One oddly oft-chosen piece of gear by Special Operators is non-tactical footwear. Chuck Taylor sneakers were ones that popped up throughout time, including in the Rhodesian Brush Wars and in Vietnam. Even now, they live on in the 5.11 Norris sneakers. Do you get the name? Norris, because they used to wear Chucks?

Besides very punny names, the 5.11 Norris sneakers are pretty slick. The 5.11 Norris sneakers aren’t pure sneakers; rather, they are an amalgamation of both boots and sneakers. Beakers? Snoots? Nah, I don’t think either of those names will catch on. Anyway, these look and feel like sneakers, but they are pumped full of boot-like features.

Like most of what 5.11 produces, the Norris sneakers are versatile in both style and use. Speaking of style, the sneaker design makes them invisible. Wearing a pair of Merells in polite company might be a bit much, but the Norris sneakers offer you a high degree of support and durability while looking more casual than tactical.

There’s Some Boot in my Sneaker

The Norris sneakers are built to last, and they have some awesome Vibram Marbrani outsoles with XS Trek traction. It’s a grippy texture designed for urban environments but doesn’t work terribly in general outdoors. The traction is perfect for wet roads and pavement, and they work going up and downhill with ease and allow you to move with confidence and surety.

The Norris sneakers have an Ortholite upper cuff that is comfy but also provides a better level of support than most sneakers and ensures your heel never slips out. The bottom of the boots is ASTM-certified for puncture resistance. It utilizes a Welmax board that provides protections for 1,200 Newtons of force.

What does that mean?

Well, it means you can step on a nail and be good to go. In general, bad things aren’t going to puncture your boots and knock your feet out of commission.

The toe of the Norris sneakers is rubberized and features a climbing-grade design. This allows your toe to get a grip when boosting yourself up and over an objective. It also provides you with a good deal of toe protection to keep your toes from getting stubbed.

Long Days and Longer Nights with the Norris Sneakers

Beating feet is a term well applied to my use of the Norris sneaker. I’ve been wearing them for months now, and as you can see, they’ve been run hard. From wonderfully warm southern evenings in Savannah hopping from bar to bar to deadlifts in a barnyard gym and running daily tasks around town.

The Norris sneakers hold up to all-day wear and remain surprisingly comfortable. Like any good shoe or boot, they do require a short break-in period. After that, you can rip and roar your way across the world without fear and in complete comfort. The Norris sneakers are perfect for long hauls or short trips. I couldn’t possibly count my steps in these shoes. At SHOT 2020, I walked at least 20,000 steps a day for five days in the Norris sneaker. They do take constant abuse without fraying, breaking, or falling apart. I’ve been beating the hell out of a pair over and over, and they’ve become one of my favorite shoes for various tasks.

They dress up and dress down nicely, and cleaning them is as simple as applying a wet rag and some elbow grease (although, I am probably not cleaning them often enough, as evidenced by the mess my Norris sneakers currently reside in.)

If you want sneakers that can offer you some boot-like protection with a casual look, then the Norris sneakers are good to go. They are durable, comfortable, and perfect for your more casual encounters.

Want to check them out yourself? Get ’em here.