrain Load Assistance System. Atlas is also famously the titan carrying the world. As I said, it’s a fancy acronym. One of the main reasons that Atlas drew my interest was their weight-bearing capability. In my day job, I may find myself hiking with a pack, a chainsaw, or numerous other tools and gear, and the more support my feet have, the better.
The Atlas boots are made up of three bottom layers. The first that contacts your feet is the Ortholite comfort foam footbed, the Atlas plate, and a combination of 5.11’s Echo and Force foam. For the mid and 8-inch tall model, the layout of the trainer is slightly different. This is a fancy way of saying there is a lot of comfort between the ground and you.
The body of the Atlas boots is made from a combination of suede leather and a high abrasion air mesh nylon. That’s a fancy way to say that the top part is very light and provides a breathable surface for the foot. It keeps things nice and cool and lighter than I’d expect. The MSRP is 149.99 for the 8-inch models, 139.99 for the mid-length, and 119.99 for the trainers.
In the Field
All those fancy layers provide an excellent level of comfort between you and the ground. I never felt the ground poke, prod, of generally make my feet uncomfortable. The multiple layers do an excellent job.
The Atlas plate in the mile of the boot is designed for the end-user to haul heavyweight comfortably. Without a doubt, it does that well. It supports and provides a good cushion for long hauls and heavy loads. As part of my PT regimen, my active rest days include a hike with a 40-pound weight vest. These boots are perfect for that role, not only because they are light, but also for the ankle support that their high sides provide.
The tread is incredibly tight and locks your foot into the ground well. The front of the boots are purposefully designed for climbing fences, and I will say they are excellent at it. Fence gaps fit them perfectly and this allows you to propel yourself over with little effort. They’ve certainly made my days a little easier on more than one occasion.
The boots give a rocking motion as you walk and step. They allow you to move with speed and even run comfortably. These versatile boots are made to move and made to let you move with them.
As far as breaking in the boots goes, you’ll likely want to wear the boots around the house for a few hours at a time. They caused me a few hot spots, but never any blisters or outright pain. You’ll feel the spots, and it’s a good sign to take a break before you blister up.
Into the Fire
As I type this, I’m stacking my gear and preparing for another controlled burn. It might be a long day, and I’m guaranteed to be on my feet for most of it. The 5.11 Tactical Atlas boots and I will be together from now until I wear them into the dirt. Which is very much what I plan to do.